(If you missed Part I, you may want to read that first!)
For one of my New Year’s habits, I’ve been starting my day with a set, morning routine. I wanted to start reading more and the best way to do that is to actually carve out a specific time for it. Every morning now, I make some tea and head out to the balcony (yep, Miami has its perks in January).
I’ve started the year by reading a couple of Austin Kleon’s books – he’s an artist that I follow on Instagram and I’ve been intrigued by his books for awhile. My in-laws gifted them to me for Christmas (thanks, Rob and Gini!), and I’ve been treasuring word upon word in both of his books, Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work. (PS. Those are both affiliate links but I’ll ONLY ever link to things that I’m wild about, that I can promise you.)
These books have me highlighting up a storm, writing new ideas in my notebook, feeling validated and pushed in all the right ways.
As I was reading Steal Like an Artist, I came across this wonderful passage where he talks about the importance of keeping a logbook.
“Just as you need a chart of future events, you also need a chart of past events. A logbook isn’t necessarily a diary or a journal, it’s just a little book in which you list the things you do every day. What project you worked on, where you went to lunch, what movie you saw. It’s much easier than keeping a detailed diary, and you’d be amazed at how helpful having a daily record like this can be, especially over several years. The small details will help you remember the big details.”
Amen, Austin Kleon, Amen. His words especially resonated with me since I’d been keeping my index card journal for the past couple years – basically my logbook.
In the book, Austin has a picture of his logbook. I was completely and totally enamored.
Do you see his little drawings? PERFECTION.
I immediately knew that I wanted to change the rules for my index cards and let them evolve once again. Steal like an artist? Oh, I can definitely do that.
The timing of reading those pages was serendipitous because it was just a few days before January 1st. I had been contemplating my little index card journal and was a little worried because there were certain days where there was very little room left for 2015. Case in point:
That was going to be a problem. Should I just make an additional card for that particular day? But then the congruency of the cards is ruined (moaned the perfectionist in my head).
I’ve definitely had days this past year where I wanted to list more events but held back because I knew I had to save some space for the 2015. Letting go of that pressure would be great. I was ready to try something a little different but that could still be done in less than five minutes. THAT part could not change.
From the example shown in his book, it looks like Austin converts a simple little calendar into his logbook. I’ve found a similar one right here. This may be easier if you travel alot, as my sister pointed out to me. Much simpler to stick a little bound book in your bag than a box of index cards (although what I’ve done when I travel is take the index cards for the time I’ll be away and stash them in a little ziploc bag). If this idea intrigues you but you don’t want to mess with chopping up index cards and finding berry baskets and vintage postcards, you could certainly consider that option. (The one I linked to may be a little small, although it would definitely work if you were sticking to the two or three sentence plan.)
I decided to keep my index card system but make brand new cards for 2015. I bought larger, 5×8 index cards so I could cut them in half and still increase the size of my cards from what they were last year.
Using my trusty paper cutter, I chopped the cards in half and shaved them down to 3.5 inches by 4.5 inches. I put on a podcast and made 365 of those puppies.
Next, it was time to stamp each card with the date. I briefly considered just handwriting the date on each card as I go – but I want to do this project long term. Even though I’m switching the format slightly this year, I want to be able to gather all of these cards into a larger system (wait, do I sense a PART III coming?!?!?!?!?!) – so I like the fact that all of my little cards will at least share the look of the date stamp.
Plus, I’m just kind of addicted to things that remind me of old-school office supplies and mail.
The date stamps would remain.
That StazOn ink is simply the best I’ve found – doesn’t smear, can stamp on photos, and is a deep, rich black color. I got my simple date stamp at Office Depot, but you could get a similar one here if you’re the Amazon type. Here are index cards that are the same size as I used.
Then I started stamping. I JUST now realized that I should have put the 2015 date on these since I’m not journaling multiple years on these cards…c’est la vie, I guess I’ll add it by hand on each card.
This probably took me about 5 minutes to stamp each month. The cards were very cooperative as they lined up around their soon-to-be berry basket home.
Then came the fun part that I had been DYING to do – start pictorially journaling my days!
I don’t worry about the pictures being good. The whole point of this project is that it’s easy and fun.
There are parts of my day that are very routine. I imagine that the same symbols will start to pop up over and over on the cards and that’s A-OK with me.
I realize the cards may look overwhelming when they’re all together like that – but that’s been the beauty of this system. It really only takes 5 minutes to do but when you start to piece them together, they look impressive. (You’ll totally be seeing my cards hit the MOMA at some point, I’m sure. Or maybe if you do this, too, we can have a GROUP installation!)
Graham even likes to help with this project:
Once my supplies come in, I’ll show you how I intend on cataloging all of these cards as I (hopefully) continue this journaling system over the coming years.
Love the pic of you and Graham! It’s a classic.
Haha, yeah he was quite content sitting there as I filled in the card! Guess it’s all that thank you note training from when he was a puppy. :)
I echo Glenda’s sentiment… the black and white photo of you and Graham is beautiful!!
Wow! This was so inspiring to read! I’ve never made my own journal before, but this looks so great! I too have an infatuation with old-school office supplies and mail. I think it comes from growing up with parents that always had those kinds of things around. The smell of stamp pads or rubber cement just makes a space feel so much more creative.
And speaking of creative spaces, seems like you’ve got that down! The picture with Graham is adorable. :)
Jealous of your morning routine! I hope to work up to that one day! And of course, the little pictures are wonderful. Those little icons could prove very insightful if you look at all your cards from 2015 together and search for the most frequently occurring ones.
Looking forward to hearing more about your journals!
P.S. Have you read Samara O’Shea’s Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuit? I think she also wrote a book about letters. Those might be good additions to your ever expanind shelf!
Ooo, thanks for the book recommendation! Just added that to my Amazon wish list and perhaps I’ll search for it at the library as well.I love the title!
When I was teaching I think it would have been next to impossible to have a morning routine like I do now – unless I were to get up an hour earlier…the hours are just so long. So I totally understand where you’re at – but keep it in mind for when you maybe have a less time intensive position…or at least once you’ve been in the rhythm of a job for awhile. That first year of teaching in particular is sink or swim!
I think you’re right, it will be really insightful to look at all the 2015 cards together at the end of the year – looking forward to that!
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