Friday, 11 July 2014

A discussion on journalling and creativity

Recently on the Midori Traveler's Notebook Resources Facebook group, Rhomany made a post regarding 'Journalling Inspiration for 'I'm Not Creative' People', which I would like to share and reply to today :) 

Here is the text:


"I want to share this because since so many people consider their MTN a journal, I think it's important to gain perspective of what you want from your journal and what you can achieve. 

So many people say they're not creative enough to have a perfect journal and blah blah blah. 3 things:

1. Perfection is BORING. You hit perfection, you stop learning. You stop learning, you don't grow, so you become stagnant. And did I mention boring.

2. Creativity is not some innate thing like having blonde hair. It's a SKILL and it's a skill you can LEARN.

3. It's just paper. There's more in the shops!

For anyone who doubts this, go check out Courtney Brook's amazing 'Journal Keeper' series on YouTube. You can see the transformation over just a couple of years from mostly writing to the incredible stuff she does now.

It's proof positive that all you need is patience. Not the perfect book, or lovely handwriting (I happen to love hers but she hates it!), not all the expensive materials or hours a day to pursue your art. Just you, your book and a determination to DO IT, regardless of where you consider yourself to be on the ladder of who's better than who - which is also ridiculous but that's a whole other post.

The Journal Keeper:

In the comments below the post Rhomany asked me to share my views as in the past 6 months or so I have gone on a 'journalling journey', changing my perceptions and views of what a journal is supposed to be. I wanted to add some some statements to Rhomany's. So here is my reply! I would like to divide it into two parts: 1) Journalling and 2) Creativity


Here, in this video, you can see how my perceptions of diaries/journals have changed over time, as I used to think journalling was only of the 'Dear Diary' type, and why it has therefore been hard to get my head around different types of journalling.

Now I understand that there are innumerable different types of journals, from the what-happened-today ones, emotional ones, bullet journals, art journals, one for a specific area of your life, etc etc. But also, people call their notebook a 'journal', as if you write a lot down everyday, after a while your notebook can reflect the journey of your life and you can see your thoughts, passions, ideas, projects, obsessions and emotions. From those journals I have seen online, I can see that they are all different. And this is the point of today's post.

Everyone's journals are different. 
Your life and skills are unique; so don't compare your journal (or planner) to others'; but do draw inspiration from them.

There is no right, and no wrong.

Just looking at some photos, or watching a youtube video, it's so easy to see someone else's journal and think that it's beautiful, interesting, cool. And then, looking at your own journal, or notebook, or planner, seeing it everyday, maybe getting bored of seeing the same page layout or handwriting or something, and overanalysing what you see, it's so easy to think that other people's journals are MORE beautiful and MORE interesting than yours, and that yours 'should' look this way. And then when you try to make your journal look exactly the same, it usually won't, because you don't have the same creative skills etc. It is so easy to criticise your own journal because it doesn't look 'perfect'.

There's no easy solution, but maybe I can suggest that you stop looking at other people's photos or videos of their journals until you are comfortable, or even happy, with your own style. But, if like me you really enjoy watching videos etc, you think of these as inspiration, take note of ideas to implement in your journal- maybe try a different handwriting style, draw some doodles, stick in some photos, or go all out and decorate every page. But do it your way, and develop your own creative skills.


Creativity is unique to the individual, and you have some, even if you don't realise it! You just have to find it. There are many different types. Here are a couple of the main ones I have seen expressed in the journals I have seen: Art and Writing. Some people are excellent at drawing/sketching/painting. Some people's skills lie in choosing the perfect colour combinations and putting down a gorgeous arrangement of ephemera on the page. Some just splash colour on the page and write over it, and it looks brilliant. But others have skills in writing; reflecting their thoughts, notes, or literature on paper. In my opinion, this is as much a creative skill as art.  But most of us don't have these skills naturally.

Embrace the creativity that you are good at; but at the same time practice the skills you want to become good at. Don't compare yourself to others; if you are just starting out at a new creative hobby, these people probably have dozens of hours of practice more than you, and may be more naturally skilled than you are to start with. So don't compare yourself to them.

And as Rhomany says, it doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, it just has to be YOURS.


  1. Couldn't have put it better myself Kate. Thanks for sharing

  2. This is your best video ever. I had the thought process as you had of the dear diary being the only way to journal. Loved the thought process on this video.