This post is very personal to me as I’m sharing why I do creative journaling. I have filmed and re-filmed this video countless times, as I’m not used to sharing this much of myself on the internet. Sure, I have shared snippets here and there, but never as a full post. If you would like to hear about it instead, you can check the video here. But below, I share more of my why.
A Bit of Backstory
My sister initially tried to convince me to bullet journal, but one look at Pinterest and I thought, hell no! And then life took a bit of a turn. I started bullet journaling when we were planning a big move. I needed something that could capture my thoughts, and my to do list. It was a LONG list. I carried my journal and my pens in a little case with me everywhere. It sat on my desk at work, hung out in my purse on the train, and relaxed on the couch beside me. It became a sort of safety blanket.
Once we started feeling settled in our new home, I thought now what. I was a stay at home mom (which I never wanted to be because, honestly, I didn’t think I was enough to give my son what he needed), and with no immediate support network. I was lonely. It was then that I started long form journaling to figure out what I wanted to do. Turns out, I wanted to make beautiful journals. Overwhelmed by images and where to start, I decided to start with modern calligraphy. Calligraphy is something I’ve always wanted to learn, but the free flowing and beautiful nature of modern calligraphy attracted me immediately. (I also decided to share my experiences with you and started my blog!)
From modern calligraphy, I turned to lettering. While learning lettering, I started doodle challenges in my bullet journal. I started experimenting with different supplies and different techniques, I started following more and more journalers, and in jumping down this amazing, challenging rabbit hole, I managed to find myself.
The Ultimate Super Villain: Perfectionism
I know you’re sitting there thinking you’re too much of a perfectionist to even try. Well, guess what?! So was I! The list of things I didn’t even try because I wouldn’t be perfect, or even good at it, is endless. The anxiety resulting from said perfectionism when I did try something new was exhausting. It was exhausting for me and the people around me. I never expressed these insecurities at the time because it made me vulnerable and, you guessed it, not perfect. I damaged a lot of friendships along the way and I definitely regret having done so. But I digress!
In our new city, in our new country, I found myself depressed, anxious, and alone, in a small apartment, having to look after my spirited little guy. I knew I had to do something for myself, and my family, to pull myself out of it. I was almost paralyzed by perfectionism and anxiety, but anything was better than what I was feeling. So I bit the bullet and ordered some supplies. (I do want to note here that I had been struggling with anxiety and depression for many years before this. I thought I was managing it okay (spoiler: I wasn’t), and while journaling helped a lot, I did seek medical help as well. So medicine combined with journaling completely changed me for the better.)
Why I do Creative Journaling
Sense of Control
As mentioned above, I was spiraling and lettering, drawing, and challenging myself, all gave me a sense of control. Learning the different aspects of creative journaling gave me some direction. I chose what I wanted to learn next. No one was telling me what to do, or that it was wrong. It was mine to choose and decide what I wanted to do, or learn next.
Settling down into adulthood, with a serious relationship and a full time job, I learned how important it was to have something that is mine and mine alone. It helped me stay an individual and not lose myself in my Partner, or my work. Creative journaling has become that for me now. With my Husband’s work schedule being all over the place (and the plague of course), its really hard to do something outside of the house just for me.
Creative bullet journaling has become that tether to myself. Yes I’m a mom, and a wife, and a friend, etc. but who I am to, and for myself is also so incredibly important. It allows me to be true to myself, and honest with myself as well. Of course I love sharing with you and I love suggestions that I have come my way, but you don’t always have to share everything you do or create. I definitely have somethings that I have made just for me and making something for yourself feels pretty powerful. I definitely recommend you sit down and make something that’s just for you!
Like many of us may have discovered on TikTok this last year, I’ve realized that I have some ADHD tendencies. I am impulsive, my mind never rests, and I can be hyper-focused… you can actually see these tendencies throughout my blog, and even in this post. I have found that creative journaling is very calming for me and almost meditative when I am drawing or colouring my pages. I am able to relax and let go of any anxieties or stressors that I hold onto throughout the day.
In order for something to work for me, like yoga or meditation, I need to buy into it fully, and those things just don’t work for me. I feel silly and annoyed, and it feels like I am wasting my time. Now, when I first started journaling, I was annoyed, and frustrated, and wanted to be good right away (see perfectionist tendencies). But like all things, it takes time and practice to embrace the learning process. (Yoga and meditation isn’t something I’m willing to spend time and practice on, but journaling was! We have to pick what matters most to us.)
I cannot emphasize this enough! I am a lifelong learner. It’s almost a weakness since I would rather learn than do (because doing can be scary – perfectionism again!). And creative journaling is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and learn new things. Lettering, drawing, painting, stamping, all led to getting an iPad and learning lettering, drawing, painting, which then led to setting up multiple websites and learning coding, design, random internet stuff, which also led to social media, and so on…
The amount of personal growth I have accomplished through journaling and the expansion of my general life experience has been unbelievable. As I mentioned in my video, if you’d have told me this is where I would be when I first started in that tiny apartment, I would’ve laughed at you and walked away.
And now THE MOST important thing creative journaling has given me…
I’m just going to say it one more time for good luck: CONFIDENCE. Now, I still have my “what the hell am I doing, I’m not good enough” days, but the fact that I hit post or submit almost everyday day, sharing something I’ve created, is just unbelievable to me. I am still exceptionally hard on myself, but that’s why having older journals to look at helps so much. I get to see the progress I’ve made and compare myself to me. It can be so hard not to look at other people and judge your own skill (the struggle is incredibly real), but keeping my old journals to look back on has helped so much!
But honestly, it’s about more than just my skills as a creator and an artist. It’s also about building the confidence in who I am and what I believe in. It’s made me a better, calmer person. And that to me is priceless!
Bonus Reason: The Community
The community that I have found through creative journaling has just been amazing! AMAZING! I feel so lucky to consider myself as being a part of the community, and learning so much from the people around me, is also just so special to me. I am so excited to attend some conferences in the future so that I can meet some of these amazing humans in person!
Creative Journaling Into The Future
If you made it this far, thank you so much! This turned into a long one! But I wanted to express what creative journaling has meant to me and how I found myself on this path. My reason for starting this blog and my YouTube channel is to help you see that, when broken down into simple parts, creative journaling can be easier than it seems. Basically, pick one avenue to start learning and experimenting and go from there. Most importantly, hold onto the old journals or papers, just so that you can look back one day and see how far you have come!
As always, thank you so so much for your time today! Please feel free to reach out to me if this has helped you in some way, and/or you’d like to share your own journey. It’s always so eye opening to look back and reflect on where you have been to where you are now. I would love to hear it!