Looking for answers to life's questions

Notebooks

Happy Fall everyone. I’m so ready for it.  Time for a change. Agreed?

Cathy at nanacathy posted about her notebooks recently. That led to an online discussion when I said mine were not so pretty, mostly utilitarian. I have more notebooks in my house than dishes. She challenged me to show them. Since my children insisted they not be left for the fire to burn,  I had many in one location; the floor of the car. Do you know how heavy years of journals are?

A box of large journals and a couple of small notebooks

Some years writing was sporadic, others more consistent. I told my daughter they should just be shredded and forgotten. After all, my journals were full of frustrations about my behavior and everyone else’s in my life. When I looked back at my writing, I realized that I often complained about the same thing.  Then I realized it was finally time to make changes and the journals were for planning a new attitude. They helped me see my patterns and come up with ways to change those patterns.

I’m a person with little proper sense of time. Not like the kind where you are late for everything. I will never be late. It’s rude to think someone’s time is less valuable than your own. If you ask me when something happened in my life, I often can’t tell you. I have to look it up. Even if it was last week. Time is fluid for me so keeping it on paper helps ground me.

Cathy also keeps a daily planner. I had stopped doing that when I got a smart phone. It remembered and reminded me of everything. My grocery list went to my phone because I always lost my paper list in the store. That still holds true. When I decided to go back to see when I’d last had a haircut or a doctor’s appointment, everything but major holidays were GONE!

Now I keep a small daily planner and Cathy gave me new ways to use it. I’m making a brief note of anything I might need to remember later. It’s quicker than looking back through the journal like the day our city caught fire and we had to evacuate and another note when we were able to finally come home. It’s working out quite well and the planner takes less room to store.

Not much going on.

I have a separate small journal that is used nightly, no matter what to write what I am most grateful for that day. Just one line on a page to focus on what is really the blessing in my day. I can expound on that in the nightly dump journal which is only one page long.

Newest gratitude journal

I am still doing morning pages though sometimes it’s only one side of a notebook page. Other times it will be all three pages as I work through the days challenges and give them some order. Then I wander out for a cuppa and watch those plans go right in the bucket. It gives me something to laugh about at night.

 

Do you keep notebooks and are yours pretty or serviceable?

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open” ~ Natalie Goldberg

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Comments on: "Notebooks" (62)

  1. This post is so full of wisdom, Marlene. I am agog. I wish I’d been as wise as you to keep all my journals so I could read them and discover my behaviour patterns through my complaining. It was the complaining that lead me to shredding the journals – I was so embarrassed about my pettiness. But you took it a step further. Your humour is admirable too! Writing down your intentions and then forgetting them and then laughing about it at the end of the day. Also, what a great idea to finish the day with a nod to gratitude. Another lesson. Last, that fabulous Natalie Goldberg quote. I think I should write that out and put it above my desk. With gratitude, thank you for this post!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I too can be embarrassed by my pettiness in my journals but as I work through those feelings I could feel better. A journal is the place to feel completely free to say what’s truly on your mind. I’ve told my kids I pick on them there.
      I didn’t forget the intentions for the day. The day has a life of it’s own and sometimes says “nope” you are doing this instead. I’ve learned to go with the flow. It saves so much frustration. I have several of Natalie Goldberg’s books. Love her writing. Thank you so much for your kind words and for stopping by, Susanne.

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  2. I think you know how much I love journals, so of course I was salivating over your post, Marlene. Cathy was wise to suggest using your planner as a way to remember things. Although I have journals filled with books I’ve read, quotes I love, thoughts, etc., I use my day planner as a way to record events. Thankfully, I’ve saved decades worth of planners. They came in handy when I applied for my current job and had to go back further than I could ever remember to provide home addresses, job changes, etc. I’m so impressed with your morning pages! How nice to see the journal I sent. I remember when I saw it in the store, I immediately thought of you. Loved seeing the Suzy Q story idea…hint hint! Stay well. xo

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    • I had to make your address vanish from the journal but I keep it there in case it disappears elsewhere. I use it for writing ideas. Cathy has given me lots of new ideas and I’m grateful. Sure am glad in no longer in the looking for work stage though. 😉 It is incredible that I’m in year 3 of morning pages. Writing things down helps me focus on what’s most important. And I have the time to do them, usually. 😉

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  3. I keep design logs as I design, plan and execute carvings. It and photos are best way to track failure and success over time- because it’s not always apparent right away what’s brilliant, and what’s stupid, but seemed so smart last year. Ouch!
    Personal stuff is interesting. Some of the personal stuff is pretty interesting years later. I trained as an anthropologist and my memory for things I did in the field was pretty spot on. Those are the basis for the stories I wrote on Maine.
    You are much more dedicated than I am though – and organized! The quote on the cover of one of your journals is telling: its not new landscapes, but new eyes to view them with which works best.

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    • It’s one of my favorite quotes too, Lou. It’s from Marcel Proust. Mary Engelbreit loved it too and used it in her art. I have sewing logs of projects and other things but that will be for another post.
      I have memory issues from childhood stresses. Very little sticks in my brain so I’ve learned to write it or lose it. Being a Virgo makes me need organization and so does the stress of life. I’m not sure if it’s dedication or desperation but it continues. Would love to see how you keep your logs.
      Now that I’m home again and settling in, I’ll hopefully catch up again. Thanks for the visit, Lou.

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  4. I can’t stop collecting notebooks and journals…my latest is a dreamy book called Moon Lists…I love having a peek into someone’s world, thank you for sharing!

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  5. You’re very organized, Marlene! I have some notebooks but their purpose and uses are rather hit and miss. I love your gnome notebook! Maybe if I had one with a cute cover I’d be more apt to stick with it?

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    • I only “appear” organized, Becky. 😉 I have a lot of the hit and miss notebooks around too. They are everywhere and filled with everything. I was afraid to write in the pretty notebooks but finally gave in. I’ve missed a couple days of journaling and some days only half the page is written in. When I have company and when we evacuated, I would be so exhausted that writing just didn’t happen except for the gratitude journal. That one is a ‘no matter what’ journal. They have some really pretty journals that do make it more fun. Hope you give it a try.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I did exactly the same thing with my notebooks: worked out how to change. It’s still a work in progress. I like things I can drop in a purse like reporter notebooks or these lovely little 400 pagers that measure around 3 1/2 by 5″ closed. Some have lots of years in them when I don’t write a lot and others only have two. It’s good you saved them, but like you, I’m hoping I can get rid of mine before anyone else has a look.

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    • I try to keep paper things in my purse but they always turn into rubbish quickly. My house if filled with small notebooks of all varieties that I did not bother to photograph. There are a couple of others that deserve their own post and as soon as I collect my wits again, I’ll write about them. My daughter wants me to write my life story and the journals will help. But, I’m still thinking they’d make a good bonfire when no one is looking. 😉 They really are that personal. Thanks for joining the conversation, Lisa.

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      • There’s no doubt they’d help with writing up a life. I do check mine once in a while and I’m always startled at the year. I get it right within one or two, but never nail it.

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    • Oh you just reminded me of a little notebook I keep in my car, because sometimes that’s where the thought hits me and I need to write it down. Also, I can tear out a piece and leave a note for someone if needed. Having paper in the car comes in handy all the time. Probably like having one you can drop in your bag!

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  7. Marlene, every time you write I feel like you and I are cut from the same cloth. I have a plethora of notebooks, some so pretty I can’t begin to write in them yet and some I had when I was a teenager. Mostly rubbish and ventings, but more recently thoughts on self-improvement and important things to document.
    Last year I had the biggest success with listing to do’s, using an abridged bullet journal layout.
    I wish I could be more disciplined to keep it. It is a great way to be more productive and finish all tasks, even if they get carried over for some months.

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    • We could well be cut from the same cloth, Amanda. I could write a whole post on why I didn’t write for years. The pretty journals were the hardest to write in. I wanted something memorable in them instead of drivel. I can list my chores each morning and start out well. Then life happens with it’s own agenda and I’ve learned to go with it rather than beat my head against the wall. I have NOTHING from my early years. We kept NOTHING. Not until I married my second husband was there a possibility of keeping anything, and then things went completely the other way. Life has been all about learning and going with the flow. I’m glad you found a way to get your focus with the bullet journals though. I’m a huge list person and have always been. Thanks for joining the conversation. I love seeing how people are alike and different.

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      • I relate to wanting to write something of importance in the really pretty ones. I do that too! It is good that you kept nothing – having just written about accumulation of possessions and querying the need of them. Honestly, I should have tossed out those ones, and I intend to, as they are mostly, to use your words, drivel and documenting that I went to see Grandma or went to school. No depth really. But I plan to write something from them before I toss them. But will I get around to that?

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      • You’ve only just retired. You will get around to it. Do go through them carefully first.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Okay. ZI will. Thank you for the advice.

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  8. As you could imagine I love this post, and thanks for the link. Your journals are so very pretty and I am glad your children value them so much. I also enjoyed reading the comments and the discussion they threw up. I think it has made me realise what a valuable skill being able to write is, in one way or another we all seem to find that writing things down helps- imagine a time when the majority of people weren’t literate, thy must have had the same issues with family, work, health etc- I suppose they must just have talked more…

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    • I hope the link brought more traffic to your post. That is always the goal. I too am grateful for the ability to write things down. No one else in my family does that! Interesting. But I am also a talker. I will have a conversation with a tree if it’s swaying. I think we are about the exchange of ideas and information as well as self awareness and growth. I was surprised the kids thought they were important. There are many more but that’s another story. 😉 I don’t think people talked more long ago. They just worked too hard and kept their frustrations inside or sniped at each other a lot. You have given me many good ideas over the years I’ve read your blog. Glad I found you even though we are in different countries and I don’t knit. 😉 See you soon, Cathy. 😉

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  9. Hey Marlene! I do keep a journal/s. My morning journal gets used everyday, some of the others not as often. In fact, I just realized it’s been almost a year since I’ve done anything with either of my blogs – my online journals. I think we go through seasons in our writing. I’m trying to let mine be more raw, and less polished. Have a great rest of your week.

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    • I fully understand, Missy. I agree that everything has it’s time. I had all but given up blogging but I got a little lonely so this has helped keep me in contact with the human race. I was afraid I had nothing left to say either. My journals are a life saver in many ways. That’s where it gets raw. I hope you are hanging in there. It’s been a tough year all the way around.

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      • It has been a tough year. I’m grateful that we live close to our kids and grandkids. That’s been a lifesaver! They make me smile and laugh 😁

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  10. I’m so glad you are ready for autumn, over here we are so ready for SPRING!!!!!!!
    I kept a diary when I was 7 – the only thing I ever wrote in it was what my gran made for supper every day. Not exactly an auspicious beginning.

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    • Hmmm. Menus are a good list to keep. Especially if they are good. Many don’t feel the need to write in a journal. I just found it was a place to express my thoughts since no one else would listen. As a child, I would never have had the time or privacy to write anything. That came much later in life. I love spring too but it always means summer is coming. 😦 I’m not a fan of summer and all the outside work so autumn and winter mean I get to spend more time indoors doing more fun things. I don’t take heat well either but many people love it so we have summer for you to enjoy. Spring is another autumn to me. Not so extreme. Enjoy your spring! Hope you are getting lots of crafting done. Thanks for the visit, Jill.

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  11. You’ve raised journaling to an art form. I’m impressed by how thoughtfully you’re using it. I’ve never kept a journal. I do random scribbles on random pieces of paper. As a system, it doesn’t work very well.

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    • You have made me laugh here Liz. 😉 I started journaling when I married my second husband. That prolonged his life by MANY years. 😉 When I struggle with any thought, it goes on paper and I work it out. It was safe to keep a journal then because my last husband would never pick up anything with words in it so they were safe. My children are respectful of my privacy so they won’t read them till I’m gone. Boy will they get an eye full then. 😉 My journal got me out of a parking ticket once too so that taught me how valuable they can be. Scraps of paper end up with my grocery lists. In the ether’s. Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation.

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  12. There’s nothing wrong with serviceable notebooks, Marlene, I have many of those too. That doesn’t mean though that I don’t appreciate pretty ones – on the contrary: whenever I happen to come across a pretty journal that’s for sale I feel ridiculously happy! 😄 Yours look very lovely, especially the one with the unicorn. 😀
    And I’m in awe that you manage to write your morning pages each day – I tried that too for a while but then discovered that I prefer to write at night to recap my day. I haven’t done that in quite some time now so thank you for reminding me. 😉

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    • Thanks so much, Sarah. I agree about serviceable notebooks. That’s what I’m using for my nightly journal now. I was in a hurry to find something and didn’t want to hunt down something. The pretty notebooks appear when they should. I have the luxury of time for morning pages. I will write the night journal 99% of the time. I have to be dead tired not to do that like the night of the evacuation. I made some notes and let it go. Morning pages waffle as to how much time I have that day. Today was a one page list of to do’s. 😉 Got them all done. 😉 Tomorrow with rain coming in, more time. I have no job either to distract me. 😉 We all need a Unicorn in our lives. Hugs.

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  13. I am definitely a “write it down on paper” person, but I lack your organization and foresight. Imagine keeping a journal, and looking back years later to see a pattern. Wow! And, imagine writing one sentence at the end of every day. That is powerful. Marlene, all your years of journals have served you well and given you both purpose and reflection. I think that is really wonderful and very inspiring. I loved this post. Do you have a favorite of your daily sentences?

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    • My daily sentences are what I’m most grateful for that day. I like to pick out something that really stands out so I have to give the day careful thought. Someday’s it’s as simple as “I’m still breathing”. Other’s it’s “Beautiful, delicious rain. Every day has it’s special song so you have to listen all the way through it. Morning pages are a plan for the day and what I want from it. Nightly journal is where I DUMP everything so I sleep without ruminating about things. I track daily fitness goals, weather and lately, covid stats in our county. Anything memorable about the day. My last marriage created the demand for writing and I’ve been doing it ever since. I will probably do it until the pen no longer will stay in my hand. Blue for the night journal, Purple for morning pages. Both are now fountain pens. I love them. I have lots of time for writing since I don’t have a job to go to anymore. 😉 Thanks for the visit.

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  14. Loved this…. Journaling is something I have done for years..I started out perhaps when I was in my 40’s, when I was stressed, and had a melt down… nervous breakdown…. It began with following Louise Hays advise on affirmations.. and writing down emotions… it then became a daily log of thoughts and I am never without one on my side dressing table which I think you call a night stand..
    Many a poem or channelled piece of writing has been born within the pages of my journals Marlene, and mine are all stored in the bottom of my wardrobe… I flick through them from time to time, and realise I have come a long way on the emotional train since first starting them…

    As a child though I was always drawn to blank page notebooks and just loved having a lovely pen often a fine tipped one that flowed when you first put the words on an empty page…
    Allowing our thoughts to flow, are indeed therapeutic and healing as we allow out the words we have kept locked within…

    Sending love your way Marlene… Still not fully back in blog land… inching my way around until I feel inclined to be verbal…
    Lots of love sent your way dearest Friend… Take care of you…. ❤ 💖🙏

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    • Take all the time you need, Sue. This isn’t a job you get paid to do. It’s to help you. I also write when moved to do so. Obviously not very often. 😉 I started writing at the beginning of my second marriage for similar reasons. Prior there was never time nor opportunity to write or draw or anything creative. It has freed me to be myself instead of who others wanted me to be. I’m using fountain pens again to write these days but prior I wrote with what I could get my hands on. I think I found Louise Hay about the same time. Life has it’s own agenda. It’s my job to watch for the direction it wants me to go. Something tells me I’ll be living the gypsy life again soon. 😉 Thanks for visiting. Soon!

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      • I think we all maybe living the gypsy life…. and Love fountain pens…. ❤ Sending love….. enjoy your weekend…. ❤ I am visiting my sister before lockdowns stop us moving again… LOVE your way ❤

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    • What you wrote is lovely and relatable. And what validation to read back through old stuff and realize you’ve grown.

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  15. Marlene, your post resonates deeply with me. I have journaled basically all my life, though not consistently. My first journal was at age 7, and I do remember writing that my step-mother let me and my little brother watch the movie Jaws. It scared the livin’ daylights out of me and I had shark nightmares for years after that. Poor parental decision. I have tried to save all of the journals, but have moved so often I’m sure I’ve lost some. But I have the ridiculous and heartbreaking teenage journals, the embarrassing twenty-something journals. I had the same experience as you when reading them, and see that I said the same thing over and over – usually about some man or another I thought loved me. One thing that blows my mind is when I have written out a situation, clearly confused and I write that I don’t understand what’s happening or what to do next, but I’ve written it all out and it’s clear as day. But I was still blind to the truth. Just like Sue said above, I then realize I have grown so much, and I thank my lucky stars I am no longer that person.

    My journals then, are usually as serviceable as they get. Usually a spiral-bound notebook. On occasion someone will gift a pretty one to me, and I’ll fill it, then move on to the spiral notebooks again. My problem is the sheer volume of words that come out. I feel like your other readers in that I want special things for the pretty journals, but it never works because I get caught up in the emotion and every little important and unimportant thing emerges. Once I dated a man who worked on ships and would be gone for two weeks at a time. We shared a single journal and when we wanted to talk to the other, would write instead. We exchanged the journal every few weeks, and when you had it you could “talk” to the other, and also read the messages from earlier.

    My mother also kept journals, dozens of them, and she gifted them all to me. I read the very last one, that includes her last entry before she died, but it was so heartbreaking I never read the others. I should find those and read them now. I think I could do it. Mom always, always wrote the weather each day, and she could then compare each season to the others.

    Right now I’m keeping a Pandemic journal that I started the end of March. It occurred to me that my understanding of what was going on with COVID-19, and the way the world was changing, was happening fast and I was soon going to forget what it was like to be at the beginning. I keep that one on my computer, and I used to write every day, but I had no anticipation that in the end it would be a years-long ordeal. So I only write every few days now. I try to keep track of what I’m noticing that has changed in the world, that didn’t exist before the pandemic. Things like empty shelves in the cleaning aisles, masks hanging from rear-view mirrors, the evolution of using Zoom, asking people if they are comfortable with me coming to their house, etc. I include numbers of COVID cases and deaths, from the CDC for the nation, and from Oregon, and Tara’s county, and my county, and the county across the river, since I go there for groceries. Little did I know how much more would be pressed upon us this year, BLM and wildfires and murder hornets, which all compounded some really huge personal stuff for me this year like the wild success and traumas of the GoFundMe. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably not just my own personal life, but I’ll bet the drama is amped up for everyone around the world because all of us are receiving and creating such powerful energy. Anyway, wow, your post obviously struck a chord. Thank you, as always. I love you. ❤

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  16. I’m glad you got something you can use from this, Crystal. I would very much recommend going back to your mother’s journals starting at the beginning and watch her process. I have only been journaling since my last marriage. I never got a word in edgewise so I wrote. I have never been “heard” in any part of my life but I didn’t have the privacy or time to write anything prior to that. I found writing helpful in so many ways. So I continue. Like you, I record data each day. Weather, exercise, and now covid stats. Morning pages are to help open the flow of creativity and make some plan for the day. Keeping track of my sister’s health care situation there helps too. She will be here a lot in the coming week or weeks. Who knows. It’s the uncertainty of life that wears on me the most. I’m also recording my own journey to the end as well. Still looking for the funny in it. 😉 I stopped carrying the world some 10 years ago. Found out it wasn’t my job to interfere in other’s life path. Did that one hit me upside the head hard! Being a caregiver by nature and birth, that was the hardest lesson to learn. Not to be narcissistic and uncaring but to let others do their own work. I could write a book on that subject alone if I knew how. 😉 If you ever have a reason to come this way, my door will be open for you. It’s been a 3 ring circus lately (this whole month) but hopefully, that will all settle down very soon. Sending love and hugs. M

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    • Thank you for the invite. You did let me know this on your birthday, so I’ve been trying to work in a trip. Three-ring circus?! Oh dear. Hugs, you. School started, but my classes are only Tues and Thurs, and the GoFundMe is finally wrapping up, so my schedule should accommodate.

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  17. You’re very organized! I write things down on scraps of paper and then lose them. I’ve purchased pretty journals but I don’t like to write in them because then they don’t look quite as pretty… so I give them away as gifts. 🙂 Every year I purchase a day planner, plan my first week and then forget. Hopeless, can you tell? I never realized how disorganized I am until now. Thanks! Lol.

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    • My guess is your priorities are elsewhere. I’ve given away some of nicest journals as well thinking just what you do. Now I’m just using them. I have a lot less pulling on me so I can indulge in all the writing time. I have the luxury of time to indulge but I found the day planner (small) helped when it came to tracking old appointments. Now that we have no appointments anywhere, mine is languishing unused. ;( I’m a Virgo that requires organization but very often I find that I’ve not kept up well and things get away from me. Makes me a bit crazy. I didn’t have far to go there. Journals are often a great gift for that person you have no idea what to buy. Thanks for dropping by, Diana.

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  18. Oh my goodness, I absolutely LOVE journals. I wish I wrote in them more, but there is something about looking at a cute, lovely, charming paper that is just sitting there waiting to be used, so full of possibilities. Thank you for sharing………

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    • They can be pretty and I have a few of those but I’m a practical person so most of mine are meant to work hard. I make them earn their keep. 😉 There are notebooks everywhere in my house, even in my bed for middle of the night writing. That is where all the possibilities reside. Thanks for stopping by, Wendi.

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  19. Journals are indispensable! I have lots and lots (and dozens and hundreds I think now) of utilitarian journals (really notebooks) . I take them to the writing classes I teach and write stories from the prompts I give my students. I put a date on top of each page so I can remember when I wrote each story. They are like a journal of my writing life… and my life in general. I have a PILE of pretty journals that friends/family/other writers have given me over the years. PILES. I keep telling myself I’ll use one to write, but they’re so pretty! One of my students made me a journal in which she watercolored beautiful flowers on each page. How could I possibly write over that? I can’t and won’t! I also have a long thin gratitude journal that I try to write a sentence or two in every day – just as you do. Oh, and I have a day planner because otherwise I wouldn’t know where my head was, much less where I was supposed to be. Great post, Marlene. Keep on writing writing writing in your journals!! xo

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    • I’m with you, Pam. I couldn’t write over pretty art either. I try to write around it even when it’s mass produced. 😉 My son said I had more books with nothing in them than anyone he’s met. Not so many now as I’ve written in more of them. I think I read a book about the unexamined life. 😉 I’m glad I finally started using a planner again too. it does help. Glad to hear I’m not alone in the journal collections. Thanks so much for stopping by. You keep writing too. You are good and quite funny. My favorite kind of writing.

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  20. Just popped over from Cathy’s post about morning pages. I am working on that habit. Also a gratitude journal – I really want to focus on gratitude.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Juliann. I am an early morning person with plenty of time, usually to do morning pages. They do help with focus since we can find ourselves flitting from one thing to another. I also write a one page night time journal and I have a separate one line journal for my gratitude of the day. I do that no matter what else happens. Hope you found morning pages helpful. I’m going to start going through the Veins of Gold now that Cathy has brought it up. I think it will be a good fit given my age. 😉

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