Fancy Journals

green journalWhen I started journalling … a habit that later became Morning Pages … I purchased a few bound journals at Borders.  I quickly found, though, that I was inclined to try to write something appropriate to the journal’s binding, that is, something beautiful instead of the sort of putting out the garbage that journalling can turn out to be.  Two dollar spiral-bound, college-ruled notebooks from Target turned out to be better suited to my Morning Pages but because my family knows I journal, I still regularly receive nicely bound journals as gifts.  So, if you were to poke through my office bookcases, you’d find an assortment of these tucked away among the books.  Most have a only few pages filled, remnants of some project that I thought would be perfect for a fancy journal then lost interest in.  This year’s gift, a black Moleskin journal given to me by my daughter, is my Project Book, were I keep track of my projects for the year, writing down progress each day.  In theory, anyway.  There is a 85% chance my Project Book will end up in the bookshelves with only a few pages filled.

Today, I found a forgotten journal with a green velvet cover, right between Dan Millman’s Everyday Enlightenment (a favorite) and A Course in Miracles (bought but abandoned).  This was at the top of the first page: This journal is a place to collect ideas and resolutions that show up in my Morning Pages then get lost. You see, one of the benefits of free-form journalling is that it teaches you to write without your Inner Critic’s help.  Eventually, he (or she, as the case may be) realizes what goes in the journal is going to be crap anyway, so he checks out.  And then, occasionally, something remarkable shows up, something that often goes out with the trash because I toss my two-dollar spiral notebooks once they are filled.  So a Best of Morning Pages Journal is a really great idea.  I wish I’d thought of it.  Oh, yeah.  I did.  Then forgot.  Anyway, the green velvet journal contained several interesting ideas and several poems (free verse*) I don’t remember writing from 2004.  So, maybe I’ll start using it again, along with my black Project Book.   Maybe I’ll buy a leather bound journal to record my REALLY good ideas from my Project Book and the Best of Morning Pages.  Then …

Sometimes I make life too complicated.  At this point, Muri is shaking her head.

So, do you use Fancy Journals?

* Free verse has always seemed to me to be a way for prose-writers who envy the romance of being a poet to say, I am one.

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7 Comments on “Fancy Journals”

  1. Zen Doe Says:

    Loved this post! I thought I was the only one with beautiful bound journals lying about on shelves and in drawers – with nothing much in them. I can’t give them as gifts though, because each one has a few pages of “that project” marked up. sigh… Loved the part about how you try to write something worthy of and appropriate to the cover. Nope, I wouldn’t know anything about that. ;-) Thanks for a delightful post.


  2. A long time ago, I only used “fancy journals” – they were beautiful and rather expensive, and I filled them with the ramblings of a mad woman.

    Now, I am much better off with my 2.00 spiral notebook from Walmart.

  3. Muri Says:

    You are right…I was shaking my head right about at that point:). You know me too well!!!

  4. katz Says:

    Thanks for sharing. Sounds so familiar!!!!
    I have been wanting to show a photo of my half-used and almost unused fancy journals in my blog, but I was rather ashamed to do so…
    Funny that you write you toss the full journals away, I don’t toss my morning pages away, I use them as background and paint over them or I write with aquarelle pencil 2-3 times over each other and then make it wet and paint over it: no one can read it and it gives an interesting texture.

  5. dinanath Says:

    I have been doing it for about 6 months and am already wondering what to do with the journals. I like your idea of throwing them away. Do you mean you shred them?

    • oldereyes Says:

      I actually just bury them with the garbage at the bottom of the trash can. I used to lock them up but I finally issued a family warning” “These are my journals … if you decide to read them, you do so at your own risk.” That won’t work in every family situation but it seems to work in mine.


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