A few years ago, I had some money left on a gift card, so I bought a big fat journal. It’s made by Greenroom, whose products I like because they have nice paper and are really pretty.
Once upon a time, I used to get through journals pretty quickly. I’ll admit that most of what I wrote in them consisted of random observations, complaints, and funny stuff that I noticed. Nothing profound or worthy of being published at any point—just a brain dump.
I got sick of writing useless stuff in journals and instead began to use them for lists of important things I would otherwise forget, story ideas, work-related stuff, and so on. As I result, I wrote less often and the big fat journal that I started in May 2018 still is not finished nearly two years later.
In that interval, I have gotten several other journals as gifts, and they are sitting around sadly while my big fat journal gets all the attention (or none of it). So now I’m trying to fill the big fat one up with whatever I feel like writing about again; for example, a random quote from work: “Animals are a whole different breed of people.” (I overheard this across a couple cubes. I have no idea what the context is.)
The moral of this useless, random story is that, for me at least, there is no point in getting a big fat journal. The little tiny ones, or even plain old spiral notebooks, will do just fine.
In general, I don’t like “stuff.” Clothes shopping is a rare occasion for me. I can’t remember the last time I bought jewelry, knickknacks, or something that was a want and not a need.
So you’d think I’d be an adherent to Marie Kondo’s philosophy of getting rid of things that don’t bring joy. In an ideal world in which I live in my own neat little bubble, I would be, but it’s hard when I have a husband who is a pack rat and a baby who will naturally accumulate tons of clothes, bottles, books, toys, and other accessories. (I’m dreading the days when I have to avoid stepping on Legos and K’nex!)
Books are probably the physical object I love the most, if I had to pick something. Not only are they useful, they are decorative. Little is more aesthetically pleasing to me than an organized bookshelf. Notebooks and journals are also difficult to part with, even if they’ve never been written in. They are essentially books and have that same pleasing aesthetic quality.
But the sad fact remains that books take up space, which is a precious and rare commodity in our apartment. So I pared my book collection down to only 30. To be honest, it wasn’t all that difficult. Every reader has books in his collection that are destined to be sitting on the shelf for years, never read and never touched. Probably 90% of my books fell into that category.
Every reader also has books that, for whatever reason, he will never part with and would probably be buried with, if given the opportunity. Those were the 30 books I kept. Only two were fiction (both by William Faulkner). The others were writing related and other nonfiction. Religious books didn’t count because my husband wanted to keep most of them; I think if I had included religious books in my 30, it would have been a lot harder to choose only 30. I did cheat a little by keeping two “keepsake” books and another written by a friend, but all three are pretty small and won’t take up much room. 🙂
Is it easy or hard for you to part with physical things?
One of the newest organizational crazes is bullet journaling, in which you essentially design the planning system that works for you. The bullet journal is a cross between a planner and a journal, so you can simultaneously have structure and work in a free-form way.
I believe you’re supposed to devise a system of symbols that you write on the first page of the journal, and you use these symbols throughout the journal to organize aspects of your life (work, personal life, etc.) and plan for the future. You can make an index, a table of contents, or whatever you want, as long as you know what you’re doing and as long as it works for you. There are more detailed guidelines on the official bullet journal website, but they are simply guidelines. There really are no rules.
Bullet journaling lends itself well to people who are more artistic. They design their journal pages with such beauty and creativity that a finished journal becomes a work of art. You can see some of their Instagrams and drool over the loveliness here and here.
The idea of bullet journaling really appeals to me, but I don’t think it would work for me in actuality because there is too much of a learning curve. The nameless system I have works for me. I have a planner and a journal, and the planner is for, obviously, planning, and the journal is for writing the random stuff that I think of every day, and for, obviously, journaling. I hate to say it, but most of the time, when I journal/plan, I value efficiency more than taking the time to make things beautiful, so the artistic aspect of bullet journaling would honestly stress me out.
Do you bullet journal, or have you tried it? Does it work for you?