Sunday, September 02, 2007

Wrecking my journal

I was going through Bloglines this morning and cleaning out posts -- I tend to go through the new posts really quickly in the morning, checking "keep new" on things that I want to save or read later, and seldom go back to them -- and ran across a post about Wreck This Journal. It's an "activity" book on the order of a guided journal, but in this case, the author, Keri Smith, wants you to really wreck the journal--get it wet, get it dirty, write in it with crayons, wad it up--in short, treat it as a repository for learning and artistic inspiration, and not as a sacred book that you're afraid to write in, and thus, mess up.

I have quite a few blank books that I've bought over the years that I have never--and probably will never--write in. They're just too perfect, and they're intimidating. Hard back books full of pristine creamy paper tend to make me feel that I can only write big things in them, that I need to use a special, nice pen, that I should sit down with the book and a cup of tea and ponder. But I don't have a lot of time for "pondering" lately, so the beautiful blank books stay blank.

However, I've been wrecking a journal of my own.

A few weeks ago I found some 4x6 Jordi Labanda journals at Target on clearance. They have plastic covers, and the pages have faint colored lines just the right distance apart (when I look at journals, I have to open them up and check the lines -- if they're dark black lines, and too far apart, no matter how lovely the cover is, I won't buy it, because I know I wouldn't enjoy writing in it).

It started out as being a notebook to record information--meanings of stones, suppliers and resources, ideas--for my jewelry business. Then I recorded some tarot readings in it, and I wrote down a knitting pattern in it, and I took it on our little vacation to Bennett Spring, and now I'm using it to keep my Second Life notes--places to shop, events, notes on keyboard shortcuts, notes on how to make things and import them into the game.

I carry the journal with me all the time now. I take it to the doctor's office to write down my blood pressure, I took it to physical therapy with me to write down the things I'm supposed to do, I keep it open on my desk at work to write down things I need to buy at the grocery store, Bob's work schedule, anything and everything that I don't want to forget. I skim Second Life fashion blog entries and note places that I want to check out later. I used it to take notes when I was looking for some land to rent -- I wrote down everything I found out so that I would have it to review later.

I don't try to write nicely (or even, sometimes, legibly), I don't even try to write on the lines. I don't have to write with the same pen all the time, whatever is at hand is fine. The way it's written isn't important--it doesn't have to be pretty--the information is the important thing, and as long as I can access it later, the method of getting it in there isn't important.

I have a package of stick-on divider tabs in the front of the book in a pocket that I added (actually an adhesive floppy disk pocket), a pad of small post-it type notes, and a package of Post-It flags, so that I can mark pages that I need to remember to look at later, if I don't want to skim all the pages.

When there's a page that I have to keep referring to (like the page that lists the control commands for Second Life items that require them), I put a tab on it.

This is how I used to use journals, a long time ago. I carried a notebook with me all the time and wrote down everything. That way, I knew that it was all in one place, and I could find it later. I got away from that when I started using an electronic organizer, and while I still use it, I use the organizer now more to hold records -- insurance numbers, phone numbers, addresses, appointments -- and keep all the miscellaneous detritus and minutiae of my daily life in the journal.

I don't know what my journaling will mutate to in the future, but for now I'm enjoying this freeform process.

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Sharon said...

Willa, what a wonderful idea! Like you, I have bought lots of really nice, pretty journals over the years that I just couldn't pass up and may never write in.

Right now I'm so unorganized because when I'm at work I use sticky post it notes to write down things I want to remember, like book titles, etc. or web sites or anything I want to refer to later.

I'm going to go look. I think I may have a similar journal here right now. I can't believe I haven't been using it.

And Another Thing... said...

Willa, I've been keeping a journal somewhat like this for the last year. Mine has lists in it, and some important information. I like your idea about the tabs. I have kept track of important pages by inserting a paperclip or binder clip.


Liora said...

I love this! I don't know what's so delicious about paper and pen, especially after using a PDA, but it *is* enjoyable. Do you separate your notebook into sections, like one for SecondLife, one for health stuff, etc.?

Willa said...

No, I don't separate it. I could, easily, because the notebook has sections of pages with differently colored lines. And I started to, one section for jewelry ideas and records, one for SL stuff, but then, since it's not looseleaf, I get worried that one section will fill up, and one never will ..... so I gave up on that idea and just fill it up as I go. If there are things in there that I decide I want to keep permanently in a more accessible fashion, I record them in my Palm. Most of it is just notes of a transitory nature.

I have to almost physically restrain myself from buying a paper planner sometimes. With my obsessive tendencies, I could easily have--and have had in the past--a big notebook that I carry everywhere. I need to not do that again. :)

Anonymous said...

I love reading your pages. How long have you had your journal.

Willa said...

A little over 12 years. Since August 1995.

willasmom said...

Just wanted to share a bit of useless info. My husband and I recently had our first child and named her Willa Carol. She is named Willa after his grandfather (William), on whose birthday she was born. Carol came from my mother who is recently deceased. I have been told so many times that it is such a unique name and had only heard mention of a writer known with the same name - so I decided to Google it, and found you! Pretty neat! Just wanted to let you knwo that you have joined my Willa research!

Willa said...

Cool! I've probably had half a dozen Willas write to me over the years. So yes, it *is* unique!


Anonymous said...

I just recently found your 'new' online journal. I used to read it alot back in 1996-1999 as well as Those were the days.