May 14 2017

The Art of Journaling

The A5 and A6 Enigma from Taroko Design Shop

I had one of those infamous pink diary’s with the lock and key when I was in elementary school. That pink diary became my constant companion when my father died when I was seven years old. I’ve been an avid journal-er since. For more than two years now I’ve been using art and text to document my life in my journals, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized and took to heart, got past the fear, and said, “It’s my journal(s), I can do what I want….” I think the rebel in me knew all along and pushed the boundaries, broke the “rules.” Refused to even acknowledge that there are rules to keeping a journal, to doing things like adding your planning into your journal. And the diarist knew that I could journal about whatever I wanted, and was happy to be writing down the feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, plans, and more. But the artist… oh, the artist…the artist in me was filled with fear.

I have followed LittleRavenInk (Courtney Diaz) and Rhomany from Rhomany’s Realm, as well as many others on YT, for a good long while now, and the thing I love about both of them is their individualism, how they have found their voice in their art, on the pages of their journals. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a journal, a sketchbook, a planner, etc., their style is unique. I’ve got a style, I suppose, but it ebbs and flows, it’s not ingrained yet… it’s still underneath the surface, appearing and disappearing as I find my way… As I delve into deeper recesses of my artist.

My first pages in my A5 and A6 Enigma’s, Illustrated Journals

You see, writing down my thoughts, my feelings, adding bits and bobs of things like quotes, pictures, every day ephemera and/or bought ephemera, and other things isn’t the problem… I can do that and do do that on a regular basis. I often use my journal(s) as an art journal, scrapbook, common place journal, planner, and more. I add bits and pieces of my day on the page in a variety of ways, from drawing and water-coloring, to using markers, to writing diary style, to quotes, adding pictures and receipts, bits from magazines, receipts from stores, etc…, and the thing that has been bugging me about my whole journal journey is that I wanted to do something else… something more. To hone in on the artist part of me. To improve my skill and technique, to experiment with different mediums, but to concentrate mainly on the art. On creating at least one piece of art from my day. Maybe it was the new notebook I received in the mail, or maybe it’s my favorite fountain pen or the current watercolor palette I’m using, or maybe it’s my grandson playing or Mr. Rockstar using the grill, or maybe it’s a selfie I’ve drawn and water-colored. Not necessarily in a “sketchbook,” though I do that from time to time especially when I go somewhere and want to chronicle the moment by drawing the outside of the coffee shop or the lake at Swan Lake or the people at the park, which I have learned is called urban sketching and I enjoy, but more like a real life journal that chronicles everything from the mundane to the special event to travel to just playing around and drawing one of my supplies.

I did some serious soul searching last weekend, and my past Tuesday Talk video was about some of this… about investing in myself and my goals, about delving deep and realizing that I’ve been putting off trying to really “illustrate my life,” out of fear… out of insecurity… out of a lack of self-confidence. And yet the past year has improved my self-confidence, lessened my fear, knocked loose some of those insecurities and I’ve tried things and done things that the artist in me wouldn’t have even thought I could do–things like open my own journaling group, start Patreon, call myself an artist… WHOA! Did I just call myself an artist? Yep, sure did!

I’m not a professional artist, but I’m learning… I’m going back to the basics of drawing and learning to do so in a class offered by Danny Gregory on Sketchbook Skool. I’m experimenting on my own with watercolor until I can take a watercolor class–that is on my To-Do list after I finish the Drawing class. I’m learning on my own and taking classes. I’m journaling every day, drawing and water-coloring every day, and have gotten serious enough about that I purchased a new journal with 68 GSM Tomoe River paper in it from Taroko Design, the journal is called the Enigma and it’s got the most divine paper. I also have a Strathmore Watercolor paper journal/Sketchbook with 140lb paper for when I do happen to go Urban Sketching, or for practice, since painting with watercolor on Tomoe River paper is quite different than on watercolor paper.

Using my Winsor & Newton set to chronicle my day in my Omni Journal.

Right now I use a Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor set, but I want to invest in the Daniel Smith Watercolors and create a basic travel set and then add to my collection as I go. I have goals… plans, but first it’s time for me to just start. I can’t wait until I can afford the Daniel Smith watercolors, though I do have a small travel kit that one of my wonderful friends made for me (I use those when I create works of art for people). Instead of waiting around, procrastinating even more, I sat at my DIY craft table and opened up both the A5 and the A6 Enigma and created my first page. I’ve realized that the A6 is going to be my fun, experimental tiny book of sketches, watercolors, etc… I’m going to take it with me every where I go and sketch something… anything–it might be the mailbox or the neighbor’s car or dog or pool or tree, or the coffee shop, or the front of the grocery store, or the people waiting in line at the doctor’s office. And the A5 will be my actual “Illustrated Journal,” also known as an “Artist’s Journal.” Some of those sketches might be of my supplies, of a tree in my own backyard, of Mr. Rockstar, of my grandson Mr. Viktor, of my own car, of myself, of pictures I’ve taken, of people (Friends, Family, etc)… I am going to illustrate something each day.

If any of you have seen the pages of my (Omni) journal or my Hobonichi you know that I often sketch bits and pieces of my day on my journal pages, sometimes it’s cartoon like, sometimes it’s fancy stick figures, sometimes it’s an actual sketch and watercolor… but I also add a lot of text, ephemera, photos, etc to the pages of my (Omni) journal/Hobonichi. I am going to continue to do that, because those are fun… I’m not always serious when I draw those bits and pieces of my life. Don’t get me wrong, there are some serious sketches within the pages of my (Omni Journal) and Hobonichi, but there are far more fun drawings…

I’m going to be chronicling my journal in depth on Patreon, but in bits and pieces here and on YT. I hope you enjoy the process, I know I hope to.

Once I get things together, I’ll make a revised Journal Supply post and video.

 

 

April 19 2017

Writer’s Doubt: Voice of Doom and Gloom, Friend or Foe?

What is Writer’s Doubt? At it’s core, self doubt (writer’s doubt) is fear. Fear of being a failure. Of not being good enough, or talented enough. And/or fear of success. Writer’s Doubt is that booming voice or the creeping but quiet voice that insists your writing sucks, that sense of dread or defeat, that feeling of suffocating or drowning… The inner voice of Doom and Gloom that makes you want to quit writing, that makes up excuses for why you’re not writing, why you don’t have time to write. Writer’s Doubt/Self Doubt is a mindset. If you fuel the negative thoughts that come from fear, that lead you down the road of self doubt, then it will become a vicious cycle of negativity. You’ll find yourself comparing your writing to other’s writing. You’ll judge your first draft against someone else’s finished, and I mean edited and published draft. You’ll want to write but the self doubt will re-assert its monstrous self and instead of putting your butt in the chair you’ll find something else, something easier to do. Or maybe you’ll be one of the lucky one’s and you’ll fight the fear, you’ll wage against the self doubt and sit down in that ergonomic chair, at your lovely desk, in front of your computer and you’ll put your hands on the keyboard, touching your fingertips lightly across the keys… you’ll start writing even if you’re afraid that your words will be nonsense, or that people will laugh. You’ll fight the good fight and write no matter how loudly that voice of doom and gloom rages. Today, I am sitting in front of the computer, at my lovely red desk, with my fingers gliding across my ergonomic keyboard, sitting in my non-ergonomic chair that really needs to be replaced, with my feet barely touching the floor writing this blog post to correspond with the video I made about this topic. I haven’t worked on my novel today, but I have done a bit of research and made some notes (keeping my head in my novel, or at least trying to). Later today I will work on the actual novel, and hopefully I will get at least 1000 words written. Am I afraid my novel will suck? Yes, a little. I’m not bored with my novel, but I do know that I need to work on my antagonist a lot more, a whole lot more. Do I expect I’ll encounter writer’s doubt (again) while working on this novel? Yep, I am sure I will feel a bit of doubt, fear, insecurity, but will I let it make me quit? Nope. NO way in hell will I quit. It’s just not in my nature. I’ve been known to take a hiatus or two, even a long one, but after having put my writing off to the side for over a decade or more, and putting my art to the side for even longer, maturity has taught me that giving up on the things you love, that you’re passionate about, those creative pursuits that help give your life meaning, I won’t quit working on my novel even if it takes 10 years to finish it.

Here’s the video… this has a great deal more information in it. 😀

 

Category: #amwriting, #writestuff, Anxiety, Creativity, Fear, Life, Self-Doubt, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Life | Comments Off on Writer’s Doubt: Voice of Doom and Gloom, Friend or Foe?
April 17 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2 (I’ve been procrastinating)

This Camp NaNoWriMo, and we’re just past the two week mark, I’ve been guilty of procrastination. Hello, my name is Burgess Taylor, and I am a procrastinator. The ironic thing is that I’ve been procrastinating with things that I also love to do, as well as things that I don’t really even care to do–things like washing dishes, laundry, cleaning the bathroom. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also been procrastinating with things like Netflix, Hulu, reading, making videos, and social media (FB, YT, etc). I do and don’t consider spending time with family procrastinating, unless of course I initiate a Netflix marathon for me and Mr. Rockstar, which I have done, and I’ve let him convince me to do–and it was so hard to convince me to put off my writing to watch Wayward Pines on Hulu, or to watch most of the show Prison Break on Netflix. 😀 And yet, I was productive… most of the time when I watch TV I journal, and sometimes I write by hand. But this time, and maybe it’s because I still don’t have my laptop, I have not been writing nearly as much each day, or every day, the way I have during previous Camp’s.

What is procrastination? The action of delaying or postponing something. Why do we procrastinate? Many experts will tell you that we procrastinate to avoid or put off doing something we don’t want to do, but when I was working through Julia Cameron’s self-guided course “The Artist Way” I learned that most of us procrastinate because of fear. Fear of failure or fear of success. There are also chronic procrastinators. Some procrastinate because of the thrill of doing things at the last minute, it’s an adrenaline rush I suppose. And some procrastinate because they are poor decision makers. Whichever type of procrastinator you are, if you’re a creative person, I’m betting that it’s the FEAR that is keeping you from creating–from writing, drawing, etc. For me, it’s the FEAR. Continue reading

Category: #amwriting, Anxiety, Camp NaNoWriMo, Creativity, Depression, Fear, Life, Procrastination, Productivity, Scrivener, Self-Doubt, Writing, Writing Life | Comments Off on Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2 (I’ve been procrastinating)