On Keeping a Journal
How my journals helped me finish my book
A year ago this week, I received an offer from Avery Books to publish my graphic memoir, THE KEEPER. Later this week, I will submit my final edits on the manuscript, and my work on the inside of the book will be done. Done!
As I celebrate the anniversary and final deadline, I’ve been reflecting back on the year and all that went into making the book. I wrote and rewrote, drew and redrew, searched and researched, vised and revised, cried and recried. (Now I’m just making up words.)
I also kept a journal. I created the book digitally on my iPad, but I did a lot of process work on paper. Here’s a peek into my journals and how I used them:
The scribbly writing is my version of “morning pages” (from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way). I wasn’t writing for the future, to be read, recalled, or remembered. I was preparing for a day of working on the book, putting my morning thoughts, incoherent as they often were, into written language. Illegibly.
Words as wallpaper. Words as incantation.
My journals anchored me to the physical world when I felt lost in digital layers and files. The helped me see forward to deadlines but also helped me immerse myself in the present task. They helped me sort out what needed to go in and what could be cut from the manuscript. They allowed me to separate myself into the selves that needed to finish the book: coach, creator, list-maker, note-taker, experimenter, researcher, conjuror.
Each week I will share the work of someone who inspires me—and hopefully you too.
This week’s inspiration: Misty Mawn
As I looked back through my journals of the last year, from the cover to the b&w interior accent decorations, they all came from Misty Mawn, an artist I have adored for more than a decade. I’ve taken every one of her online mixed-media art classes over the years, and I love her art and spirit. For a short time she had a Patreon, and I subscribed and got some of her art in the mail that I glued into my journals. Here is one of those images that I have over my desk:
A great place to get a sense of her work is on Instagram.