I have no recollection of who gave me my first journal or sketchbook but I have distinct memories of writing in it. I look back through them (there are many) sometimes and I filled the pages with drawings and writing. Not bad for a kindergartner. Ever since then journaling has been integral to my growth and development. Being a young person, I wasn’t always consistent with my writing, but I did always return to it.
The final reinforcement to make it a permanent part of my life occured in 8th grade English with Mr. Fuller. He asked us to write consistently in a black and white composition notebook (think Freedom Writers). Sometimes there may have been direction but what I remember distinctly is the freedom he gave us to write whatever we wanted. And boy did I write! It meant so much to me to have a space free from judgment. I would reread my entries when he handed them back totally anticipating the always positive and constructive comments from Mr. Fuller. I would eagerly scan the pages searching for his red scrawl.
After 8th grade I journaled endlessly and I still do. For years it was filled with doodles and poetry. Now it is often filled with reflection and all kinds of brainstorms. I would have lost loads of ideas if not for my trusty journal and pen laying by my bedside. I always get ideas just as I’m falling asleep. For a time I convinced myself I’d remember the big idea in the morning but I never did. Now I always turn on my bedside lamp and write it all out. I process lots of ideas during this time. Some seem like junk when I wake up. Some trigger new ideas but all of them are integral to my creative process.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How do you develop ideas? Is there a time of day that generates more ideas? What do you do to encourage your creative process?