Monday, July 31, 2006

An ordinary day ...

Throughout history, journals have recorded the most ordinary of days, as they were experienced by the most ordinary of people. And this, is the single most intriguing part of reading a journal don't you think? What secrets were held by this woman as nanny in this medieval household? How was she treated by her master and mistress? Did she love the child? Was she happy? The list goes on ... for ordinary people have the most extroidinary lives. And every writer knows this. And most books are based on a story of an ordinary person ... having an ordinary day ... it just sounds extroidinary when it is recorded.

So in our journals, it is important to include the ordinary details ... like something about our clothes ... describing fabrics and today's cost. Or transport methods and how the public transport system works. Or perhaps something about your local area ... For one day, down the track, this ordinary information will be the most interesting ...

Won't it feel strange when your grandkids read your journal and say "Grandama ... you complained about the price of petrol when it was only $1.49 a litre"! Just like we are amazed at the thought of a pint of milk for 0.4c! But there was a time when that was the case ... and we know this because people bothered to record some ordinary facts and events ...

The ordinary and common connect us.

The C Channels

The C Channel's list of the best audio, video and photo editing tools, The C Channel, is building a multi-interest website that brings together 3 distinct sites - Travel,Shopping and Weddings. Each one features articles, destination profiles, vendor profiles and a whole load of new tools to attract a global audience. This includes the still young Travel Forum and the Wedding Agenda, a promising tool that will be completely free and is due out in late 2006. The C Channel network has also recently introduced The C Directories, 5 user-friendly directories of websites, blogs, online retailers and other sites categorized under thousands of differnet subjects. Only a month old, it attracts new registrations every day of eBusinesses eager to become part of The C Channel Network. For example, in our Tools for webmasters directory we feature some of the best multimedia directories, telling you where to find everything you need for your audio, video and photo editing work, including Multimedia downloads, Audio & Video editing,converter and burning software,Audio & Video Software tools, the powerful and user-friendly MP3 Ripper , the best tool to Burn DVD Movies , Photo Editor , Digital Video Editor , Music Software and two of the handiest directories for Multimedia and Graphics.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Welcome to Students with Journal Asessments

A big welcome to any students who have been following this site or Journal Writing Tips (now retired!) to help with assignments and journal writing.

I receive a lot of enquiry emails from students about journals, and as semester 2 is starting for students here in Australia this month I thought it was timely to do a weekly spot on "Journalling for Asessment" for a few weeks. To my own Uni students popping by I hope you enjoy the rest of the blog too and that we have a great semester together.

Today's topic is really simple to get us started.

Know what the lecturer wants. Read the instructions.

As a University lecturer there is nothing worse than marking a really well written paper (or journal) ... that then doesn't answer the question at hand. So look at your written instructions. Make sure you follow them to a tee ... and ask if you need more assistance.

If there are three points to cover ... then cover all three points. If you add anything extra, make sure it can be included under any required headings.

As to the style ... if the lecturer makes it clear that certain styles need to be followed ... do so. And make sure you still reference like you would any assignment UNLESS you are told otherwise.

As for format ... once again follow any instructions as to having it typed, types of paper/margins etc. No point losing presentation marks just because you didn't read the more mundane stuff on the asessment outline.

I know this is a quick & basic entry... but next week we will look at Journals and Analysis ... the other bit most students seem to struggle with...

Have a good semester!

Happy Anniversary

My parents have been married for 61 years today. I don't know about you ... but I think that deserves a round of applause!

Happy Anniversary Mum and Dad.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Gratitude Journal (Friday 28 July)

Seems the concept of a gratitude journal is hitting the spot with some people .... here is a sample from my own gratitude journal from last night to give you more of an idea (thanks for asking H.Y.).

This is a good example of an ordinary day with no huge events or serendipity to record ... and word for word from my gratitude journal. Sometimes I wax lyrical a bit more ... but I was tired by the time I got to bed ...
  1. Catching up with Clare for a girlie chat and stationery shopping.
  2. Catching up with Jade and sorting the business cards with her ...
  3. Not having to cook dinner tonight (again this week).
  4. Getting lecture & teaching material caught up for Uni next week.
  5. The winter rains finally staying and making a difference.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Gratitude Journal

Silly me! I forget sometimes... I mentioned gratitude journals yesterday and have been inundated with emails about what I meant ... sorry! And thanks for asking ...

Sarah Ban Breathnach introduced me to the concept in her book Simple Abundance ... it is about having an open heart and mind to see the great things in your day (and thus your life). At the end of each day you write five things you are truly grateful for. Often just the little things in life ... but some days there is some big stuff too.

Now this sounds like
a simple exercise. But it is really quite powerful. When you first start this daily habit you find yourself looking for things you might want to record as your day unfolds. And then, looking for the great things & the serendipity in your life, becomes a habit after a while. What a great new habit to have huh?

Don't expect radical changes over night. I suspect it is really about rescripting the messages in your brain, to eventually be more positive as a habit. So it doesn't happen overnight.

Be warned ... there are some days it is hard to find five things. You will still have those days. I have one entry when I was really sick that I actually listed "Breathing" as one of my items to be grateful for! Other days? You wish you could write more than five. But this is also an exercise in being disciplined. So you must find five ... and only five. And they must all be positive things you feel grateful for ...

For those of you who aren't in to the the whole book-journal thing (I still find that hard to believe but there you go!) ... try the on-line version here ------>
On line gratitude journal

Getting Sacked For Blogging!

This isn't just a heading to catch the attention of bloggers ok? This is for real. One of the higher standard personal diary bloggers in this little blogging community got the sack this week for blogging.

Now let's get this straight.

He didn't blog in work time.

He didn't bag his company.

He didn't put down his co-workers.

He didn't write anonymously and try to hide who he was.

He recorded some of the events linked to his work ... like anyone in any diary or journal or blog would do.

But it was never negative.

In fact he promoted the community service of donating blood and his company in a positive way ... and regular readers knew this position was something this blogger was passionate about.

Is this a warning for other bloggers (some of whom I read who say really baaaaaad stuff about where they work?)? Or is this just "anti free-speech" gone mad? How is this any different than people's private journals being read by the establishement in dictator states? How is this any different than some blogs being banned in India? China? Dammit this guy lives in the USA ...

I'm still trying to work out what it all means to be honest. Still in shock.

Anyway ... he has a lovely funny way about writing about the ordinary things in life ... So go visit Mr Fab on Pointless Drivel (otherwise known as Mango Boy here) ... And Mr Fab .... I am really sorry that you had this damned awful experience ...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

What to do with a finished journal?

Well thanks to Steve's comments from yesterday I am a thinkin' again! What do you do with your finished journals?

Like Steve, I once went through a few and typed them all up ... but that was part of a research project. I take my hat off to you Steve as I would never go through that process again. It was really hard work. I used to struggle with how to type up some parts of it ... like diagrams and things. I suppose these days you could just scan them in though?

I have done many different things with old journals. Sadly. And sometimes regretfully I actually threw lots out. We moved around a lot as a kid and there was always the need to cull belongings and thus any writings from my childhood have disappeared.

In my early adult years I lived in crazy share houses ... and I was a total paranoid freak and had ritual burning of old journals. Almost a crazed event with another friend who also did the same thing. I remember lighting a fire in the back yard of our Shenton Park rental house that had people ccoming and going at all times of the night and day. We were both absolutely sure our lives were so interesting that people were reading our journals.

More recently ... I have kept some. Many in fact. I have made a point of keeping all my 'Gratitude Journals' since I started writing those so regularly. But I make frequent culling decisions about everything else. And one ... my best friend keeps. We wrote it together over a few years ... but neither of us really want it out in public ... and neither of us wants to get rid of it ... Now those were really good years!!!
So what do you do with your old journals???

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Saying Goodbye

I never actually finish a journal. And I just realised that finishing the book is as awful an experience as facing the new blank pages of a new one ...

This might seem a little strange to those of you who follow this blog and KNOW what a journalling addict I am. I mean who else would do research on journal writing and blogging but an absolute addict.

I decide I am at the end of a journal when I am about four or five pages out from the end. So none of my journals are actually full (or you could say none of them are completed). I don't sign off with any emotional goodbyes. I don't wax lyrical and muse about the closing of a chapter or anything like that. I actually just get on with it. Decide to stop. And then worry about starting the new one (after all there are those damn new blank pages to worry about again).

So I am retiring my latest baby ... my red silk journal. I am so going to miss her string that I open and close her with. It has become a routine I enjoy ... so I thought I might just share the last entry that I wrote just for fun this time ...
"This page has been left blank intentionally!"

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

So where do you write?

I have heard it directly from people that some write their journal in the loo, the car, the park, the bed, in cafes, in class, the garage (true!). In the New Century Notebook Project I was lucky enough to get some really great replies from people about their journal writing habits ... and where people wrote was really important to some people.

Most writers also choose where they write ... and find places that inspire different kinds of writing.
I thought I might raise the topic after reading Paul Gavin's blog entry this week ... where he talks about sitting on a dock of a local lake to write. I mean how classic is that dream for many writers!
"Where you write often depends on the type of journal you have. "

For people writing dream journals, morning pages and night time reviews the bedroom (and usually in bed!) is the place of choice ... But if you have a journal you carry with you everywhere you might write in a 100 different places ...

How does where you write ... affect what you write? Think about that. For bloggers? If you write your blog at work and home and on your laptop in different places, does it change what you write?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Weekly Journal Challenge July 24 2006

I'm following up on a promise to regular readers of Journal Writing Tips with a weekly idea, challenge, tip for journal writers.

Journals are reflections on the lives we lead. Somehow, the process of writing allows us an opportunity to think back and digest the day ... or even to predict the day we want to have if we are writing in the morning.

Journallers choose a wide variety of topics to write about. Most people seem to just write whatever is at the top of their heads ... but I was surprised in the New Century Notebook Project, how many people wrote for one or two specific points to digest. For example the dream journal or the mothering journal.

However another way many journal writers reflect is by writing fiction in their journal.
I've done this myself where I have a couple of characters I am working on for a story (or my 'great Australian novel' I have yet to finish!). Reflecting on your life through fiction is fun. At the very least it gives you a chance to totally control a life!

So for this week ... try some fiction writing in your journal and see how it reflects (or doesn't!) what your week looks like.

Have some fun ...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

No Books In The Nursing Home

I have possibly made some assumptions here ...
like I assume that people who keep a journal are probably book readers. I am possibly wrong. I suspect that mad addicted bloggers possibly don't read as much as they used to because they have a new addiction. I am possibly wrong.

But there is something I care about more right now. And that is my own love of books ... and I mean love. Like if I have to decide between chocolate and books, books will win.
Now that proves this is a serious issue.

A friend of my folks has had to move to a nursing home to live out his days. I can't begin to imagine what it is like to reduce your possessions and life to the state of being able to have a meaningful existence in a nursing home bedroom 4m x 2m. So I considered just one little part of that move ... and a part that is really hard on this guy at the moment ...

What do you do with your books?

This has been munching around in my head for a couple of weeks. Then Mum emailed me and said that this friend asked her to ask me what to do with his amazing life time collection (even a heap of First editions!) ... "She's a freelance writer ... ask her what she would do ...". That brought it to the forground for me. It's a real issue for this guy .... it will possibly be a real issue for me one day (long time away I hope!) ... bibliophiles face a similar dilema everytime they run out of bookcase space ... but to go down to half a dozen books?

All I can think is that the books somehow, and someway have to make someone else happy ... and hopefully go to a good home ... Take away my chocolate first and then maybe there will be more room for books ...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Remembering Claire Kelly

You might wonder why an empty bucket can bring tears to my eyes ...
well it's not my bucket you see. It belonged to Claire, who was part of our family as my son's girlfriend. Her last Christmas was spent with us at a beachside town called Denmark in Western Australia.

The bucket still has the sand from the Southern Ocean in it ... and goodness knows we were totally covered in sand in every bodily crevice on Boxing Day when we went down there.

The wind was blowing so strong, but we were all determined to try out the beachy toys we had just gotten from Santa ... I love the smell inside the bucket, as it reminds me of the wind and the salt and the sea ...

Most of all it reminds me of the pixie girl who sat on the beach, wind tearing around her, determined to dig sand and make sandcastles ... while wearing a sombrero. You need to know Claire was tiny - short and sweet - and I swear she nearly blew half way to Antartica wearing that sombrero - just like the blow up boat we also took to the beach that day. Although she was 18, it was like watching a really determined two year old with her Christmas present ...

'Damn that hat Claire', I said to her at every given opportunity on our Christmas holiday together.

'Damn that Christmas, Pamela', Claire would retort ... and we would just grin and laugh.

It was only a year ago today that you died Claire ... but it feels like the longest damn year I ever had.

Whatever you do ... don't forget the love your 'new family' had for you. Goodness knows you won girl ... you got the 'number one girlfriend' place you always wanted! Competitive little pixie ... we miss you heaps.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Scooter is Here!

I have my first renter ...

For regular readers you will know that I only started blogging for the research experience ... and have quickly become an addict!

Part of the experience is to rent and have renters ... so welcome aboard brave Scooter!

Check out his blog which covers nearly every theme ever found on blogs!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tristram Shandy

I just got back from our local theatre Luna Leederville, where they show a good mix of arthouse and non-mainstream movies. It was my 'artists date' for the week. Kind of handy being just a stroll up the road and having tickets at only $6.50 on Wednesdays!

It was a great choice of creative stimulation let me tell you! Check it out here on the Mad Man film site - Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
I was a little disappointed when I got home and checked to see if it was in my 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die book ... and it wasn't in there!

The myth around the book is that film makers and other creative types have always claimed it was too difficult a book to make in to a film, despite the comedy and attraction of the story ... the book has romance, action, war, romantic period, family love as a theme ... all the basic attractants for a commercial film ... but it is also confusing and deep with a million and one different branches to follow ... there is a copy of the book on the internet here ...The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

So did the film tell the story?
No way!

So we still don't know if the book can be made in to a film or not ...

But it really isn't the question of the day ... this is a film really worth seeing for those of us in the arts that are trying to make our work accessible to the public ... a really funny film too ... have an artist's date!

Student Journals

Any college or Uni students out there with (good or bad) experiences of journal writing for assignments?
I would love to hear from you.

The second semester of Uni starts in just over a week and I am lecturing in a unit with one assignment that is a reflective journal ... and I am trying to be a nice lecturer (!) and write up some handy notes for them for this assignment ...

And ... well ... you all know I love to write about, think about, learn about, chat about and blog about journal writing!

Email (you can find the address in my personal profile) or comments on the blog are all cool!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Max-A-Million's Inaugural Entry

Finally she let me have my say! I swear it wasn't until people told her how cute I looked on this site that she thought that I might have an audience. Notice how no one said how cute she looks ...ha ha. She's ok for a people, but there are times her ego gets in the way of us having a good time!

The day started with the usual being kicked out to the backyard to wander the garden and relieve myself. Nothing abnormal to report. The aviary was noisy ... damn budgies are getting louder by the day. Ever since the babies were born the whole aviary has gone to cr*p.

She made it obvious we were walking up to the P.O. again today. Gees I hate that walk. I like the bit where I get to smell and pee on the verges on our street, but then after that there's that stupid noisy road to deal with and she won't let me just take off and run where I want. Oh no.
"We have to wait for that silly beep beep beep noise before we cross the road."
Anyway, the people from our little neck of the woods were their usual friendly selves. I have fun looking all cute ... then when they bend down to pat me I just ignore them ... it's a cool game to get people to do stuff!!!

She's been writing at that damn computer again all day. No visitors. Rather boring really. Oh Dad did pop home at lunchtime and gave me some of his sandwhich. He's always an easy target for scraps though. No challenge in that.

I did my usual thing ... lying in the sun, dealing with Pickles the cat and keeping HIM in order, and I'm just looking forward to her getting off her butt and playing with me really ...

So the life of a puppy superstar really isn't all that spectacular people ... so I'll let her do the entries from here on in ... unless there are enough fans wanting me to return!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Variety Adds Spice To Your Journal (or Blog)

OK good people ... try something new this week ...

For those of you who were regular readers on Journal Writing Tips or Blog Writing Tips ... here is proof that I will share writing ideas on my New Century Notebook blog ... a new weekly spot now christened Variety and Spice!

For a week ... or a day ... or even just one teeny tiny post or page in your journal ... take the perspective of your pet for the day. What would they say? How would they see the world? What might their perception be about the things that you regularly write about ....???

Get those creative juices flowing ... and immortalise your pet!

(This pic is Max-A-Million by the way ... same pup in my profile pic! She loves being infamous - I suspect it has gone to her head!)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The New Century Notebook Project is still alive and well and running ....

So there is still time for more of you who have ever written a blog, kept a diary or journal, or even tried and failed .... to have your say. The New Century Notebook Project is about recording the opinions and ideas of people who write journals or blogs ... even people who scrapbook their lives or record it in visual diaries, photo blogs and video diaries ...

How do you take part?
Just check out the survey at the link to your right ... or email me on for a copy and I will send one to you to fill out ... as much or as little as you like ...

Go on ... use up five seconds of your fame here!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Picture Yourself

Journals don't have to be full of words. So many people who have taken part in the New Century Notebook Project have writen to me about drawing, pasting in pictures or tokens from their day.

A journal doesn't even have to be in a book.

So many techniques can be created from just the thought of recording how you feel. Do what suits you!

I can't draw for peanuts ... but I was pretty pleased recently with my feng shui journal board ... and I find it gives me both support, focus and a sense of where I am going with my writing ... You could just as easily do this in your journal regularly ... It makes a change from using words.

Try something new this weekend people!

This is just a small section of the whole board ... but you get the idea ...

This Week's Artist's Date ... the slippery creative slope ...

The elusive Artist's Date ... Those of you who have been through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way or Vein of Gold will be as familiar with Artist's Dates as writing those elusive morning pages.

I did The Artist's Way many years ago now and still have emotional scars from the week you have to give up reading! Apart from that ... I have also taken in to my daily life a love of the Artist's Date and the habit of the morning pages.

The Artist's Date is something I haven't done as a regular part of my life ... until more recently when I went for my sea change.

This week's 'date' is inspired by the many photo blogs on the internet. I love reading the blogs where people share their drawings or photos - especially those from around their local area. So this week it was time for me to actually learn how to use our digital camera after having had it for ages .... And the result is some really ordinary photos of my area ...

And when I look at these beach shots and think that this is the middle of winter ... I think to myself why would anyone live anywhere else? ... (So to my Canadian family reading this ... this is why I call Australia home!).

All these shots are from either City Beach or North Cottesloe Beach Western Australia ... on a sunny winter's day ...not bad for a beginner ...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Journal Writer? Time to Splurge

I've got it! I've got it!

I have worked out a way to have another excuse to buy a new blank journal to write in (believe me with the collection I have, I need as many excuses as one could come up with!) ...

Journallers need to get together to declare an International "Buy A New Journal" Day.

Anyway -even without that. Don't you think you might enjoy a new journal? If you usually buy a spiral bound one, try a cloth binding. If you usually cover an old exercise book with wrapping paper, why not buy a visual diary from your local stationery store ... basically ... try something different to what you would normally buy.

And enjoy the experience of buying it. You can deal with the blank page nerves later!

Thank you for your patience!

Hey there! Thanks for popping by during my transition to a new integrated blog! And even more thanks to those email pals who have sent me the old "best wishes" kind of email! I hate change as much as the next person but always feel stimulated by it too.

For those I used to have links to ... yes the links will be back ... but ... please just leave me a comment or email to say you want to continue a link on here (and reminding me of your address coz I forgot to save them all! Silly me!)

The spots are sitting there ready to be filled!


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How It All Works!

I am so sorry to cause such a fuss.
As regular readers know, I have had a recent sea change. The sea change has been to make a really brave move to become a full time writer (with some workshops, freelance projects and lecturing thrown in the mix!). It has meant a series of streamlining projects in my life...

Try being my partner or kids at the moment as all our activities, household systems, chore rosters, and communication methods are all being revamped, decluttered and streamlined. I mean *I* think this kind of thing is fun!

How and what I write needs to go through the same streamlniing process. Once again regular readers will know that New Century Notebook was first written as a way for me to learn about blogging ... my usual M.O. is if I research something I want to do waht I can to experience it. And thus this blog was born ... and I have decided it will stay too!

Then I got addicted. (Yeah I'm looking straight at YOU ... you are addicted to blogging, journal writing or chocloate or something too aren't you?).

This led to three more blogs. Then I had to set up a business web site Delivering Your Vision. All needed maintaining ... and ... I needed to have time to write the stuff that pays the bills too!

So .... for regular readers ... this blog will evolve - with thanks to your feedback. For readers of Blog Writing Tips or Journal Writing Tips ... this blog will include at least a weekly tip. For Blog of Lists readers ... I will make sure there is a weekly list too. HOWEVER if anyone is interested in taking over any of these blogs they are free to make a bid to d so (no money will exhange hands ... I just wanna know who you are!). For an addicted blogger, BLog Writing Tips is regularly in the top 70 of Top Blog Sites!

Long term I am hoping to have the New Century Notebook Blog attached to my web page too ... but that is another story ... unless someone wants to help me by designing a really fun template!!!!

Changing In Public

I love it when bloggers I read regularly make a change to their blog ... and make that change in public ...
You know the drift ... swearing, cheering and all other associated behaviorus get recorded on their blog.

"Well having just finished my business web page, I am not going to do a heap of work here ... but I do think a change in look will be a good thing to go with my change in style."
So watch this space as I get my act together again (or not!).

And I beg your patience as I rejuvenate the blog and rid myself of blogging burnout ... a change is as good as a holiday and all that stuff people say to you ....

The Blogging Experience

It seems like a long time ago that I started this blog "just to experience the blogging process and how it differed to journalling". I have had such an intriguing time ... setting up multiple blogs, meeting some really interesting bloggers (and others) and as with anything, the experience has helped me learn so much more about blogging than I would have if I just interviewed some bloggers for the book ...
"Bloggers are dedicated, focussed, (sometimes crazy!), sharing people ... across all cultures, genders, ageas and backgrounds ..."

Like any project though there comes a time when some things must come to an end ... and the "Blogging to practice blogging" part of my research is now done ... I am still really happy to get surveys back from bloggers and journal writers about their journal and blog writing experiences though. I can't get enough of those.

This blog will change a little ... it will be about journal writing, blogging, techniques and tips ,,, but also include sillly musings of mine ... all on one blog ... It will gradually evolve into the New Century Notebook of a writer ... ME. Let's see how that goes ... and I am sure my clients will be pleased as it means I will be MUCH better focussed on their projects!!!!

What do you think?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Just Ask! Then Think. Hopefully Act.

There is a new web page 'Your Question', that is trying it's best to make a difference ...

It claims activism ... and sustainability and all good community involvement and community development principles ...

You can ask world shattering (or 'world improving') questions ... and while you aren't necessarily going to get answers or inspire discussion, you might provoke someone in to action.

"Just reading some of the questions did get me thinking ..."

Give it a go .... ask a question. It can't hurt - and it might even make you think, and that will make some small difference.