Thursday, February 28, 2019

What does Your Journaling Process Look Like

It has been a minute since I wrote about journaling in this blog.  I have been busy prepping this blog for a transformation:  I am moving to SiteGround.  More on that as I prep for the move.  I am making a small announcement, and so far, I like what I see of the hosting site.
Today is about your journaling process, which is something that not too many people think of.  I was going to finally give you your first writing prompt of the year (even though by the time you are reading this it will be March), but it is more important that you think about how you process.  There are, in my opinion, two types of processes, one is how you write and one for writing routine.  It is the second one that I am talking about today.  Next week, I hope to get into the actual process, or what is your style of writing. 
I will talk about this as we go along on this journey together. Now on with today’s topic.
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What is your Journaling writing process?

First off, there is no right or wrong way to write in your journal.  Ok, I stand corrected.  The only wrong way is not doing it in the first place.  It is better to put something on paper, or in my case, computerize paper.
Your writing process goes beyond putting words on paper.  You may, in fact, have a whole routine surrounded by writing in your journal.  These are in particular order but think about these things as you write this writing prompt:
  1. Location:  A little corner in your bedroom and a full-blown She-Shed?  Yes, your environment has a lot to do with how you write.  It is best to be in a completely silent place, no kids, no spouse. No internet, and most defiantly no social media.  Notice I did not say, no music.  Soft music is required for your choice.  Nothing loud or harsh, like head-banging music unless you like thinking in that environment.  No trying to tell you what type of music to listen to, but you do want something to quiet your mind as you formulate your words.  My location at the moment is one of two places: my bedroom, propped up against my pillow or at my computer desk in my little craft corner.
  2. Time Limitations:  a quick 5-minute write up or 2-hours? Again, no judging here.  If you want to jot down a few notes, go ahead, but for writing prompts, you want to devote at least 15 minutes.  Same thing with any story you are trying to develop for book publishing.  It also depends on what time of day you decide to write.  There is no wrong way to the time: morning, noon, or night.  The wrong way is not being consistent with your time routine. I suggest that you do not write when sleepy.  I have gone back to look at some of my prompts and wonder what the heck was I thinking when I was writing while sleepy, but my routine lately has been for both my personal journal prompts, as well as blog posts is after midnight when everyone is asleep.  That way, I get no distractions, and all my work is done for the home and my business.
  3. Libations:  a little wine with your prompts or a full course meal?  Yes, it is ok to eat and drink during this time.  It also depends on what you like.  In the mornings, I love me a good cup of coffee, but if I write around dinner time, I eat my meal.  Sometimes, I have a plain glass of water. Since the for mentioned late night writing schedule, I have been known to have a soothing cup of tea with my writings, lol. 
  4. Seat:  Comfy chair or in bed.  Your seat of choice depends on your location and the setting up of your location.  In the case of having a She Shed (Man Cave for women), you would pick your favorite things to have in there, including your seating arrangements.  I have seen she sheds where there are couches (Oops, the correct term is sofa) for some guests, a lounge, or a big comfy chair.  Some people have a desk from their childhood (repurposed, of course).  Whatever makes you comfortable when you write.  One thing is for sure, I will say this in bold letters: LADIES, YOU ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE A SHE SHED, NO MATTER WHEN THE HUBS AND CHILD SAY!
With that being said, here is my version of the writing prompt today, January 29, 2019:

What is my Journaling Process? (feel free to change the title word from “Your” to “My”)

As a person who decided only 10 years ago to write for a living, I have been journaling longer than that.  I have officially been journaling off and on for 20 years.  I have said many times how I got started, which was through a friend of mine, who passed in 2002. 
I have many routines when it comes to writing, but the one that stands out is the one I am doing now.  I write at night when everyone has gone to bed.  This is my routine.
I write in my journal mainly to clear my head and to process the events of the day.  At least that is the way it was when I first got started.  I still do that for the most part.  It does not matter if I am mad at someone, upset with myself, contemplating something, or to write just to write, it is the same way:  I wait until the end of the day to write in my journal.  It is my way of getting out anger issues, find inspiration from it, and for the first time in a long time, try to find a lesson in the problem.  I want to devote a time where I do not carry my anger to bed with me, maybe not to solve that situation at that time, but to go to bed, empty, ready to tackle what lies ahead, good, bad, or indifferent.  If the writing does not help, and sometimes it does not, I have extra assurance in I go to God in prayer for that situation.
Now, everything is not always a problem. It might be something that I want to do, and the journaling helps me brainstorm it.  I write out what I want to do, write about the steps that I might have to take, how much money I may need to save in order to achieve it, and so forth.  Like for instance, I have been planning this trip to Disney World for the longest.  I type out what an ideal day at the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot would be with my family.  Also, where we would stay, what we would eat, and how we would get around.  Other things I have journaled about in the past were: buying a new house, a new car, and how my business would run (the latter, I now have a dedicated business journal for that).
As for the actual routine, like I said, I mostly journal at night.  I have some coffee or water.  Sometimes I eat a little snack.  Not much, since I am heading to bed after I write.  Sometimes, I will try to write in it with my mini Ipad, but I find that sometimes the file will not sync with my desktop so I can note some changes (made by me), and I will not lose my place.  I now have a habit of re-reading my entries for clarification, and to keep me from doing the “what the heck was I typing” face before I go to bed.  If you can tell, I am sort of a “Grammar police” type of writer. I may not catch everything, but if I re-read my post before posting them to my blogs, I am going to re-read my journal entries.
After that, I save the file entry, which is automatically saved thanks to the new feature Microsoft programmed into the office programs (best feature ever), in case I forget.  I turn out all the lights, say goodnight to Gizmo, my niece-cat, and go upstairs.
As for my writing space.  No, She Shed.  I want one, but this condo does not allow me to have one.  No space for it, when you have 3 people and a cat living here. I am lucky I have a corner for both my journaling and crafting space.  It is made for a dining room, but my table is in the corner of a “bowling alley” shaped living room.  This is also where I do other business things, such as design graphic design products, such as business cards, letterheads, and invitations; scrapbook and card products, and my newest obsession, planner products (stickers and printables). I look at social media and make and watch YouTube videos in this corner.  Yes, one day I will have a She Shed.
So now it is your turn.  If you are looking to answer this question in your own journal, Do it.  It is not required that you send me a copy, but if you want to, send it (No pressure).  If you have your own prompt for this week, that is OK too, as long as you write something, anything, even if it is a simple “Hello World, it’s me”. You have taken a baby step.

Some prompts I will come up with like this one.  Others will be from the internet or this book I got from Target yesterday called 300 Writing Prompts, but it is also available at Amazon if you want to follow along.  If there is a writing prompt or a question you have, please put them in the comments below.    In the meantime, thanks for being a part of today’s prompt, and I will talk to you later.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Erin Condren Petite Journal Haul

Clean Up, Clean Up, it’s time to Clean Up the Blog Space

No, I have lost my mind, nor this is not the new adventures of The Wonder Pets (parents, you know who I am talking about).  This is an update on how I am progressing into the world of organizing my Social Media and blogs. This is also a Motivational Monday, which may turn into a Tip Tuesday depending on when I upload this post.
Side note: Ok, this aunt realized that “Clean up, clean up” did not come from The Wonder Pets, it came from my childhood memory of my preschool teacher urging us to clean up our toys, sorry.

Well, I am cleaning up my toys in a sense.  I finally got the go-ahead to switch my blogs and business handmade website to SiteGround.  I will explain to you in a later post on how to get your own website with Siteground at a later time.  So far, I like what I see, and around March 31, you will see a brand new My Ambiance Life, At Home with Tricia's Baskets, and P. Lynne Designs blog and website in much cleaner light.  They are going to be lighter (white background on all of them).  I love all the websites and blogs I visit with clean, uncluttered backgrounds, and it seems to be the trend that is continuing well into 2019 and 2020. 

To give an example on what I do not like:  My blog, At Home with Tricia's Baskets, has this brown background, which was great for the 1990s and 2000s, and maybe even 2010-2012, but starting 2013, everyone was leaning towards not having any background images.  Having a background image makes the blog and websites look cluttered, dated, unorganized, and hard to read, especially since
An example of a clean-looking
Blog (Story of Five Blog)
there are a lot of seniors who are turning older, and their eyesight is not what they used to be.  With that comes background colors with little to no color in them.  In other words, a white background with little to no color in it.  In your foreground, your fonts need to represent manuscript writing.  Save the fancy stuff for invitations, cards, and other things of that nature.  I am going, to be honest, to tell you that it is harder to read script writing than manuscript writing.  Ask any 7-year-old.  In fact, they do not teach cursive writing in schools now.  So, this blog is the first to get an upgrade to Siteground.  I have not decided which of my domain names I am going to choose for this site.  It might be the one I registered or a subdomain.

Speaking of Domains…

I am having a hard time with my domain name.  I do not know if Google is still banning it to show up or what.  Not to get into why I am changing it to plynndesigns, but Google thought the old one was phishing.  Someone back in September had hacked into my account website and killed the whole mood for me using that domain name again after I removed the affected file.  I have been fighting with Google for a whole month to prove that I am the owner of the domain name and to let me use it.  I gave up last week, and now I am using the new one for the website and blog.

Some takeaways from this:

  1. When creating your website, either on SiteGround, GoDaddy, Wix, Weebly, or some other website, make sure you are covered.  This includes being able to create as many websites on your account with a plan you can afford.  I use the “Growing Up” plan from Siteground.  At the time of this writing (February 25, 2019), the Growing up plan is $5.95 a month. 
  2. Also, make sure that your domain name is available.  I was lucky that the new name (plynndesigns) was available.  The current domain name for it plynnedesigns was available when I created that domain name as well when I got it in 2016. The name I wanted as well was PLDesigns, but it would cost me a pretty penny ($4,800) to have, which is another thing.  I looked it up, and anything with the word “design” in it is considered high-end, but I am confused because both domain names also have the word design in them, but they cost me $2.99. Make sure you can afford the domain name price.  All 4 (those two, plus PLDMDN and patriciallogan were $2.99 each).  You can renew them once a year, but if you know you will have them for a long time and can afford it, renew at some point for 10 years.  So, far, I have only been able to renew the domain names annually.
  3. Make sure you protect your websites and blogs.  I protect my websites for $19.95 a month through Siteground.  I learned my lesson from Hostgator, who I no longer recommend as a hosting site.  I also do not recommend Blogger, unless your website and blogs are very simple.  More on Blogger at a later time.
  4. SSL certificates are FREE.  Unless you are doing something complicated, Use the site’s free SSL certificates.  What is an SSL and why do you need it?  Think of it as an added layer to id your site or blog.  In other words, it authenticates it.  Google is cracking down on sites who do not have the https:// on it (most sites still use HTTP:// which is supposed to be not secure).  There are more advance SSL certificates, but they cost more and are not really needed for blogs.
  5. As I always say, plan out your website or blog.  Know what topics you want to talk about, the categories you have those topics under, the color scheme, theme, and do not forget to name your site.  You can read about how I came up with my names in another series I am developing about blogging.
One thing I do want to say about these tips is do not worry about it if blogging and creating a website is not something that you want to do.  You can hire someone to do it, but it will cost you more money, instead, check out this next item, challenge yourself to something greater.

I am bored…

This phrase is not only for children who have nothing to do but adults as well.  We all get that way from time to time.  Boredom comes to the best of us and it sometimes brings out the worst in us.  Think about it, have you sometimes thought about these types of scenarios and said to yourself, “hmm, they must be bored”:
  • Hackers or ID thieves.
  • Children throwing flour all over the house or getting into mommy’s cosmetics or dad’s shaving cream.
  • The police issuing out a bunch of tickets
  • Full Moon
All of these sound good.  I mean, yes, people who hack on the computer to get into someone’s bank account (It happened to me this past weekend) could have been bored or need a job.  Same with the children, but the police?  Humm, maybe some of you have been pushing the snooze button way too many times.  I can always blame the full moon theory, especially on hackers and children, or as my grandmother used to say, “the Devil got to them”.  Either way, the true culprit is B.O.R.E.D.O.M.
So, how can I combat Boredom?

Boredom does not mean that you are sitting around the house doing nothing.  Boredom means you are sitting around doing nothing in your business, your home, as a parent, and even in your church. Boredom can even be in your food choices, your clothing choices, even your vacation choices.  So, how to get rid of it?  Simple, challenge yourself. 
How do I challenge myself?

  1. For business and work:  look at your current skills.  See what you can improve on in terms of weaknesses.  If you cannot see it, ask a supervisor or a trusted co-worker a critique on your skills.  This should be part of your talk with your supervisor during your annual review.  If you own a business, as yourself what is the one thing you wish your company could do for a customer or client.
  2. At home-organizing. what is the one area in the home that could use a little sprucing up within your budget?  This is not the time to do a major renovation to this area.  If this is what you are aiming for, it is fine, but take baby steps.
  3. Self-improvement:  everyone can use a little self-improvement every now and then, but, how challenging is it?  One thing is once you stop learning, you are dead.  If you can afford it, go back to school or take a class online on a site like  if you hate classes or cannot afford to go back, read a book or if there is something you want to do, search for it on Google or Bing or watch a skill on YouTube.
For an example, when I was getting my bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the school I graduated from in 2003, I was not interested in graphic design or writing at all.  Now, I find myself on an impasse of sorts.  When I started my blog, MDN Creates (now P. Lynne Designs), I knew I needed photos, but I did not have photos nor the skills to edit them.  I am old school.  My parents taught me that you take pictures on 35mm film, take them to the store to get them sent away, get them back in a few weeks, and display them in a photo album.  The camera on my mobile phone was new and foreign to me.  I taught myself to move the photos from the phone to my computer, then I started a trial of Photoshop, and fell in love with the aspects of it.  I have taken myself as far as I can go on my own.  Now I am hoping to gain more knowledge from an instructor at the school I graduated from.  The same with writing.  I have taken myself as far as I could go, and I hope to get a degree in entrepreneurship, which is a subsequent degree.
One of my personal challenges is to create a new craftroom. I have a budget and a plan.  My takeaway for this challenge is already listed. 

So, if you feel bored, challenge yourself and do not let fear get in your way.  Life is a challenge by itself.  You can do this.