Welcome to HerdingTheDragon.com!

I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Journal proliferation

I think I've spent my whole life swinging slowly between "everything must be in one book" and "I need 80 books for 80 different topics", and I'm currently on the second half of that swing again! 

For a long time, I was putting everything into one book because I kept getting overwhelmed with trying to keep up a whole stack of themed notebooks. Stuff like that happens to you when you're stressed and depressed, and I guess the urge to put it all back into separate books is a sign that my mental health is looking up*, so yay me! Maybe I'll add "the urge to make dozens of new themed notebooks" to my list of Ways To Chart My Brain's Doings...

But regardless of the squishy mass that powers me and it's shifting chemicals, there's this truth: when I was putting everything into one book, I was filling books Very Quickly. And when I was filling books Very Quickly, I was losing stuff I wanted to keep track of, because if it was more than a month since I made the list or the page or whatever, it was in a previous notebook and once the full notebook was filed**, I'd forget about it***. I tried keeping indexes, but they're fiddly and boring, so I never seem to keep up. I tried putting pages I needed to refer back to on separate sheets, and then I'd just move them to the new notebook as I started it...but then I wound up with this huge stack of stuff moving into a new notebook even before there was any of it's own stuff in it, and pages keep getting messed up or lost.

It was awkward.

So now, I'm back to making separate notebooks for things that I go back to a lot. The current list:
  • The Book of Days covers all my random morning and evening ritual stuff, and the things I track each day, like pain levels and how I feel. This is stuff I don't much refer back to, but when something goes wrong, it's nice to have a record of it to try to figure out causes. Plus, rituals are grounding and I tend to fly away.
  • The Book of Weeks and Months covers all the typical Bullet Journal stuff that I set up at the beginning of the month and the week, and coordinates with my separate planner and calendar. At the end of the month, loose pages get put into a folder; I think next year, I'll just put the loose stuff into the Book with everything else.
  • The Book of Ongoing Stuff is the other BuJo stuff that isn't dependent on weeks or months--yearly things, and things that I don't know how long they'll take, like reading challenges, long-term goals, habit-building, lists of things to remember, stuff like that. Collections. Classic Bujo stuff.
  • I have a notebook for Books I've Read and one for Movies I've Watched, both of which are ongoing.
  • I have mini notebooks for Creativity (which is also my Studio Journal and writing tracker), Inspiration, one for my word of the year, Meaning, one for notes on freelancing, and one in my purse for things I need to know when I'm at the store.
  • I have my current Writer's Notebook, and folders for each ongoing project which are basically the same thing, just for specific works (and at a bigger size). Also, folders or notebooks for other non-writing specific projects.
  • And I have my Life Handbook full of stuff to help me live the life I want to live. 
All together, they're a sort of self-built library of an ideal life, and also a sort of off-loading of my brain, so that I can have space for actually thinking, rather than trying to remember all the things I'm supposed to remember for a day or a week or a month, AND all the things I learn in all the topics I'm constantly studying. I have a handful of topics I always come back to, and now they have their own place so when I do come back to them, I don't have to dig up a journal from a year ago and try to find the one line of something I'm trying to recall.

One day, future archivists are either going to saint me for the amount of stuff they have to go through, or they're going to cry because there's so much. I don't know how long it'll last, or when I'll swing back to putting it all in one notebook for ease, but that's where I'm at now!

Do you guys have the issue of volume-of-stuff vs where-to-put-it? How do you handle it? If you have more than one notebook, what are they for? How has your journaling practice shifted and changed over the years? Let's talk in the comments, or come find me on twitter!

*It's hard to tell, from the inside, when my mental health is up or down sometimes...
**Filed = In a box under my bed or in storage, because space is limited and my shelves are not very sturdy...
***Memory issues are part of why I started journaling to begin with, ironically.

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