The New Creative Journal during the summer
Summer has arrived with its promise of holidays and outings! It may provide us with a little more time to do some creative journaling or conversely, what with family and friends dropping in, it may be difficult to find that precious time. Over the years, I have discovered practices that help me be more present when I visit new places or to generally be more mindful so I can truly benefit from the summer. I’d like to share some of these practices with you here.
Projecting: Create a background by covering a page of your journal with images of holiday destinations: beaches, forests, cities, etc. Next, cut footprints out of a blank white sheet of paper (bare feet, feet in sandals or shoes…) and glue these footprints onto your background. What would you like to take with you to these holiday destinations? Write your thoughts in each footprint (for example, “my creativity”, “friendship,” “tranquility,” etc.).
Feel each step: Rather than project yourself elsewhere, take the time to mindfully be present to each step you take. Rest your feet where you are, in the sand, in the grass, on a path. Take off your shoes if you can and really feel the earth beneath your feet. Let yourself be filled with its energy, its vibrations, and any sensations that arise. Listen to its whispers and feel where your steps want to lead you. Take your time. Come back to your journal and create a page by drawing these footprints in order to honour that moment, that place.
Travel notebook: When I’m out for a stroll, I don’t like carrying a heavy backpack so I typically bring along a small sketchbook in which I make a note of things, write a few short pages, and make sketches or scribbles of what I notice. Go on an adventure in which you bring a little notebook (or watch this video to learn how to make one with a sheet of paper) and on foot, by bike, at the restaurant or anywhere else you might find yourself, create your mini-pages. At night or the next morning, glue these mini-pages into your regular journal and complete the process. This is a fun way to combine small with bigger formats while also journaling on the go. You will find other ideas in the video!
The Landscape: We are often touched by the beauty of new landscapes. Sit with your journal in front of a pleasing landscape, take a few moments to calm yourself and then draw the horizon line or a feature you like about the landscape. What does this landscape evoke for you? If you have questions about your life, or have a decision to make or a problem to consider, ask this landscape what it thinks about your situation. Write an imaginary dialogue with this landscape. Complete the process by summarizing its message in a short poem.
Collage: While on holiday or out on a stroll, I like to collect a variety of things I find (ads, post cards, various tickets, tourist information, natural elements) and I use them to create collages. I dedicate a page to a specific destination I explored, to a memorable outing, or to a new landscape I discovered…This is easy to do even when family is around because it’s not a very introspective process and sometimes, it’s contagious!
Vacation photos: Print a photo that you took today (or use a post card), glue it into your journal and continue the image by adding lines, colours, landscape elements, dialogue bubbles, etc. Extend the pleasure of your holiday by using your creativity.
Gratitude: Why not dedicate a page to the simple pleasures you encounter in a day? Draw or glue an image of something memorable and write your thanks around it; or write a little gratitude list; or write a poem that you surround with images or colours that you associate with the day, etc.
The Family Journal: Whether with family or friends, challenge yourselves to find materials during the day that can be used to make a collage. Gather your treasures, exchange them, create a page each or work together to make a collective page. You might also contribute an image to each others’ individual collages. Have fun! Your pages will remind you of your holiday and shared moments.