A Box Full of Inspiration

The Kit"You can only learn to be a better writer by actually writing."

That is Doris Lessing expressing the rock-bottom truth about writing. Read any book about writing, enroll in any writing course, browse any 'how to write' web site and you will find the equivalent. The exact phrasing will vary, but the meaning never does.

So most writers resolve to write every single day. Often this is easy. Other times it can seem as if your muse has vanished into a witness protection program. However if you are willing to invest a little time now and then, you can create a priceless treasure: a bottomless well of personalized inspiration to draw on whenever your mind is as blank as your paper.

"Dear Me": Writing Letters to Yourself

When was the last time you wrote a letter? Emails don’t count. A real letter. You know, like when you did during class to a friend, folded in a super secret way or to your parents during your two week stint at summer camp, filled with all the fun things you had done but pleading to come back home to your warm bed and better food. Okay, so maybe you all get the idea. Now, when was the last time you wrote a letter to yourself?

Bet you’ve never done that before. I know it sounds silly. But when you’re journalling and looking to find your voice, writing letters to yourself filled with advice or pep talks, daily musings or past recollections or even just simple one statement reminders that you are worthy and loved can help you when you least expect it. I hereby to give yourself permission to take out your journal or a sheet of paper and do just that.

Dr. Moleskine, or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love My Journal

By day, UK-based Neal Dench is a mild-mannered project manager and technical writer. By night, he assumes his secret identity of Mr. Porkpop, a fearless crusader in the war against... uhm... technical... and, er... project stuff.... *cough* Is this mic on...? Okay, I confess. I wanted to put a spotlight on journalling and Moleskines, and he was just the perfect chap. - DJ

Moleskine closeup
The key to keeping a successful and effective journal is to make sure the writing process is an enjoyable one. By using materials that make writing a pleasure, and by giving yourself the freedom to do what suits you, rather than conforming to traditional diary formats, this can be easier than it sounds. In this article, I'll explain some of the materials and methods I've used to reinvigorate my journal writing in recent months.

I think we owe it to ourselves to make some record of our lives. I hate the idea of waste in general, and I know how much of my time, how many thoughts, ideas, and memories, would be lost forever if I didn't write at least some of it down. Consequently, I have written journals on and off for around 25 years now; I have recorded my thoughts in diaries and PDAs, written regularly every night, written on an occasional basis, and yet, until now, never been satisfied with my efforts, often giving up altogether after only a few months. My diary often descended into a mundane list of things that no-one, not even me, was interested in. What did I watch on TV? What homework did I do? Who cares! When I wasn't writing lists, my diary became an excuse to descend into maudlin self-pity. Sure, life isn't all roses, and a diary can be a useful medium for sounding off about the world and working off your everyday frustrations, but it's all too easy to overdo it, and ultimately that's not good for the soul. It doesn't make for very interesting re-reading either!

So what has changed things recently? Why am I happy with my journaling efforts now? One simple word: Moleskine. Now, before you stop reading, I know how tritely 2005 that sounds, so my aim in this article is to explain why the Moleskine works for me, and tell you a little about how I use it.

D*I*Y Planner Journal Pages

Three different sets of journal pages. Lines are lighter and thinner than Notes pages, and certain ones have header space for drawings, quotes and photographs. Useful for journal writing, tracking business hours/tasks, dream diaries, and much more.

Note: This template has been replaced by the the Dynamic Templates

Usage advice: 

Please see the linked page for more information, and the downloads in both Classic and A5 formats.

Paper size: 
Classic and A5
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)

Free Your Mind

Books, chai and a fergThis week I planned on setting some principles and guidelines to help free your mind and get ready for the ideas and crafty bits of what I hope to show and teach you. However, someone beat me to it in the forums. Her post Nurturing creative energy and productivity captured a lot of the things I was hoping to write about. So instead of doubling up on those ideas, I thought I'd add to what she started there and share with you 8 more thoughts on the things that help and nurture my creative spirit and process.

Scribbles, Scraps and More

Tools of the Trade

The feel of leather under your finger tips. The sound of the spine creaking, the binder snapping open and shut, the paper smooth and cool under your fingers. Sounds like you've purchased a new journal, sketchbook or planner. It doesn't matter what the flavor is, we've all been there, in the store... thinking, I should write more, draw more, get more organized. And that's when the store conjures up the book, that perfect tool. Driving home, bits of images, creativity fills your head on all the things you'll do with the book. The appointments, the perfect sketches, stories. And then, the book sits in the dark corners of your office.