Time Moves Along in a Steady State

My work 2016 diary appeared on my desk the other day. It bought with it a wave of conflicting emotions before I was able to safely hide it under the wonky pile of papers which have yet to be dealt with—paperwork and I are not dealing well together at the moment—to be thought about at some later point. As I work from yearly contract to yearly contract the diary is a little hopeful and a little threatening—there is no guarantee that I will be around to use it but it’s existence means that I should at least begin to start considering wrapping up 2015 and planning out 2016.

The more happy thought to be taken from this is that it is now officially time to start thinking about my diary and journaling requirements for my…… real life? Non-work life? Creative life?—all those things that happen in life outside the Monday-Friday work week (I prefer the motto ‘Work to live’ but sometimes feel my life falls into the ‘Live to Work’ as it eats up so much of my time).

A few years ago I bought a day to a page diary with the idea that I would start journaling everyday about, well, everything—what I was doing, feeling, reading, watching, story ideas, whatever question about my existence that I was grappling with at the time. In my head I had already gone forward years in time and was reading over these insightful pages of my personal history.

Hmph I’ve mentioned my struggle with consistency, and therefore, routine around here before I am sure. So committing to and actually succeeding in writing something every day was always going to be a big ask. I continued the attempted practice of daily journaling for three years with a decrease in the number of days that I journaled with each year.

In terms of actual physical journals, the first year I had a KikkiK (almost) A5 journal with solid but softish cover. The paper was nice to write on, no bleeding of ink or roughness of pages, but the layout of the pages meant that you only got about 80% of the page to write on. There was also an unfortunate mix up with the printing and binding on some of the pages which was a bit frustrating for my like of ordered patterns. Though this journal feels small and light to me now, by the end of that year it had taken on a millstone around the neck type weight proportions—I was commuting back and forth from Ballarat a lot that year.

The next year I switched to a Moleskine which consisted of an outer hardcover and twelve individual soft cover journals, one for each month—with the idea that this would alleviate the weight issue of the first year. They books were smaller (A6?) than the KikkiK diary but the page layout meant that most of the page space was available for writing on. The paper was also finer so there was some bleed through if I was using a heavy ink pen.

After the third year I felt guilty that I was wasting paper for all the days that didn’t get written on and decided to switch to an undated journal. And I also wanted to try to refocus on writing less about my emotions and interactions, and more about experiences. This was because frankly rereading things written about emotions while under the influence of heightened emotions is really awkward and I didn’t feel like I was moving in the aspirational direction that I wanted the journaling endeavour to go in (at this point I hadn’t heard of the concept of creative journaling but I was working towards something around this concept).

So I used an undated book for the first half of 2014, and promptly didn’t write much at all—I can’t find this particular journal to have a look so am not sure what I wrote about but I remember writing more about books and movies than the everyday trivialities but memory is not always that reliable. Partly, I really didn’t warm to the size and texture of the journal I was using—the paper was made from chalk (I think) and it sucked ink out of fineliners which are often my pen for journaling and it was book bound rather than journal bound so keeping the book open and writing was difficult. This was a little sad as the journal was a gift—I haven’t completely given up on it as I keep meaning to invest in some non-inky pens that I like to write with.

For the latter half of 2014, after I got home from my rather traumatic overseas holiday, I started journaling as a way to work through some of my emotions. Queue more pages of emotional stuff that I never want to reread but it was so helpful to have that outlet. This was in a large beige/grey soft cover Moleskine journal with unlined pages which is beautiful to write in—the weight of the paper, the size of the journal and the type of binding are all just perfect. The only drawback is that it is a little heavy for carrying with me every day. The use of this journal has slowly moved more towards a creative use—writing drafts of book reviews and notes from different events, exhibitions etc. that I have been to, planning and the traditional diary like entries are more me working through problems in a written form.

I still have yet to achieve the (close to) everyday journaling that I’ve imagined. And I am not sure how to go about achieving it exactly the way I envisage it—I find that I make notes about my every day in a number of places both physically and digitally—and I suppose I envisage the journal as a curation of this with personal additions. I am pretty sure that I could easily figure out a way to do this digitally but I really want the journal to be a physical tactile thing.

I went to the online stationery store where I normally purchase my yearly planning diary from—Moleskine soft cover A5 month to an opening with lots of pages for notes—to have a look what was on offer for 2016 and ponder whether I wanted to try for the more structured entry per day or just stick to what I currently have. And I think I am going to stick with what I have as it is unlikely that I will suddenly turn into a perfectly routine driven and consistent example of myself—and this is just facts that I have come to accept about myself.

So 2016 will be, hopefully, finishing the current Moleskine journal (because of increased entries) and moving on to another one—haven’t decided whether it will be blank, lined or gridded. And the same planning diary. It is the most perfect planning diary ever—I think if I could just order a version without all the collated information at the beginning and one that had a different coloured cover I would be in planning heaven.

I started out this blog entry intending to talk about the diary I use to organise my life and to discuss the fact that I use a separate journal to write about my creative endeavours, or at least attempt to do this. Instead I somehow strayed into the path of unpacking my attempts at creative journaling. Strange, but not unexpected in my universe.

Does anyone else have this complicated a relationship with their journaling process? And a specific planning diary that you buy every year?

Note: I don’t have a deal with Moleskine I just happen to really like their products. Same for KikkiK.


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