Adventures in Bullet Journaling

A month ago, I created my own bullet journal. The cover is made from scrapbook paper. The pages are graph paper. My style is minimalist, but I did get a calligraphy set for Christmas, so who knows? Future bullet journals will definitely improve with time.

I wanted to write this blog post because I love journaling and I wanted to figure out a way to make bullet journaling my own. So far, I really love it because I can keep track of my exercise routine and writing progress. I also wanted to tell you that no bullet journal, or even a regular journal starts out as perfect as it looks on Pinterest. I keep looking for minimalist spreads because I don’t consider myself to be particularly artistic. Just look at this drawing I did:

 

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What I like so far about bullet journaling, though, is that I have a lot of freedom to really make it my own. My style is having one page for a weekly task list, followed by a weekly spread where I keep track of my moods, exercise progress, daily Bible verses, and my daily “gratitude” highlight. Finally, I have one page for things such as drawing, lists of books I’m reading, or full-page motivational quotes.

If you’re not someone who usually journals and you don’t like the idea of just writing everything out, I think bullet journaling can allow you a lot more creativity than you think. You don’t need a table of contents. You just need to make it your own.

The Necessity of Making Art

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One of the biggest influences in my life is Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I learned so much about what it meant to be creative from that book. The most important lesson being that art doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be yours. A singer/songwriter that I admire said that artists always take the pain they have and put it in their art so that they can share their pain with others.

And I think that’s the beauty of art. That it provides a way for us to the pain we experience and create something good out of something bad. 

I don’t think it’s any surprise to me that adult coloring books are the latest trend. I know that when I color, my energy starts focusing more on creating something rather than letting my thoughts go towards emotions like anger or anxiety or sadness. Sometimes, we can choose colors that express the things that we feel.

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But art isn’t just a matter of crayons and paper. The first time I experienced art therapy was indirectly, when I created this shield using oil pastels and a pencil:

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Sometimes, people can choose words to express their feelings. Some do so through writing stories. Others do it through poetry. I tend to express my emotions in a mix of both.

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Yet there is also another beautiful aspect about art. There’s something more to art than just an outlet for emotions. In the act of making art, we become creators. It isn’t just found in painters, drawers, and sculptors who can literally create a new thing using materials and tools. Fantasy and sci-fi writers create entire lands and universes in a process called “worldbuilding.” Mystery writers get into the minds of villains in the hopes of understanding evil. Romance writers explore the nature of love and how it manifests in two people. Dancers and actors become experts of their own bodies and show how beauty can exist through movement and gestures and expressions.

I always marvel at the concept that there are people who believe that the universe, this entire, beautiful, vast universe filled with stars and planets, came at random, out of nothing for no reason whatsoever. How can people look at the beauty of this world: the biodiversity of every animal and insect and plant, the intricate colorings of every single butterfly and flower and bird, and the colors painted in the sky and think that it’s nothing but cold hard scientific theories? Science is a part of our world, but can it explain the purpose of beauty? Even if you try to explain it with “the continuation of the species” it doesn’t explain why there is beauty in the vastness of space, in the various blues and greens and grays of the oceans, and the death and rebirths of the millions of stars in our galaxy. There is evidence of a Divine Artist because we see His art everywhere.

But honestly, I think the words of a saint can say the necessity of artists better than I can.

 

It's An Honor To Be Nominated!

My friend and recently published writer Mariella Hunt has nominated me for the Creative Blogger Award!

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There are some rules that come with the Creative Blogger Award, rules that need to be passed onto the bloggers I’ll tag at the end of the post.

  • Nominate 10-15 blogs and notify all nominees via their blogs/social accounts
  • Thank and post the link of the blog who nominated you
  • Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers
  • Pass these rules onto the nominees

Given that I talk about a lot of Catholic and fandom stuff on this blog already, I’m gonna tell you five things about me that relate to creativity.

1) I find inspiration from things I love. Like many people of my generation, my first taste in writing for a public forum came from fanfiction. I still write fanfiction now. The things I love such as Jane Austen, music, travelling, and Buffy inspire me to write poetry, fanfiction, or even my blog entries. If you want to find inspiration, start with what you love. And yes, I consider fanfiction to be creative.

2)I suck at describing things. I tend to write my fiction as a screenplay, with lots of dialogue. Too bad I don’t live in California! Here’s an example of my usual kind of writing from my fanfic “A Different Kind of Intervention.”

“That overly-gelled, brooding…” Buffy search for a word, but spat out, “jerk!”

“The word you’re looking for is poofter, pet,” a familiar British voice said. Buffy looked up and saw Spike. “I also called him Peaches. Or Liam, when I really wanted to wind him up.”

“Why are you here, Spike?”

“I’m part of this guide thing, luv,” he said. “Remember what I told you? About death being your art?”

“Yeah. You also said that you wanted the honor of killing me yourself.”

“Still do. Vampire nature and all that. But I’m not here to talk about that. You need to know some things about Angel.”

“Like what?”

“Just remember that I’m still the guide here. I’m not going to lie to you.”

Buffy sat down and folded her arms. “Fine. What do I need to know about Angel?”

“Angelus was a big influence in me becoming the man I am today. But he always had to do things a certain way. He acted really weird after eating that gypsy girl in Romania and I never saw him again until the Boxer Rebellion.”

“But he had his soul then…”

“Yeah and all he did was try and save some missionaries. Darla got to them, of course.”

“Wait a minute. He told me that the Powers called upon him to help the Slayer. He could’ve stopped you from killing the Slayer?”

Spike nodded. “Truth was he didn’t know what that loophole was until…”

“Too late,” Buffy said.

“Now let’s imagine for a second if Angel really loved football.*”

“Like the Super Bowl?”

“No no! What you Yanks call soccer. Bloody awful name, if you ask me.”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Continue.”

“Let’s imagine that Angel is wandering around some alley in Europe, eating rats, and he happens upon a scummy pub. On the telly, the boys in green are taking on Spain in the World Cup. Being Irish, old Angel boy, he holds back his breath as Hamilton passes across the middle. It’s blocked, but oh my God, Armstrong is there to put it in, Angel feels it’s all incredible, and POOF, he loses his soul and everyone in the pub is dead before you can say Bob’s your uncle.”

Buffy couldn’t help but laugh.

 

But I’ve been making efforts to improve.

3) My poetry comes from emotional experiences. My poetry has been my best outlet for expressing how I feel when my emotions overwhelm me. Each poem carries a memory or a story that can’t be made into a novel.

4) I like knitting. I don’t knit to the point that it has become an addiction, but I do like knitting every now and then. The best thing I’ve ever made so far was a bag! 

5) I prefer tea to coffee. I love the process of making tea more than drinking it. I feel like the smell of tea helps me to keep focused.

I will nominate my fellow Patheos bloggers to tell me about their creativity and leave you with this poem.

The Nature of Being a Writer

It starts with a hunger for words
As children, we devour the written word
as if it was our daily bread
We read dictionaries and thesauri
try to use the complex words
in our everyday vocabulary

Then, at some point, we get that spark
We go from devouring stories
to wanting to write our own
Whether it’s inspired by a broken heart
or a poorly written book that sells well,
we start taking our lives
and putting them down on paper

Characters start living inside our heads
In the most sane form of schizophrenia possible
We act like thieves and spies
stealing from the greats and making it our own
gathering information most people don’t care about
Putting it all together like a jumbled collage
like a patchwork quilt made of odds and ends
In the form of poetry or prose

The hardest part of being a writer
is coming out of the shells we hide inside
and showing our creations to the world
We become exposed like naked statues
Subjecting ourselves to be ridiculed
As our work gets torn apart

In spite of the critiques, we pick up the pieces
Putting everything back to make something new
Along the way, people find our creations
Like a song, our words resonate in them
Slowly, the words grow from a quiet hum
into a roar that’s louder than thunder
The world joins in the chorus of the song
And for a moment, we become part of the infinite.