It’s often early – very early. My internal alarm clock seems to prefer a 5:30 a.m. setting, even on weekends. First things first: coffee. And then, when I am faithful, I settle in for a round of Morning Pages – or perhaps you would recognize it as “journaling“. Yes, writing. Yes, with an actual pen on actual paper. And yes, ambiance is a vital part of my process.
I have a favorite place – my sofa, in a room with large east-facing windows, beautiful plants, and my art on the walls. This sofa has held me through many tortured writings, let me lie in the arms of its plush pillows as I’ve cried, held my friends as they’ve told me of their dreams and sins, and supported me through heart-ache and long nights watching Hell’s Kitchen and Hugh Dillon (Yum!). It is my place of refuge. It is the place where, when I am done torturing myself with insecurities and self-doubts, I can launch in to my day of creative living…or try to.
As well as the ambiance of the room, I have a few other requisite items that add to the depth and holiness of intensive journaling. No, it’s not (necessarily) zen music and candles (although that never hurts). These items are practical; but while they are at it, they must also be beautiful, preferably artistic and hand made, hopefully purchased locally, or from an independent business. My journaling must haves are: coffee mug, journal (with handmade paper when life is really good!), and writing instruments.
Here are a few of my favorites, with links to the creators’ websites – which I hope you will visit and be inspired to shop. You’ll find I am routinely promoting indy-artisans. They are, after all, my favorite kind of people!
You’ll find this mug at Patricia Paquin’s Etsy shop for $37 (until it’s sold!). I have a wide range of coffee mugs – this is not one I own – YET! I like her sassy style.
Journals – this is where I would go broke if discipline didn’t reign me in!
This beautiful journal is one I purchased from WeeBindery (also an Etsy shop).
While exploring other journal makers for this article, I found a few places to refer to you that literally made my heart sing! Look at these!
Louise, of Bibliographica, an Auckland, New Zealand artisan, made this unique journal that is creative and sexy and on the very top of my wish list!
Leather journals are not my only recommendations! I often refer artisans whom I just simply adore them, and anything they make. PaperUlixis is one of my favorites for mini-journals. Her work is sweet and sassy, smart and fun, pretty and functional … and that pretty much describes Uli.
I can personally recommend the craftsmanship and excellent shopping experience of buying hand-crafted pens from Jen’s Pens (as I own several and love them!).
And now – for the part of intensive journaling that actually matters the most to me (well, with the possible exception of the coffee) – handmade paper. Who doesn’t love the feel of a pen or pencil scratching across the hills and valleys of gentle lumps in the paper? Who doesn’t watch ink spread just a little as the fiber soaks it in like a thirsty desert plain engulfing spring rain? Who doesn’t hesitate, for just a moment, before they scar their sacred words across the clean cloth of a pristine page? Who doesn’t crave journaling just so they can jot their private lunacy on hand made papers? Come on. I know it is not just me!
Cate Robbins is a brilliant artist and teacher (visit her website and class schedule). She also makes some of the finest, most creative collages I’ve ever seen. I love, love, love her work! Check out this journal (and she has lots more at Robbinsart on Etsy).
She paints, she teaches, she collages, she makes journals, she has family and a farm, and STILL, she finds the time and energy to make paper! She is one of my local heroes, for sure!
Wouldn’t you just love to write your Morning Pages or Dear Diary secrets on this paper? Wouldn’t it be fun to scribble across the colored dots? Be careful – your mood and energy might just increase enough to bounce you right off the sofa … and in to your day of Creative Living!