I am a planner. Try as I might to embrace the flow of creativity and let loose in search of inspiration, I always feel most comfortable with a system in place to collect and organize my thoughts. I like to begin with structure, sort of like a home base for my ideas and plans, and then I can work on being more flexible as my intentions unfold into reality. If nothing else, a system helps my brain to push ideas out. Once I write my creative ideas down, I can step back and gain perspective, and see how a theme might be emerging or how inspiration begins to take shape.While I am a tried-and-true journal-keeper, I find that if I write outlines or lists in my journals, it is almost guaranteed that I will not go back to read them. I like to give my daily journals, filled with my morning pages and other writings, space to sit and breathe before I go back to unearth what might be buried inside. So I have found it really, really helpful in my creative practice, to use slim notebooks or journals organizationally, and keep my journals just filled with actual writing. I have used these Moleskine journals before, and they are a really great option, but my current favorite is this set of three journals from Rifle Paper Co. (a brand that I absolutely, always adore!).
Are they not SO pretty?? I am seeing more and more sets of slim notebooks as I shop here and there, and I am really excited to see so many more options available nowadays. I am using the aqua notebook for my blog planning, the pink one to keep track of some of my short story ideas and progress, and the red one remains empty for whatever purpose or project I will find next! (I like having it there, ready and waiting - it is great motivation for me to dive right in with new ideas. I think I should always make sure there is a blank notebook waiting, don't you?)
The details continue inside the journals, making them even more special! I love the artwork at the tops of the pages, and since I was small, I have loved filling in the portion where it says, in any notebook, "This notebook belongs to..." The two journals I am using are already engraved with my ownership.
It really helps me to plug my creative ideas into some form of organizational structure. I use these 4x6 lined pastel Post-it notes and these Martha Stewart page tabs to organize my notebooks and keep all of my thoughts really accessible! Both the tabs and the Post-it notes are removable and can be rearranged as often as I need in order to keep up with the structures that seem best at a given moment. And I love how when the journal is open right to the middle, you can see the line of red stitching that holds it all together. What I find most wonderful about incorporating these notebooks into my creative practice is their flexibility. They are an organizational tool, sure, which gives my structured brain an outlet to coordinate a lot of my creative efforts. Otherwise they are all sort of floating in and out of my head and consciousness and could be gone at any moment's notice. But I love that these journals also provide an opportunity for a fresh new start - an opportunity to make mistakes or try something out. In past, I have sometimes used shorter journals sometimes just to feel like I am achieving something sooner, when I fill them!