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All in "ways"

4 Cool Ways to Show Off Your Colored Pages
Jan 07, 2019

As an avid or casual colorist, you may have wondered what to do with your completed coloring pages.

Surely, you want to glance at them regularly to reminisce the moments you spent coloring – whether alone or with your community. You want to hold on to that earned sense of joy and gratitude at how coloring may have led you to make peace with yourself and others and be on your way to healing.  

And, yes, there is this thing called pride in your creativity and having completed a masterpiece.  

Is there a way to bask in that pride for much longer?

How can they continue to inspire you? 

How can you show them off (if that’s what you want)?

How can you maintain this connection with your finished art pieces on an ongoing basis?

How about giving them a makeover or a new home?

Certainly, they can’t remain incognito in the pages of your coloring books. Soon, they’d be forgotten and end up in your stockroom, garage, donation bin, if not in the trash can. That would be spell T-R-A-G-E-D-Y and D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R. 

Well, rejoice! It’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of ways to show off your work and if you have rights to brand them (as what PLR content provides), then you may leverage them for added income.  

4 Cools Ways to Show Off Your Coloring Pages

Here are simple ways to fix your situation:

First, Hang on Your Wall or Art Gallery

This is the simplest way to showcase your finished coloring pages. Frame them and hang them on your wall. If you want, create an art gallery to share with your family. If space is a concern, you always have the option of switching the pages out as new colored pages come in. 

Second, Create Cards 

You can create cards from your finished colored designs for all sorts of occasions – wedding, engagement, graduation, birthday, anniversary, housewarming, retirement, among others.

But then, who said that cards are merely for special occasions? Why not give them to say thank you, to celebrate a friendship, or for no reason at all?

Creating cards from your colored pages is simple – just in half for that old-fashioned, handmade look. If you want a more professional look, you could always photograph, scan and plug each one into a card creator or app.

Third, Make Bookmarks

You usually keep bookmarks for yourself but, hey, why not give them as gifts?

To create your bookmarks, cut your colored pages into bookmark sizes and shape. To avoid ripping, tearing and discoloration, you need to laminate them. After all, you want them to last for as long as possible.

Fourth, Use as Gift Wraps 

For something small to gift to someone, why not wrap it in one of your coloring pages! That’s a fun and creative way to wrap presents, isn’t it? You may also use them to wrap giveaway souvenirs for parties that you’re hosting. That would be cool.  

What do you think of these possible uses for your colored pages?

Have you done any of these?

Would you consider doing any one of them? 

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.  

5 Popular Journaling Techniques for Beginners
Dec 03, 2018

Journaling is a free world to explore. There is no right or wrong way to do.

However, there are others who have come a long way to show how they do it. Following are 5 techniques, models or styles to choose from:

1 – Freestyle Journal Writing

Freestyle journal writing is a no holds barred kind of writing.

It is done your way –  unrestricted, non-restrictive, not time-bound, unadulterated, uncensored, unstructured, non-directed, and uncontrolled.

It may be random, though not always and not as a general rule.

You write without strict consideration (or serious thought) of the following:

  • what to write (topic or theme)
  • why write (goal)
  • how long to write (duration)
  • how often to write (frequency)
  • how fast you write (speed)
  • what order or guide to follow (structure)
  • where to write (place)
  • what to write on or with (material)
  • how to write (format or presentation)
  • when to write (time)
  • how much to write (length)
  • how to write (tone).

The bottom line is - journal in your own terms.

2 – Guided Journaling

As the term implies, guided journaling follows a guide, model or blueprint.

You get directions by way of:

  • prompts
  • instructions
  • guidelines
  • structure
  • topics
  • themes
  • templates
  • questions
  • patterns
  • examples
  • quotes
  • spaces
  • dots
  • timing
  • reminders
  • ticklers.

Here’s an example.

For a 30-day gratitude journal, you get leads on what to write about on each day of journaling.

You may be asked to list down 3-5 things that you are thankful for identify concrete ways or specific actions to express gratitude.

For inspiration, you find quotations on top or below a number of lined pages.

Blank spaces are provided for doodles or drawings.

In general, you follow a guide for each day of journaling.

3 – Art Journaling

Journals are great to express creativity, whether done through free journal writing or guided writing.

However, there’s a third way that has grown in popularity among artists and non-artists alike.

It is art journaling.

Art journaling is keeping a visual or graphic journal or diary using art, imagery and text.

Graphic art is touching, moving and powerful.

An art journal is usually peppered with words or phrases, drawings, doodles, sketches, paintings, charts, cut-outs, photos, shapes, stickers, symbols, quotes, conversations, poems, songs, stories, patterns, graphic marks, and whatever feels good to be on the journal pages.

To start your art journaling practice, you need whatever art material that’s handy like:

  • Writing materials – pencil, ink pen, markers, paper, notebook, cards, post-it-note, journal, pastel, gesso paint
  • Coloring materials – paint, watercolor pens, colored pens, gel pens, glitters, charcoal, dye, paint brush, gel printing plates
  • Graphics materials – cut-outs, magazines, photos, illustrations, stickers, washi tapes, stamps
  • Cutting materials – scissors, cutter, knife
  • Gluing materials – paste, glue, tapes, stickers.

Remember: Except for your pen and paper (or journal), everything else is optional. 

Artistic or flat?

Colored or plain?

Clean or messy?

Planned or random?

Comprehensible or not?

They are immaterial.

What counts is expressing (or making sense of) what you think and feel in graphics and visual form.

4 – Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling is a way of keeping track of things you want and need to be done following a structure or system.

Read more about bullet journaling here.

5 – Bible Journaling

Bible journaling has become a popular way of keeping a journal.

For this, you only need your bible and a pen. Art materials such as those detailed in the art journaling technique are optional.

The main idea is to find spiritual inspiration in the Bible or to let the Bible speak to you and give you guidance.

You then illuminate on the message by interpreting the bible verses in an artistic or creative way. These may be one or all of the following:

  • highlighting important verses
  • drawing
  • doodling
  • painting or coloring
  • embellishing.

Here are simple steps to do bible journaling:

  • Pray. This is where you seek guidance or inspiration on anything you wish.
  • Find a bible verse. You may do a page every day, randomly open a page or select a verse, or start with a familiar or meaningful verse.
  • Read. Read the verse or page that you have selected.
  • Reflect. Pause for inspiration or guidance.
  • Do art. You may start by sketching your idea first then outlining and coloring them.

These steps may seem daunting but they’re really not.

Besides, you may innovate or come up with your own.

The Best One

Among the techniques presented, which one appeals to you?

What possibilities do you see for yourself?

Perhaps you have your own way… or why not come up with one?

These are just five of the countless ways of journaling; say, if there were a billion people who are into journaling, there can be a billion ways to do it.

Again, there’s no right or wrong way with journaling; not even a fixed way to do it.

What’s important is for you to start journaling, commit to it, and keep doing it for as long as you can.

You’ll be amazed at just how much you get out of journaling.

For tips on how to journal, read this post.

 

 

Daily Gratitude Practice: 9 Easy Ways to Nurture Thankfulness
Nov 24, 2018

We are all familiar with more ways than one on how to practice gratitude; however, we either forget to do so, find it uncomfortable, icky or cheesy, or simply take it for granted.

If that sounds like you, why not start small and let the habit grow into you.

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. ~Eric Hoffer

You never know what wonders it would do, to you and others.

How Can You Practice Gratitude in Your Daily Life?

Consider these practical ways to express and show thankfulness where it is due, and reap your rewards of positive aura from feeling joyful, peaceful, contented and forward-looking.

#1 – Write a “Thank You” Letter or Note

There is probably someone in your life right now that you need to thank. It is best that you take time to send them a handwritten letter of thanks. This adds more meaning, especially at this time when reaching out to people is as easy as pushing a virtual button. The time that you take to express your feelings by writing them down means more lasting rewards than using electronic media.

However, if this feels like an ordeal, go ahead and send a “thank you” post-it-note, text message, email, private message at Facebook (via Messenger), or whatever means that doesn’t intimidate or scare you from expressing thanks.

#2 – Create a Gratitude Calendar

On your gratitude calendar, write down 3, 5 or 10 things you are grateful for each day. Identify people who have touched or moved you in some way. After writing them in your calendar, read them out loud. Keep this calendar where you can see it constantly.

#3 – Keep a Gratitude Journal

Instead of just jotting down on a gratitude calendar, take it further with a journal where each day you express your thankfulness with just a list, detailed expression, or art. Learn how you can cultivate thankfulness through a gratitude journal HERE.   

#4 – Say It Out Loud

Each day, say “I’m grateful for you” to important objects, events and people in your life. Saying thank you to objects like your purse, comb, mirror, notebook, pen, or dress may sound weird or silly. But try it anyway. You’ll be amazed at how much energy it gives you to thank things that serve their purpose 24 hours a day with not a smirk, grunt, cursing or complaining.

#5 – Practice “One Person a Day” Gratefulness

Take a different friend, family member, acquaintance, coworker or service provider each day of the year. Call that person and tell him or here how grateful you are for their presence in your life. You may hug the person, if that’s fine for you. This works a couple of ways. It lets people know that you care about them and appreciate them, and it also forces you to expand your circle of influence.

#6 – Say “Thank You” for Your Meal

Many people in the world don’t eat for days or are uncertain if they could even have water, but you may be more blessed than them in that respect.

You have several choices as far as what food to eat, how much, and when. You could try all sorts of expensive diets – paleo, vegetarian, vegan, keto, gluten-free – not because you have to but because you can afford to. You bulk buy, food binge, and go restaurant-hopping. You discard food that doesn’t suit your taste as easy as a snap. You get what I mean.

Whether you have an abundance of food or eat sparingly, express gratitude for the food you put into your body.

#7 – Give or Donate

You may lament the fact that you don’t have as many clothes, pairs of shoes or possessions as you would like. Find someone who has less than you. Give them something of yours. Perhaps, donate to your local charity, church, food bank or thrift shop. Collect your recyclable bottles and cans and hand them to people who depend on them for their income.

Doing these acts of kindness can make you realize how fortunate and blessed you are.

#8 – Share Your Expertise

Sometimes, all people need is a little boost in knowledge and skills to make a significant difference in their life.

If you are good at cooking, sewing, computing, writing a job application letter, or cutting hair, why not go to local community organizations or even schools to pass on your expertise to others? You may have worked years to achieve that level of proficiency but, hey, we all start somewhere, don’t we?

#9 – Let the Most Important Person in Your Life Know That You Appreciate Them

Go to the nearest mirror. Ask – Who is that person staring back at you? That is the person you should be most appreciative of.

You obviously love your friends and family, but you need to express self-love first before you can form the deepest relationships with others. Frequently look yourself in the eyes and express gratitude for who you are and what you have given yourself.

Tips to Reinforce Your Gratitude Attitude

What you do depends a lot on what goes on in your mind and heart. We’re talking of values and attitudes here.  To give you a boost in that respect, here are some helpful tips:

Tip #1 – As soon as you wake up in the morning, give thanks that you have another day to live. 

Tip #2 – Use all your senses to discover things to be grateful for. Touch. Feel. See. Smell. Taste. Hear. Live. 

Tip #3 – Smile and feel the warm sensation of positivity engulf your body.

Tip #4 – When you catch yourself thinking negatively, shift to positive mode immediately. 

Tip #5 – Rather than focusing your attention inward, look outward and realize what others have done for you.

Tip #6 – Keep a gratitude journal at your bedside. Use it at the same time each day or night.

Tip #7 – Keep “Be Grateful” sticky notes at places that you frequent at home and work.

Tip #8 – Have a list of “gratitude quotes” to refer to each day.

Tip #9 – Find a partner to practice thankfulness each day.  

How about you?

What ways do you express your gratitude?

What tips can you add to this list to spread the positive habit of daily gratitude?

Please feel free to share what you’ve got in your pocketful of wisdom!

7 Healthy Journaling Practices to Protect Your Privacy
Nov 20, 2018

Only you have the right to your journal.

You decide who sees its content and who don’t.

You’re the keeper of your journal but your journal is not always safe from prying eyes that could cause untoward circumstances.

Here are seven practices to keep your journal safe and private:

  • Journal privately. Find a place where you can write without being disturbed and bothering about people passing and peeking.
  • Close your journal pages when not in use. Don’t leave your journal open, even in a private place like your bedroom or office. You don’t want any of your family members – no matter how dear they are to you – to read what’s written on them.
  • Put your journal away as soon as you’re done. Never leave your journal anywhere public as this exposes your vulnerability. It would invite prying eyes, may be picked up inadvertently or worst, stolen intentionally.
  • Assert your privacy. Label it with something like “confidential,” personal property,”  “please don’t touch,” “return to… if found,” or something to that effect.
  • Choose simple over flashy.  Shun attention. If you can help it, do away with ones that arouse interest and curiosity. Keep away from intriguing journal covers like “Journal of My Sexcapades,” “Journal of People I Hate!” or “Journal of Dark Secrets.” Such titles are just too tempting for a thrilling read.
  • Camouflage. Put a simple, plain-looking or scruffy jacket to your journal. You may also put it among your other books on the shelf. If creating your own, use covers of vintage books.
  • Lock away your journal. Keep your journal in a safe place like a locked file drawer, desk drawer, safe box, or a secluded special place that others can’t easily access.

Taking these extra measures can protect you from being exposed to unnecessary risks and consequences.

10 Childlike Ways to Unleash Your Creativity
Nov 19, 2018

As a child, you drew portraits of your family, birds, bees, butterflies, flowers, trees, and anything that caught your imagination. It didn’t matter if they weren’t recognizable. Abstracts were good. What mattered were those playful acts of doodling, stroking, coloring, erasing, cleaning up, and everything in between. They were fun and exhilarating. 

You were an artist. You never doubted it nor gave it a thought. Creativity flowed naturally. You were in that zone. 

Until you grew up! 

Now, you doubt your creativity. You deny having a creative past. You convince yourself that you can never be an artist. 

Yet, deep inside is a persistent yearning and longing to let down your hair, kick off your shoes, and release that locked up inner child, your creative self.

It’s scary, isn’t it?

Your hands feel stiff.  You don’t want to lift a finger. It’s impossible to draw a figure. 

You hold off. You need to send that email. Something important crops up. You promise to do it later. Later becomes tomorrow.  

Then, you buy every artsy stuff you find and swear you’ll start that project you’ve been holding off. ASAP.

If you think that’s you, you’re not alone. That’s me too and even if I may have inched away from the shackles of fear and doubt, I still face them occasionally. 

I’m scared. I’m not good enough. Even if I am doing it, I feel I can’t. 

When we bombard ourselves with negative images, these thoughts grow into us until we live them.

But there are doable ways to defeat fear by proving it wrong. 

Free Your Creativity in 10 Playful Ways

You can always come up with your list, but for starters, here is one to consider:

1) Draw a dot.

If you can’t draw a stick, let the tip of your pen kiss your paper. You just made a dot.

A dot ends a sentence, but it also marks a start of something big. 

Now, draw two dots. Connect them and you have a line. 

Proceed with more dots and see your dots unravel. 

In art, it’s called pointillism.

“Pointillism a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.” ~Wikipedia

2) Doodle.

We often hear the term doodle these days?

What does it mean to doodle?

doodle is a drawing made while a person’s attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be composed of random and abstract lines, generally without ever lifting the drawing device from the paper, in which case it is usually called a “scribble”.~Wikepedia

You can doodle just about anything, with or without meaning, random or purposively. There’s no need for you to focus. Doodle while attending a webinar, talking over the phone, waiting at school for your child, or watching TV. 

Forget your fear. You can do this!

3) Use your left hand. 

“Left-handers are wired into the artistic half of the brain, which makes them imaginative, creative, surprising, ambiguous, exasperating, stubborn, emotional, witty, obsessive, infuriating, delightful, original, but never, never, dull.” ~James T deKay

I’ve tried this method many times in the past and it worked at waking up my dormant creative self. 

It’s a bridge to the inner child and subconscious. 

One way to do this is by doodling with your left. You’ll observe things happening as you go along. For instance, you’ll notice yourself thinking up novel topics to blog on, writing effortlessly, identifying new ways of fixing a problem or getting inspired to paint.  

Another way is using the question and answer method where your left-hand writes down answers to questions or prompts.

You may ask the following:

  • How are you today?
  • What do you dream of becoming?
  • What hurtful, negative experience can you not forget?
  • What do you love doing?
  • What are your plans for the future?

At first, writing with the left can be hard as this is something you’re not used to. Some written text would be illegible. You can get frustrated, but don’t give up. You’ll succeed soon.  

In my experience, I noticed emotions swelling and surfacing. This is normal and is part of healing suppressed thoughts and emotions. 

If you want to take the question and answer method further, use both hands consecutively. Let either one start then alternate with the other. It would be interesting to know what your left (creative mind) and right hand (logical mind) “think.” For sure, they’ll present themselves differently. 

Try it.

4) Dance and sing. 

Dancing and singing release your happy hormones. If you think you have two left feet, dance privately where no one can lay eyes on your clumsy moves. Sing as loud as you can in your bathroom. 

Release your energy. Be free.

Go ahead.

5) Play on the trampoline. 

This is really fun!

The first time I did this was with my husband. We were like kids jumping up and down and bouncing around. We could not contain our laughter and the joy afterward.  

6) Go where your feet take you. 

Have you tried just wandering around by yourself or with someone, without a care of time and space?

I recall doing this often as a child. It was scary and adrenaline-pumping each time, but I sure had the time of my life.

These days, my adventures are mostly predictable and not as exciting. 

I should do this more often. I’m sure it would fire up my imagination to new heights.   

7) Be grateful each day. 

Being thankful for one’s blessings releases negativity and allows creative flow. 

A great way to practice thankfulness each day is through journaling. By recording the things that preoccupy you, you’re able to get on with other important stuff in life. You’re able to focus more on the essentials, including opening up yourself to creativity. 

8) Write fiction.

Fiction writing requires the use of the imagination. It doesn’t matter if what you write are fragmented, incongruent, or makes no sense. It would be great if all the pieces fall together because then, fiction writing could be a career path to explore.  

But don’t worry about that for now.

Just write. Soon, you’ll get better at being creative.  

9) Do Brain Gym. 

Brain gym is a system of short and simple exercises that are designed to stimulate and boost brain functions. 

I’ve done this with my family in the past and it worked at calming the mind, keeping focused, developing sharpness in thinking and reflexes, generating creative ideas, among other benefits. 

I should add that Brain Gym is good for hyperactive kids or those with attention deficit. I saw this a number of times in kids I know. My sister who teaches dance to pre-schoolers use this before the actual class and noticed marked improvements in their behavior. 

An example of brain gym exercises is the cross crawl that mimics the movement of young children who are trying to walk. This crawling movement creates or connects neural pathways in the brain that enables smooth and normal functioning of the body and mind. 

Watch this video to see how Brain Gym is done:

Learn more about Brain Gym in this video here.

10) Embrace your creativity.

Change your mindset about yourself and your creativity. It only takes a “yes” to the idea that you:

  • are creative or have the potential to be one
  • need to let go of everything that blocks your creative soul
  • deserve to express yourself freely
  • are capable of developing artistically if you want to
  • creativity is not to be feared
  • can do it now!

Enjoy the ride with your creativity. 

The heck with your inner critic. No one can tell you what to do. Let not your fear hold you from reaching your dreams that creativity can help you achieve. 

I hope these simple ways would help you move forward in your journey towards creativity. 

Let me know what you think of this post and feel free to add yours to the list. 

 

Succeed in Publishing: Captivate, Capture and Compel with an Awesome Book Cover
Nov 05, 2018

There is an old Chinese Proverb that goes:

“On a journey of a hundred miles, ninety is but halfway.”

It’s like writing your book. Just when you thought you’re done, you’re stumped to find out that you forgot to get your book a cover. 

A book cover is essential to your book.

All authors – amateurs and veterans alike – get their book a cover, how simple it may be. (These days, simple and clutterless works best.)

A sentence that doesn’t end with a period is not a sentence, is it?  

To complete your book writing process, get your book a cover.

To let it stand out and sell, dress it up with a cover that has that “X” factor.  

Your Book Cover: Beyond the Aesthetics

So… what exactly is a book cover?

What can it do for your book?

What is it supposed to do?

From an aesthetic point of view, it is eye candy to your readers. It strikes and captivates them to pick up your book, browse through, add to cart, and buy. 

It gives your book a unique personality or distinct character. All its own.

In a practical sense, your book cover adds a protective layer to your book. It safeguards your book from the elements and extends its lifespan.

From a marketing standpoint, it is a powerful tool to promote and sell your book.

The 3C’s of a Book Cover

A book cover has three main functions: 

Function #1 – Captivate

Whose attention? Your target readers’.Your book cover should turn heads and grab attention. 

It flaunts and flirts with its target readers, to describe it in a fun way.

 It charms, warms and disarms.

It is not only different but unique, special and electrifying. 

It speaks for you 24/7/365.

It works hard, untiringly and relentlessly. 

In a vast ocean of books, it tries its darnedest to stand out from the pack.

As the book author, it is your task then to cloak your book with a captivating cover.

Function #2 – Capture

After grabbing your target readers’ attention, your book cover must hook them in, lock them up, and take full control. In a psychological way, of course.

How?

Arouse curiosity. Stimulate their senses. Create excitement. Heighten their cravings. 

At this stage, your target readers are flooded with questions such as:

  • What is this book all about?
  • What’s so unique and special about it?
  • What message or story does it tell?
  • What does it propose or promise to do?
  • What can be learned from it? 
  • What does it offer that others haven’t already?
  • How can it ease pain or alleviate a situation?
  • How can it make things better?

This questioning takes place in a flash. Effortlessly. Unconsciously. Subconsciously. 

If your book cover does an awesome job, capturing your reader happens seamlessly. 

Function #3 – Compel

Now that you’ve whet their appetite, your target audience will want to satisfy their curiosity, ease their excitement, and get their questions answered.

They’re nearing the finish line.

Soon, they grab their debit or credit card, click the “buy button” and complete the sale.

A sale just happened. That’s it. Mission accomplished!

What do you think of this post?

Does it resonate with you either as target reader or book author? 

What do you look for in a cover?

What captivates your eyes, captures your attention, and compels you to buy when shopping at bookstores online or offline?

Please comment below and let us know experience.  

 

 

8 Super Simple Ways to Manage Overwhelm
Oct 30, 2018

When you're experiencing overwhelm, how can you possibly manage it?

When you feel like drowning in a tsunami of various stuff – events, responsibilities, people, emotions, plans, condition, and expectations – what do you do?

How do you deal with it?

Regardless of your stature, situation or circumstance, you go through this.

How did you deal with it? Did you buckle down in the face of these challenges? Did you fight or run away?

Here are ways that you can deal with overwhelm as sanely as possibly:

First, accept it.

Life is not perfect. Overwhelm does happen to good or bad people, young and old alike, male or female… everybody. No one escapes it so embrace it. It makes life easier. Then, take it from there.

Second, relax.

Take things in stride. This allows you to be aware of what’s going on. It buys you time to notice what’s important and essential or urgent and life-changing and puts you back in the proper mental frame to respond accordingly.

 

 Third, figure out what’s next.

Think: What would you do next? Do you restrategize?

Here are possible steps that you may take:

  • Create a list – what needs to be done, what you want to get done, and nice if done
  • Delegate
  • Purchase advanced tools
  • Study
  • Negotiate
  • Change plans
  • Take a sabbatical leave
  • Travel.

Sometimes, the next best step is to do nothing at all.

Fourth, clean your clutter.

When your world feels chaotic, create order outside. Clean up your workspace, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, car, stockroom, bookshelf.

It does wonders to feel clean!

Fifth, be real.

Ground your choices on reality.  It doesn’t make sense to simply ignore a deadline or to pretend that a complex piece of work can be done in 15 minutes. Make allowances.

Sixth, revise your commitments.

Promises are not made to be broken, but some need to be revised. Act promptly to revise commitments that you cannot or will not keep.

Seventh, first things first.

Take time to exercise, pray, meditate, and “defrag” no matter how busy you are. When you do these things first thing each day, you’ll notice yourself transform into a more joyful, resourceful, and resilient person.

Eight, breathe.

First, last, and always, let a rising bubble of anxiety be your reminder to breathe.

Let’s toast to a short break and be back refreshed!

 

How to Start a Journaling Practice
Oct 19, 2018

If you are new to journaling, you probably may have asked:

  • How do you start journaling?
  • Is there a proper or right way to do it?
  • When can you start?
  • What materials do you need?
  • How can you succeed at journaling?

I started journal writing in my late teens over 30 years ago (yes, that’s how old I am) when journals weren’t in style and were called by a different name. Yes, diary! And guess what, I used plain old ballpoint pens and lined notebooks. My journaling practice included writing my thoughts and feelings, inspiring quotes, expenses, contact information, daily to-do list and accomplishments, sketches, stories, insights, class notes, outlines of things to write, relevant facts and figures, among other forgettable stuff.

My daughter started journaling at elementary some seven years ago with just a pen and paper. It was a lot of girlie stuff, love notes to me, doodles, and stories. She still does now that she’s at Grade 10 and oh, dear! She has become so much better. She does it every day non-stop. She loves art so her journals are full of it.

We both weren’t well aware that what we were doing was journal writing. We just started it.

We didn’t think if there was even a proper or right way to write our thoughts, feelings, and creations on paper. We just did it.

We started when we felt ready. We didn’t give a thought about when. We just did.

We used whatever was there. Nothing fancy. Just plain old paper and anything that writes on it.

You may do that, too.

Journaling is simple. It knows no rules. People make their own. 

It is inspiring to use fancy journals and accessories such as:
  • ink pens
  • coloring pens
  • markers
  • stickers
  • stamp pads
  • sketch pads
  • dividers
  • acid-free papers
  • watercolors
  • gelli plates
  • glitters, and
  • various other embellishments.

You don’t have to.

It’s really up to you.

So about those questions, the answer is – Just start.

There is no right or wrong with journaling and how you do it is really up to you.

If writing long entries is what you enjoy or find helpful, do so.

Even the format is up to you.

You may jot down a few bullets or lines to serve as your memory aid.

However you do it, find a medium that’s comfortable.

Gratitude Journal: Make It Easy to Say Thanks Everyday
Oct 10, 2018

Why Practice Gratitude

Why not? Life is a blessing and every moment unnoticed and not celebrated is a waste.

If you imagine people never getting up from bed to see the light of day, you would realize just how lucky you are. Also, you don’t have to buy a bottle of canned oxygen to breathe fresh air, to scamper for food in a mountain of rubbish, nor to be subjected every day to the terrifying sound of bullets and real threat to life.

Life is great and there is just so much to be thankful for.

People who express gratitude, whether openly or in subtle or covert ways, radiate positivity and cheerfulness. They tend to be calm, peaceful, content, and joyful, knowing that blessings abound and are there for the taking.

God gave you 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “Thank You?” ~William A. Ward

So, why practice gratitude?

What do you think?

Get Yourself a Gratitude Journal

If saying “thanks” is an ordeal because you have so much to attend to, it’s a clear signal for you to stop what you’re doing.

Take a moment to breathe. It would unburden you of stress.

Be mindful of what’s happening in your surroundings and, more importantly, your life.

If you have a piece of paper or notebook, go on… write the things that you are grateful for, both big and small, important or not, Earth-shaking or trivial.

If you have a gratitude journal, all the better (though not necessary)! You could easily use the journaling prompts in it.

Keeping a gratitude journal is nothing complicated. It doesn’t have to be methodical or structured. Although it is more focused on practicing daily gratitude, it functions in the same way as most other journals.

The bottom line with keeping a gratitude journal is having a tool to express thankfulness.

5 Simple Steps to Practice Thankfulness Every Day

If starting a gratitude journal is something strange, here’s a brief on how to do it:

Step #1 – Ask Yourself: What are you grateful for today?

Think about events, people, challenges, learnings, or insights that have moved or enriched you.

Step #2 – Write down your thoughts on paper. 

It doesn't matter what you use to write on - standard notebook, fancy journal, tablet, print paper, calendar, post-it notes, scratch paper, or receipt. Personally, I use my cell phone and save to draft. What is important is getting into the habit of expressing gratitude each day. Of course, there is nothing like keeping a journal that you can go back to time and again. 

Step #3 – Keep a daily regular schedule.

Set a time each day to write on your gratitude journal. It may be on your work break, lunch, before bed... you decide. Your important keywords are daily, regular and schedule. 

Step #3 – Express gratitude any way you want.

Draw, illustrate or color. You may even write a poem or song. If that's how you want to say thanks, do it. 

Step #5 – Protect your privacy.

At the end of the day, keep your journal in a safe place. What you write in there is yours to keep. It's best to keep it private and secure. 

Aren't those steps simple?

Go ahead  – pause, breathe, reflect and write!

A piece of paper and pen along with a grateful heart are all it takes.

 

Bullet Journaling: A Simple Guide for Beginners
Oct 08, 2018

Bullet journaling is a popular way of journal writing that uses a certain structure and system to keep track of things.

A bullet journal may simply be a plain notebook that you customize following some guidelines. You may also opt for the pre-made, pre-labeled bullet journal that you could buy at shops or bookstores.

Your bullet journal is organized using this guide:

Part 1 – Keys

The first page of your bullet journal is your key that shows the codes you use for your bullet entries.

The codes traditionally used are as follows:

  • task
  • completed task
  • migrated task
  • appointment
  • completed appointment
  • migrated appointment
  • notes

You may adopt these codes as they are, or modify them based on your needs or intended use. 

Part 2 – Index

Your next two to four pages are for indexing. The index will let you quickly find any collection, or get to a particular month.

Title each page as an index page and move on to the next section.

Part 3 – Future Log

This two-page spread records the coming 6 months. It is great for recording events or planned activities such as birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays.

For convenience, you may use the traditional yearly calendar for this.

Be sure to add or note the page number and record your future log in your index.

Part 4 – Monthly log

Each month, do a monthly log where you record appointments and due dates. You may use a grid layout, or one line for each day of the month.

While the monthly log isn’t where you’ll track most of your tasks, it comes in handy when you need to take note of a doctor’s appointment or scheduled school meeting.

Part 5 – Daily Log

This is where you’ll spend most of your journaling time.

Here’s what you do:

  • Each day, start a new section.
  • Create your to-do list including things you need done, reminders, concerns, and anything you find important.
  • Cross off each item when done or taken care of.
  • Move the items to the monthly or future log, or migrate them to a different day, as needed.

Part 6 – Migrating Tasks

This part is done at the end of the day or first thing in the morning.

The goal here is dealing with each entry from your daily list by ensuring that they are done, recorded as done, crossed out if already irrelevant, and migrated to the next day’s list.

Here are the steps for this:

  • Review your list of tasks set for the day past
  • Complete those that you still can
  • Cross out tasks already done or no longer needed
  • Migrate tasks that were not checked off or done.

Part 7 – Collections

This is a thematical list or collection of things of interest to you, whether personal or professional.

Examples of this are places to visit, people to work with, courses to attend, books to write, among others.

To build your collections, follow these steps:

  • Start each list on a blank page.
  • Label or create a title for each one.
  • Write down the content for each collection.
  • Note down the page you’re on and add the collection to your index page.