[Note: This will likely be the first of a few posts on journaling, as most of it gets consumed with the story of George and Eva (read on) and strays away from my own personal journaling methods.]
I’ve been journaling on and off for most of my life in one capacity or another. I recently organized my room and went through my old journals and found them going all the way back to 1996. In addition to this, I’ve kept blogs on and off since the late 90s (I can’t seem to remember the exact date I started, but am working on figuring it out). Unfortunately, my writing isn’t consistent. It starts and stops, usually starting after something really sad (deaths of loved ones, ended friendships, breakups etc) and then tapering off as I get over it or just get too lazy or tired to write. Another aspect I always grapple with is wondering if my writing is worth it. I read a lot of memoirs and journals and find many of them to be so beautifully written, introspective, full of insane amounts of descriptive details, etc that it makes me self conscious about my own writing. Earlier this year I decided I want to write again but couldn’t work it into my routine. Enter the One Line a Day journal.
I first discovered One Line a Day over at Mini Penny Blog a while back. I saw a photo of it and thought “That seems cool” and then forgot until months later. I randomly remembered it one day and ordered myself one. The book is really cool, there is a page for each day of the year and five spaces with a few lines each so you can fill in what you did each day over five years. I received and started my One Line a Day journal in May. It was easier than regular journaling because the lines are so small it just takes a minute to jot something down. It felt really rewarding and I kept up with it easily… and then something funny happened. Writing in my One Line a Day (OLAD from here on out because writing it repeatedly is getting weird) book became so routine that suddenly I found myself a little irritated at the lack of space to write. I kept writing smaller and smaller until finally I broke down and took out my most recently used journal (started in April 2010, woof!) and began writing both in OLAD and long form entries. Initially, my old self consciousness crept in, judging my own writing (which is ridiculous because it’s my private journal and only I see it anyway), getting annoyed with myself, etc. But as the months went on something funny happened, sure my entries involved mundane synopses of my days but they also became more introspective and dare I say… interesting? I have to admit that although I do write primarily for myself because I find it cathartic, I also consider who will own and possibly read my journals in the future. I used to be less detailed about some, err, more personal matters in my journals for this reason but I got over that aspect of it.
Part of the reason I consider this fairly often is that I also have a collection of antique journals. One of these is my grandmother’s (and someday a handful will be my mother’s), but most of them belong to George and Eva Rudiger. I’ll explain:
I’ve been a member of Skillshare on and off for the last year but never had a chance to really dive into any classes until recently. I’m signed up for a bunch and have watched bits and pieces of a few here and there but recently I decided I wanted to really make time for these classes and to submit some projects. Part of this is because Skillshare reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in teaching for them (not too big of a deal, anyone can teach a course). This is something I will definitely be doing once I have a space set up to record, so be on the lookout for that!
Anyway, because of their email I became motivated to fully check out a class. The first class I took was Tyson Wheatly‘s course “The Possibilities of Instagram: Sharing Your Best Photos.” I thought I had a pretty good grasp on mobile photo editing before but decided to check it out anyway. Tyson went over some apps I am familiar with (VSCOcam, SKRWT, Snapseed, etc) but also introduced me to some I had heard of but hadn’t tried before (Photoshop Express, Afterlight). The class is really helpful if you’re new to mobile photography, and I highly recommend it! (A post on how I personally edit my photos is coming soon).
For my second class, I stuck with mobile photography and signed up for the “Everyday Surrealism: Creating Art From Photos” taught by Chuck Anderson. This class is really neat and I learned a lot of cool mobile editing tricks I wouldn’t have come up with on my own! It’s really amazing how much you can do just using a phone these days, however, I found the assignment to be way harder than anticipated. Part of this is because the material I’ve been shooting lately isn’t really great for merging and making artsy, part is that I’m not as good at the apps as I’d like to be (specifically photoshop), and part of it is just my brain refusing to be creative. I kept at it and came up with the following images (so far). *Warning: Post is image heavy after the break*
*Note: I edited this post and added all months after December into one post because doing it in multiple posts was clogging up the front page and I didn’t like it. It’s pretty long and may be boring to most so sorry in advance!*
Well in an all time new record for myself, I finished my Christmas shopping at 10am this morning. I actually had a lot of time last night to get things done but ended up too tired to finish. Fortunately, there were less people out early this morning than late last night so I was able to breeze in and out of shops and finish quickly. I’m really relieved to be finished, and planning a much deserved nap after this post. An added bonus: all of the holiday scented AirWick Plug-Ins are on sale at Target so my house smells like freshly baked cookies and apple pie (it really is the little things in life sometimes).
Since I didn’t get too much shopping done last night, I made the most of the time by putting together my end-of-year recap photo thingies. It was pretty hard to choose nine photos per month, but it was fun (well, mostly) going back over the years major events. That said, I am going to continue working backwards and recap some more. A warning: as I am writing these I am finding them to be super dull and boring but this is my blog afterall, so I’ll leave it and you can read at your own risk of being bored to death. I may also end up doing a few months at a time over several posts because of time restrictions.
As you can see I have had a difficult time maintaining a steady stream of entries here. It’s really funny to me that I am experiencing this issue, because in the past I posted every day (sometimes multiple times) without effort. It’s funny to have to force yourself back into a habit which at one point came naturally. I’d guess it’s similar to someone who is gung-ho about working out/running/etc and suddenly loses the drive. It’s harder to get back after a long break than it is to continue with the habit while it’s still a routine in your life.
I’ve also been hesitant because I haven’t quite decided what kind of content I want to put here yet. I know the main goal of the blog is to write about organization, productivity etc, but I also want it to have a personal content component and I haven’t nailed down how much detail I want to provide. In my previous internet life I had a rule that I would never censor, and that I would tell it how it was regardless of how it reflected on me. As a slightly older adult, I recognize that censorship is important for a lot of reasons (privacy of others, etc), and I am extra sensitive to this because I am in the process of job hunting.
In the meantime, while I figure everything out, I know how awful (not to mention ironic) it looks to keep putting off a productivity blog, and part of the delay can be explained in this really fantastic article I’ve recently read: Self-Care for the Highly Sensitive Person. The following passage really resonated and I felt like someone had finally verbalized why I never seem to get anywhere despite having a lot of really big, great ideas:
“My efforts to accomplish big things in this life were often derailed by sudden feelings of overwhelm, where I would withdraw from the world and hide. I would shut down and abandon any project or job I had at the time.
Over time, as my dreams crumbled amidst another “highly sensitive” episode, my belief in myself plummeted and I came to believe that I was a failure.
I created a very strong story that I would never succeed at anything because I just couldn’t deal with life.”
This is exactly where I get stuck. I have a great idea and I even go so far as to plan it out ad nauseam, but then when it comes to launch time I panic and nitpick, I wonder if it’s good enough or if anyone would even care to read it. They say the first step to solving the problem is acknowledging it, so now that I am aware of the behavior that is leading me to self sabotage and continue to tread water in a sea of great unfulfilled ideas, it’s time to start working actively to achieve them. I’ve been doing a ton of reading, writing, and research for how to get things done, and I am excited to start sharing this information very soon and to finally continue to update things. My house is finally back in order, with brand new carpets (goodbye smelly, former roommie’s dog’s pee soaked grossness), brand new roommates, and a newly reorganized living and work space to provide for more structured work areas. I am really excited about this and think it will really help with keeping my life (and mind) on track.
I’ve compiled a few key photos from each month this year and will definitely do a cliche month by month recap, but for now let’s start with the easiest to remember: December.