Feb 182018
 

It’s no secret that I love words. Back when I was in third grade, we had to present an oral report about a book that described the job we wanted to have as an adult. I don’t recall the book I found for this purpose, but I told my classmates that I wanted to be an author. To date, I haven’t written a book, but I have published poetry, some newspaper articles and hundreds of blog posts. I even sell handmade books and journals in my Etsy shop, MisterPenQuin—simply to spread the joy of the written word—but also because I cannot fill enough of them in a lifetime just by myself!

I collect interesting words, books, magazines, and lists of articles, stories and posts I want to read in the same manner a philatelist collects stamps, or a numismatist collects coins. I’m a bibliophile who also collects writing journals the way a child collects rocks and lines them up on a shelf to admire.

Let’s talk about the joy of journal-writing. Perhaps you have admired the covers of journals in bookstores or online, but you cannot imagine how you would ever fill all those blank pages. Well, I have a solution for you: jog over to the Apple store and download a free app called Paper Blanks Journal Prompts, and you’ll be off to the races. If you use an Android device, go to Google Play to download the same app.

Paper Blanks is a company that specializes in producing the most beautiful writing journals I have ever seen. I own a few of them and treasure each one. The company uses acid-free, sustainable forest paper and 100% recycled binder boards for its products. It also supports organizations that advocate for social and environmental responsibility. “At the heart of everything we create,” they say, “is our belief that art matters.”

When you open the Paper Blanks Journal Prompts app, you’ll be greeted with a writing prompt that you can change simply by tapping New Prompt. If it’s a prompt out of which you think you’ll get lots of mileage, you can also save it as a favorite.

Under Settings, you can select one, multiple or all nine categories of prompts, depending on your interests.

When you click on More at the bottom of the screen, choose Journal Resources to get to Endpaper, the Paper Blanks blog.

What caught my attention, when I did this, was a post titled 28 New Journaling Prompts for Letter Writing Month.

It turns out that February is International Correspondence Writing Month, also known as InCoWriMo, dedicated to handwritten letters. The idea is to write one letter a day to someone and to mail it off. We are already past the halfway mark of February, so I wish I would have known about InCoWriMo earlier, but as the folks at this site say, you’re welcome to join in at any point—although you might have a little makeup writing to do! Even if you don’t officially join the venture this year, you can definitely use one of your blank journals to write letters to your future self, to the adult version of your child, or simply use letter-writing prompts to explore journal writing.

As you read this post, you may wonder if I was paid to write a testimonial for Paper Blanks, and the answer is no. I simply love their journals, as well as the concept of journal-writing. I encourage you to handwrite in a journal, but if you prefer to use a keyboard, by all means do so. People journal for all kinds of reasons—to improve their writing, to analyze what they have read, to reflect on events, experiences or feelings, to keep track of ideas or dreams, to reduce stress, to record favorite quotations or Bible verses, to express gratitude, to stay organized . . . and the list goes on.

The Internet is filled with many journal-writing prompts you can explore. Below are a few to get you started:

If you like to journal, how do you use your journal? Feel free to comment below.

© 2018 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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Oct 202013
 

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, beginning with the first week this month, when I updated last’s year training podcast for Students for a Creative Iowa, the non-profit that administrates Iowa’s Destination Imagination program. I re-wrote parts of the training, then recorded and uploaded a series of audio recordings to the Web site.  Then I began to prepare for tomorrow’s education conference, where I’ll be co-presenting with another Board member the connection between creative problem solving, STEM (science, technology, engineeering and mathematics), 21st century skills and collaboration. My husband will be sitting at an exhibitor’s booth at the same conference, so when I’m not  presenting, I’ll be in the same place.

Two craft shows are now behind me, with one more to go. The second one took place yesterday, and the first one was a week earlier. To be honest, I don’t have much to report about either one. They weren’t remarkable, sales-wise, and neither of the organizers put a lot of effort into advertising. There’s a lesson there to be learned, so that’s all I will say for now! If nothing else, preparing for these two shows certainly did enable me to generate a lot of product for Mister PenQuin! I spent the better part of today photographing and listing new items.

Meanwhile, I’ve allowed a bundle of unfinished posts for this Web site to languish in files on my computer. One of them is this one, where I’d like to draw your attention to some really beautiful books, journals and journal covers made of fiber, fabric and thread—or a combination of  these materials. I’d love to add books or journals of this sort to my Mister PenQuin at some point, but in the meantime am content to admire others’ efforts. I hope you do, too. Feel free to click on any of these photos to see the items in more detail.

[sh-etsy-treasury treasury=”NjIyMjQyNHwyNzI0OTI5MjE0″ size=”large” columns=”4″ display=”complete”]

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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