Thursday, October 31, 2019

Today’s topic: Journaling for beginners

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October 23, 2019-This was me a year ago today.  I started covering journaling on my blog.  The reason was I journaled and I still journal. I needed something new to put a spark in this tired blog, so, I started talking about journaling as a way to fill a void and to talk about a form of writing that I am passionate about.  
Have you ever journaled before? 
If the answer is yes, then you know what I am talking about.  If not or have not heard of the concept before, I have a whole series about the beginnings of journaling and why is it important to keep a journal.
I will not rehash the reasons why I do journal, I have them sprinkled throughout this blog: The topics I want to home in for beginners are:
·         Put it together: Conclusion to journaling
from Pixabay by unknown photographer
It is also good that the rest of the more experienced people who journal to read as well.  I also have some tips to become better at journaling, and some things that I have learned about the process of journaling.

1)       Find Your Why.
It does not matter to the rest of the world your reason for journaling unless you do like me and announce that you are journaling (i.e. this blog).  What matters is you know your reason.  These reasons can go from “I want to know what it is like to journal” to “I want to go back someday to see how I am at a particular time in my life where I was happy, sad, curious, or going through something difficult because a child, friend, or spouse is going through the same thing.”  These are all valid reasons for journaling, but if you are using the entry at a later time as a means for guiding someone through the same situation, be careful.  This person is not you and for you to offer advice on something that you have handed well in the past, may not end well for that person, unless they first ask for help. Wait, they will talk about it if they want to.
2)      Use entries as lessons learned
Let me address one of those reasons.  The reason is “I want to learn from this”.  The real reason could be that you are going through a situation and you want to be able to learn from it and teach someone when they go through it.  Let me address the art of financial planning as an example.
You may be having problems with keeping money in your bank account month to month.  This is a common problem for people these days. You may want to keep a journal documenting what is happening, what you are saving for (if you are trying to do that as well), and another money situation the average person is having: getting out of debt.
This is how I would do this type of journaling.  There is no wrong way of doing it, but it is necessary, at least for me, to document this, in case you need to show this to someone at the bank for advice.  For this type of journaling, I might suggest that you buy:
§  an inexpensive notebook binder, Tabs (Jan-Dec)
§  Using a spreadsheet, like MS. Excel or Google Sheets, or software like Quicken Books (your choice, no right or wrong, it depends on your experience and your tech budget)
§  Some notebook paper or online journal. 
·         Note: You may also want to print out your statements from online banking app (if applicable).
§  Divide your notebook from Jan-Dec (using dividers, like the Avery Customizable Table of Contents Dividers, Jan- Dec Tabs (11847)). 
§  Add in the following each month:
·         your spreadsheet
·         Goals and Aspirations
·         Journal entries (reflections)
§  At the end of the year your feeling on how it went.
o   You never know, this could turn into a book.
3)     Project entries
I have often had journals where I wanted to document a trip or a project.  Same thing as the other journals, where I have entries and reflections within those entries.   These looked a little like this:
Project:  Christmas card
Materials Used:
o   Christian Merry Christmas by Stamp Simply - Acrylic Stamp for Card #1. $20.90
o   Snowflake Christmas Stamp Set by Inkadinkado- Acrylic Stamp set for Card #2. $10.63
o   Embossing powder-Rose Gold Metallic By Ranger Ink for card #1. $3.99
o   Embellishment Mousse -Pure Platinum By Nuvo for card #2. $6.39
o   Bazzill Basics - Card Shoppe - 8.5 x 11 Cardstock - Premium Smooth Texture – Marshmallow (100 sheets) for Card #3 to get a head start and to replenish my white cardstock-$.48 each
Budget for the total Project:  $150.00 for the project.  I spent $89.00 so far.
This can be applied to any home improvement, business, or trip project.
4)     Document everything
If you want people to learn from the mistakes you have made as well as your successes, list everything no matter how big or small.  I will say something like this (using the Christmas card project as an example):
      “One of the things I have learned from making Christmas cards is I need to start early finding everything I needed for them.  First, I did not anticipate the cost.  I thought that if I had a budget of $150 for the project, I would come out ahead.  I had so much fun that I made 3 more types of cards and I ended up spending $200 for everything.   The next lesson I learn is to estimate the time of arrival for the products I ordered.  Amazon did what they said they did, which was to deliver in 2 days.  As for the products I order from, they were out of the Nuvo Drops I wanted for the impromptu 4th card I decided to make.  They were rose gold, which would have been perfect for the rose gold embossing powder I order from there, and I ran all over town going from craft store to craft store.  This prompted me to finally order from Amazon, again, who got it to me in 24 hours, after I put a rush on the order.  I guess it pays to plan ahead.”
Even if this documentation is for your eyes only, it serves as a reminder for the next time to plan ahead.
5)     Plan ahead.
Yes, I am will ask you to plan to make a journal.  The reason is so you can research into what type of journal you want to have.  Not every journal is a narrative journal (the “dear diary, I had a bad day type).  As you see from the examples above, I did not have a narrative journal.  I had a planning journal.  Well, did you know you have to plan a planning journal?  Even if you were to follow some examples, you may not want everything you see in the example journal.  For example, if you were to follow my plan of attack for the Christmas card project journal, you have to ask yourself, “should I sketch out my card to have a general idea I want in the card?” “This example does not show that.” “I also do not see how many she was making; I want to put that in there.” “I really want a spreadsheet of my inventory and cost, should I put the journal in a binder instead of a regular notebook?” (trust me, it is perfectly fine to make that decision).  In other words, you can make your journal any way you want.  There is no right or wrong way of writing a journal.  It is what you make of the journal.  It is what makes you happiest. You are the master of your own journal.
Well, it is late, and I must get some sleep.  I hope you will find this very helpful as you begin your journaling process.  Oops, my bad, I did not get to planners.  This is part 1.  Part 2 is around the corner and will be addressed next time. So stay tuned to this blog for hopefully an exciting post.

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