We caught up with planner expert Helen, who blogs online as Journal With Purpose, to find out all about this creative and mindful way of journalling
How would you describe the growing trend for journals and planners?
I think it’s really caught the imagination of people who are looking for an occasional escape from the digital world. There are plenty of apps that you can use to organise your tasks and document your life, but there is something so much more satisfying about committing your thoughts and plans to paper.
In an increasingly fast-paced world, it’s easy to let each day pass by, without really taking the time to appreciate all the good things that have happened. Keeping a journal encourages you to pause, reflect on the day and make some notes that you will love looking back through in the future. There are also many proven benefits for mental health that come from keeping a journal. It’s a safe place to express yourself and empty the thoughts from your head.
Could you tell us how you got into journaling?
I’ve always had somewhat of an obsession for stationery, notebooks and writing things down. Whilst on holiday, I would always take the time to write about my days and stick in leaflets, ticket stubs and photos. I found this such a lovely way to document my travels that I was really keen to find a way of incorporating it into my daily life. This led to me trying out lots of different types of journals and finding a way to squeeze in a little time for journaling every day.
How do you incorporate hand lettering into your journals?
Adding hand lettering to my journals is a great way to add some visual interest to my pages. Sometimes I just want some key words to stand out clearly on my page and on other occasions I like to letter a quote that really expresses my mood for the day. If some lyrics from a favourite song are stuck in my head, then I like to letter those into my journal too.
In my planner/bullet journal, I always use hand lettering to write out my days of the week and create headings. They break up the look of the page, and the different colours of pens and font styles really help to make my journal my own.
Do you find journaling relaxing?
Absolutely. Every evening I take a few moments to remove myself from digital distractions and sit down with my journal. The pure act of thinking about what I want to document and how I want to create my journal entry is a great act in mindfulness.
I always try to focus on the positive parts of my day and celebrate the little things in life. Keeping a journal has been really beneficial to my outlook on life. It also encourages me to look out for all the good things during the day, as I know I will be writing about them in the evening.
Is there a journaling community, either near you or online that you are part of?
There is a huge journaling community online, across all of the social media platforms. There are people of all ages and backgrounds, who regularly take photos of their journal pages to share with others. It’s a welcoming and warm group of people sharing the ups and downs of daily life in their own individual style. You will also find journal/planner meet-ups all across the UK, which is a great way to find people local to you.
Do we need any special tools or materials to get started?
When you first start, any notebook and pen will do. The most important part initially is to get into the habit of taking a little time out of your day to write or create in your journal.
As you progress, it’s very likely you will want to incorporate new stationery and craft supplies to help take your journaling to the next level. However, I always recommend starting out simple and building up your journaling tools as you identify the style of journaling that suits you best. There are so many amazing products out there; once your find your style you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to adding to your supplies.
What would your favourite three tools be that you just couldn’t work without?
Staedtler pigment liner: great for writing, sketching and it’s waterproof.
Tombow brush pens: so many great colours to choose from.
Washi tape: a fantastic way to quickly add colour and design to your journal pages.
For us beginners, how would you start setting up a brand-new journal?
The most important thing is to think about what you want to get from keeping a journal. Do you want to mainly write, or do you love the idea of a creative journal? How much time can you give to documenting in your journal? Will your journal mainly stay at home, or will you be taking it out and about with you? Answering these questions will really help you to decide on the size and style of journal that will suit you best.
Where do you go to for your inspiration?
I love reading books about journaling and there is also lots of inspiration on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook. If you search journaling on any of these platforms you will see a huge variety of journaling pages and techniques and I always come away with new ideas.
In terms of inspiration for my daily journaling itself, this all comes from daily life. It might be the change in seasons, something I see on my morning dog walk, conversations with others, something I’ve seen on TV, a new project I’m working on or even a family meal.
What is the next step for your own journaling journey?
I always love to try out new creative techniques in my journal. I’m keen to learn new font styles, try out different mixed-media techniques and improve my sketching. Completing a whole journal and looking back through it, to see your change in style and read back through your journal entries, is always so satisfying.
I already share my journal photos and videos online and I’ve recently become a teacher on Skillshare, meaning that I have a new way to help inspire others to start a journal. I also have my first-ever product range coming out very soon. I’m so passionate about the benefits of keeping a journal that I will always be on the lookout for new ways to reach a wider audience.
Helen shares her love and passion for journaling in every issue of Simply Lettering magazine. Don’t miss out, subscribe today!
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