Capturing the Moments

I’ve always been big into journaling. I’ve loved writing out my thoughts, ideas, memories, etc. since the age of 13 or so. My journals have evolved over the years – for the first few years, they were the traditional, written form.

Then about 10 years ago, I started experimented with art journaling and immediately embraced this form of expression. For the first time ever, I could let go of my Type A, anal retentive personality and just play with colours and images, without judgment. It was fantastic! During this period in my life (mid-twenties), my creativity slowly started to resurface, after being dormant for too many years. I also felt that I was finally coming into my own and really getting to know the authentic me during this phase.

Since I started blogging a few years ago, I’ve been struggling to keep up my personal journals. Between the pesky day job, making books, teaching workshops, working on other personal and professional projects, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, I’ve found it difficult to find the time and/or energy to journal. Yet I desperately wanted to find some way of capturing the moments, great and small, that make up my life.

Right around this time last year, I serendipitously found Amanda Hawkins’ wonderful blog, Ahhh Design, and the fantastic DIY planner templates that she designed. An idea formed in my head!

I downloaded her [free!] Index Cards template, and printed the Monthly Plan page onto 12 booklet-size envelopes. I made two covers, punched holes in the covers and envelopes, and voilà – my easy-peasy 2010 journal!

Calendar Envelope Journal

Monthly Calendar

I kept the current month’s envelope in visible location so I wouldn’t forget about it. On the calendar side of the envelope, I recorded events (big and small) – concerts I attended, birthdays, appointments, dinners out with friends, etc. On the back side of the envelope, I listed books I read and movies I saw that month.

Books and Movies

The envelopes I chose for this journal were large enough to fit cards, pamphlets, brochures, photos, ticket stubs, and other mementos [such as the x-rays of my broken ankle].

Envelope Contents

I haven’t shared this journal until now because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep it up consistently. But I’m delighted to report that I’ve recorded in this journal every single month in 2010. This format has been successful for me because it’s so easy to add to it – all I have to do is jot down a quick note or stash a memento in the envelope. Some months, the envelope is thinner than others – and that’s okay! It’s been a great way to capture the moments with very little effort, pressure or perfectionism.

As 2010 comes to an end, I plan to add my thoughts on the past year in greater detail as well as my goals for 2011.

And I definitely plan to repeat this journal format for 2011 – but I also want to add to-do lists, project ideas, sketches, and other elements so that it becomes more of a planner.

What about you – do you have an alternative journal format that works for you? Please share!

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