Monthly Archives: January 2015

Tips on creating through the rough times

30th January 2015

Tips on creating through the rough times.

Rough times. Whether through internal reasons (such as ill health) or external reasons (events that happen to you), rough times visits us far more often than any of us would ever like. The question is, when the rough times hit, do you stop being creative? Do you feel defeated and now have to wait until you are better, for the muse to show up again?

tips for creating through the rough times. http://journaling

I believe it’s extremely important for us to keep on creating even when life has taken a wrong turn somewhere and the muse has gone on a long-term holiday in Hawaii without you. Us creative people need to create. It’s like us humans need to breath. If we are not creating, we are not living.

Obviously, during rough times, you can’t go on like you did before. You can’t do the things you were doing because you are suffering. You are hurting and you need time to heal. But there is something you can do.

When you create through the rough times, the act of creating something keeps you going. It gives you a sense of having achieved something that day, even if it was the only thing you did. It also provides you with quiet, reflective time, but one where the pain you are going through is not the focus for once. I also believe that creating something truly helps with the healing process.

Tips on Creating Through the Rough Times

The main thing to remember when you are going through the rough times is to make the process of creating as easy as possible for you. This will probably mean doing something totally different from a creative project you normally do. You have to figure out what fits how you are right now,  being kind and understanding towards yourself.

Pick an easy project to do. Don’t try to learn a new skill right at this moment. Instead, go back to your old and well loved craft, something you can do with almost your eyes closed. Something you don’t really have to think about how to do it. For me, that is crochet.

Pick a small project or a large project with small steps. Don’t pick a large project that requires you to spend hours everyday. Pick a project that you can pick up and put down as you feel able to do.

Pick an easy pattern. Projects with complex pattern where you need to follow row by row with a highlighter and counters are not the best when you are not feeling your best. Instead, choose patterns that are easy to remember and uses repetitive patterns.

Pick something with minimum design decision required. Making designs decisions all the time can become really exhausting when you are not 100%. Either pick a project with all the colours chosen for you, or pick a set of colours and then go for a random ordering of colours!

Pick bright happy colours. Just being around bright happy colours helps you feel better. If you can choose materials that are so very soft to the touch, even better.

Tips on creating through the rough times.

How can you not feel better playing with these gorgeous colours?

An Example Project

Tips on creating through the rough times.

For me, I go through regular rough times with my depression. It shows up at my door step at an alarming regularity – in January and July every year. They can last anywhere from few weeks to three months. Three months is actually a good length of time to make a crochet blanket.

When I feel the depression coming, I head over to a yarn store and buy a whole bunch of bright yarns. Then I make a crochet blanket. They always have randomness to the colour order so I don’t have to think about what colour to use next. I pick designs that have very simple pattern, either a granny square or a row-by-row of repetitive stitches.

In the evenings, or even during the day if I don’t feel up to doing anything else, I will sit there and crochet away, a stitch at a time. Sometimes I even just stay in bed and crochet, surrounded by countless balls of yarn. I get a few rows done. I can say to myself ‘at least I did three rows on the blanket today. I did something today.’ I know that by the time the blanket is done, my depression will have lightened.

tips for creating through the rough times. http://journaling

Every day, I show up. I do the work I can do, and that is all that you can ask yourself right now. This won’t last forever, the pain will go, and you will heal. For now you are at least making something beautiful into this world.

Journaling Cards in your Notebook

21st January 2015

Using journaling cards in your journaling notebooks.

Project Life is a hugely popular journaling method, it’s all over Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram. It uses album sheets with pockets designed to slot in gorgeous pre-made journaling cards and your photos for an easy way to record your life. It’s scrapbooking made easy.

I don’t do Project Life. I resist getting into Project Life as it felt like a lot of money to do what I already do, record my life. However, I’ve always loved the little journaling cards people use. They are so cute and bright. Even though I had no idea what to do with them, I hankered for them for ages.

When I came across these amazing free printable journaling cards by Miss Tiina, I decided to merge journaling cards into my own journal. I wasn’t sure how using a journaling card would work but they were free so I had nothing to lose. I printed some off and stuck them into my journal.

Using journaling cards in your journaling notebooks.

The journaling cards have brighten up my pages instantly! I used 3mm washi tapes (my favourite) to border some of the cards that didn’t have a defined edge, but other than that, it was a simple cut out and glue in job. Since they are on printer paper rather than cards, they add no bulk or awkward bumps in your notebook.

I spread the ‘cards’ through out the journal. The amount of pages I get through in the day meant that these journaling card pages showed up once a day, which was really nice. The cards I like in particular are the ones that go along the line of ‘love this moment’ and ‘I love this day because…’ They’ve helped me record the small details of the day that I wouldn’t have written down without them. I’m so grateful that I had these cards in my journal to remind me to jot the precious moments down.

Using journaling cards in your journaling notebooks.


There are hundreds of free printable journaling cards out there. Here are some resources to get you started on your journaling-cards-in-a-journal fun:

Hope you give journaling cards a try in your journal. Don’t forget to share your page, I’m really looking forward to seeing bright and happy pages.

My 2015 Notebook Set Up

9th January 2015

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


Happy New Year! How are you? I hope your new year has kicked off with a big bang already. The great thing about new starts is that it’s the best excuse to review and tinker with your journaling/planner set up. I have been tinkering with mine, and thought I’d share with you my set up for 2015.

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner

These are my notebooks for 2015. Right top to bottom, left to right, they are my journaling notebook, my reference notebook, diary, travel scrapbook and a pocket-book. They get used all at the same time and I swap them out for new ones as each one get used up.

Journaling Notebook


My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


This is my main notebook. Almost everything goes in here first. My Morning Pages, tasks, journaling prompt answers, notes, ideas, everything. I am currently using a softcover Moleskine ruled large notebook, but I do also use a ruled Leuchtturms too.  I go through one of these notebooks about every two weeks.

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


At the front of the notebook, I keep my ‘Topic du Jour’ lists. These are lists topics numbered from 1 to 31. On each day you write about the topic that is on date’s number. I first read about this practice three months ago in ‘Journaling to the Self’ by Kathleen Adams. I’ve been hooked on it ever since.

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


Each day, after my Morning Pages, I create a dashboard for myself for that day. I write the Topic du Jour topics for that day, then write out a list of tasks. This page then get used as a holding page for tasks for the rest of the day. I’ll jot down new tasks I think up here just to have somewhere to hold them, even if it’s a task I have no intention of doing today. This is a bit like the bullet journaling method.

Reference Notebook

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


As I go through my journaling notebook every two weeks, I needed somewhere to put things that I need for longer than a month or two. So this year, I am trying what I am calling the reference book. It’s a hardback large Moleskine ruled notebook (decorated with washi tapes). I’m throwing in here anything that I want for more than a month or so.

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner

For example, here are two of the eight ‘vision card’ pages I made with in Jamie Ridler’s course on vision cards for 2015. They are a really nice visual pop in my journal has my journals tend to be full of words and no pictures.

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


I also keep a lot of lists, like the list of books I’m currently working through (above) and words I really like and would like to use more often in my writing (below).My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner



My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


I always start the year with a diary. I never last three months with them, but I still feel I need one at the start of the year. I’ve kept it simple this year with just a small pocket diary (it’s an Opini diary from Japan). We’ll see how long I last with it this year.

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


In the diary I am keeping track of daily tasks I want to get done for my work. Since there was spaces to track 5 things, I am keeping note of days I’ve done Morning Pages, Topic du Jour, timed writing, blog post and answering my own daily prompts.

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner

I’m really at a loss as to what to do with the weekly pages. My days are more task focused than appointments and the tasks are taken care of in my journaling notebook. I may end up cutting out the tracking pages, sticking it in to the reference notebook and getting rid of the diary.

Travel Scrapbook

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


I always carry a thinner notebook when I travel. I stick (almost) every single piece of loose paper I encounter of my journey. I don’t do anything pretty or time consuming. Simply stick tickets, maps, leaflets, business cards and anything else that will fit in the notebook with washi tapes, and date the page.

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


It’s a method of travel journaling that works well for me and can keep up with even during intense periods of traveling. It’s also a much neater way to keep these bits of paper than keeping them all loose in a bag or a folder.

Pocket Book

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


I always have a notebook and a pen with me in my handbag (this one is a plain pocket size Leuchtturm). I mostly use this for jotting down shopping lists, journaling at a pinch when I don’t have a larger notebook and my favourite thing – stamping pages with whatever stamps I come across in my travels. Below is a world map stamp I found in a Muji store in Tokyo.

My notebook journaling set up  #journaling #notebook #planner


So what are your notebook/journaling set up for this year? How is it working for you so far? Are you thinking of tweaking anything already?

January Journaling Prompts

1st January 2015

January Journal Prompt. Daily Journaling Prompt for Creative Happiness.

  1. Have you given yourself the permission to dream? If not, do so right now. Then make a big dream list. Fantasize!
  2. What project are you resisting from going deeply into? Why?
  3. What childhood dream have you told yourself you’re too grown up for now? How can you bring it back into your life?
  4. What part of your wild heart can you listen to today?
  5. What’s so sacred to you that they are totally non-negotiable?
  6. List 20 things that represent ‘wildness’ to you.
  7. What in your life are you ‘playing small’?
  8. Who do you seek approval from? Are they capable of coping with such responsibility?
  9. What do you want to have to feel more grounded?
  10. What one regular and unfulfilling task can you delegate or let go of today?
  11. In order to create beauty, I need…
  12. Make a list of 100 things you love to do, big and small.
  13. What part of your life feels really vibrant right now? How can you expand it?
  14. What do you want to make better today?
  15. What would your very own sanctuary look like? What would you have in it?
  16. What did you do yesterday that really moved things forward?
  17. Write all the things you associate with the word ’empowered’.
  18. What do you want to gain today?
  19. What is sacred to you?
  20. When was the last time you learnt something really hard to do? What did you gain from the experience?
  21. What permission do you need to give yourself today?
  22. If you had a box labelled ‘DESIRE’, what would you put in it?
  23. What creative projects are starting to bloom inside of you? What can you do to acknowledge them?
  24. Make a list of 100 things you want to stop worrying about.
  25. List 5 things you absolutely believe in.
  26. This week, my soul is yearning for some…
  27. What or who do you need to bring in to your life for more harmony?
  28. What things about you surprises people most often?
  29. Tell me all the things you have pioneered.
  30. Who keeps stealing your chances of having a happy day?
  31. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Before we start…

1st January 2015

Tips before we start the Daily Journaling Prompt

Later today, the first prompt for the Daily Journaling Prompt for Creative Happiness will be making its appearance. Before we get started with the whole year of journaling, here are some things I would love for you to spend a short while now to consider for a more fulfilling time.

Set Intention

At some point during your first day of journaling, take a moment to sit down and take a deep breath. Take another breath. Now start to think about what your intention for doing these prompts. Is it to get more clarity with your creative work? Is it to get you journaling more often? Maybe to make more time and space for your creative interests? Write down why you want to give this a go.

Being clear on why you are doing something will make it much easier to figure out how and when to do them. Once you know what your intention for this journaling is, have a think about how often will be enough for you. Do you want to do one a week? One a month? Or even just pop in when you feel a certain way? Don’t think that just because a new prompt will come out every day, doesn’t mean you have to journal every day or do all of them.

Be Gentle

The main thing I wish for everyone taking part is that you remember to be gentle with yourself. If there’s a mantra for this series, it’s ‘remember to be gentle with yourself.’ Don’t worry, the prompts nor I will cry if you don’t pop in for weeks or months at a time. They are there for when you need them.

If you find yourself saying ‘oh no, I haven’t done the prompts in ages, I’ve not kept up with what I set out to do’, just stop. Take a deep breath and remind yourself to be kind to you. These prompts should not become another reason to beat yourself up about. Guilt is the biggest block to creativity and we need to walk pass them rather than through them.

Get Connected

Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr – on social media, you can tag your photos with the hashtag #dailyjournaling2015 so we can all come and find your photos of you journaling. I am excited to see your notebooks getting filled with your words.

It’s going to be an exciting year for us. I can feel it. Let’s get started.