DIY: Notebook Cover

It was on my bucket list to make my own journal cover.

I looked up YouTube for help to get me started/motivated/inspired. It did the trick.

I made a journal cover straight away and loved it.

It’s a bit crooked and bumpy for my first go and some excess glue came out, but I’m happy with this as my first attempt.

Definitely plan to make more with my artwork and pictures of my favourite book and movie covers on the front. The Neverending Story is one of my favourites. Looking forward to doing a Lord of the Rings set. Plus Labyrinth and The Wizard of Oz. And for books I want to do People Might Hear You, Blue Like Jazz, and Bird by Bird.

One day I hope I can give them away as gifts and maybe even sell them.

Next on the bucket list is to make my own journal from scratch.

I have a little dream to design a stationery line one day. I LOVE stationery!

Here’s the video that helped me make my journal cover:

What movie or book cover would you want on a journal?

Do you ever doubt yourself as a writer?

Every so often I doubt my ability to write well and my ability to write something that matters. I don’t know if the doubt ever goes away completely but the words of a fellow writer helped me find a way to push through it.

A friend gave me a book called Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. In the last chapter, Weaver shares the doubts she had about writing the book. She questioned if she was qualified to write it.

The words of a fellow writer told her she was with some advice that went something like this: “Above all, the narrator must be a struggler. We need to see the person grow through the story. We need to see them change.”

These words resonated with me and showed me why I’m writing my book: beach mission changed me and I want to write about how it changed me.

When I have moments of writer’s doubt and wonder – Will this book even mean anything? Will it be any good? Should I write it? – I remember to keep writing because I’m a struggler who has been changed and this book matters to me.

The writer’s advice guides everything I write. I’m a struggler who has been changed, is being changed, and will be changed and records the journey through the written word.

How do you overcome writer’s doubt?

Do you like buying books in bulk or one at a time?

I went through a phase where I bought a book a week.

Then I stopped that because I realised there were a lot of books on my shelf that I hadn’t read yet. I thought I wouldn’t buy another book until I read all the books on my shelf.

Good in theory but sometimes there’s a book I really want to read so I’ll buy it.

Now, I live in a place where there aren’t any bookshops (something I hope to change one day), so I can’t buy a book any time I want. Whenever I go back home I love going to bookshops and op-shops to stock up on books.

I brought back twelve books from my most recent trip. I love that I got eight of them from op-shops, all for about $10.

Op-shop books

So far I’ve read seven of these twelve. Currently reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and next on the list is Life of Pi.

Love ticking off my reading list and reading more widely.

I definitely love getting books in bulk, but I love books so much that one at a time is fun too. All that matters is getting a book I’m excited to read.

Do you love buying books in bulk or do you prefer one at a time?

Art note-taking

Loving art notes. Best way to take notes I’ve found so far.

I never read my notes so I stopped taking notes and sometimes I’d tune out. But with these art notes, I become an active listener, and listening and taking notes is fun.

I’m excited to keep flicking through them and it’s easier to find and remember things with this visual note-taking style.

I’ve got an A4 visual diary and black Paper Mate pen to collect all my art sermon notes. So fun!

Do you like taking notes?

My favourite writing place

I love living five minutes from ten beaches. I have to admit one of the reasons I moved here four years ago was so I could write at the beach.

I spent the day at one of my favourite beaches today. The water was beautiful!

Smooth and clear. Aqua and sparkling. Made me so happy. I could see the coral reef and fish. The photos do not do the colour of the water justice but I love how the sparkles look like diamonds.

I love sitting on a rock with my iPod, notebook, pen, and a stunning view.

Where’s your favourite place to write?

Books that changed my life and how

While not all of these are my favourite books, here’s my list of 10 books that changed my life in some way.

In no particular order:

1. On Writing by Stephen King

This book showed me the importance of reading not just for enjoyment but to learn as a writer. It got me reading a lot more and reading more widely across genres. It got me reading books I normally wouldn’t read and I’m loving being exposed to different writing styles.

2. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

This book helps me in my writerly struggles. It reminds me it’s okay to struggle, that lots of writers struggle with simply putting words on a page. When I doubt myself as a writer, Anne reminds me to write because only I can write my perspectives and experiences.

3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

This book encouraged me to write and create for the sake of writing and creating without worrying about how people will respond. My job is simply to write and create and put it out into the world, not to control people’s responses. And that’s okay because no matter how people respond it doesn’t affect my worth. This book encourages me to push through fear and reminds me to simply put myself in the arena and give it my best; that’s all I can do.

4. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

It got me through an identity crisis and helped me heal through depression and anxiety.

5. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

It showed me about my own personality and nature which helped me to embrace who I am and what I love. I’m a goal-setter, list-maker, and love to have a project.

6. I Thought it was Just Me but it Isn’t by Brene Brown

This was the book that stopped me from feeling shame and seeing myself as a bad person. It showed me that shame stops me from being able to change behaviours I feel ashamed about, because a bad person can only do bad things. So now I forbid myself from feeling shame and only feel guilt instead. This changes my behaviour because instead of seeing myself as a bad person, I’m just a person who did a bad thing.

7. The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer

This book got me donating to charity every month ever since 2014. I’d wanted to donate for a long time but didn’t know where to start. This book showed me it was better to donate anywhere than do nothing at all. So each year month I donated at least $50 a month to a different charity, cause, or person. Each year I increase the amount by a $1 and I hope to keep doing this until I’m giving at least half my income.

8. The Last Lecture by Randy Pauch

A gem of a book that shows me how I want to live and write: with kindness, respect, originality, and following my dreams. It’s full of insights I love and inspires me to write a book like this one day with all the insights I’ve learnt from life that I want to pass on to help others in their own lives.

9. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

It felt like it was written to me. I connected so much with this book and it’s the book that influences me as a writer the most. It’s largely the reason I’m a life writer and it shows me I want to write vulnerably, openly, and honestly.

10. The Belgariad by David Eddings

This series of five books is the only fiction entry on my list but I include them because these books made me fall in love with writing. The awe and wonder and magic these books made me feel made me appreciate the power of written word and they’re a big reason why I wanted to be a writer. I want to work with the magic of words.

What’s on your list of life-changing books?

New art supplies for new creative projects

I’m excited to get started with some new creative projects with this mini stationery haul.

I bought two Visual Art Diaries, two black ballpoint pens, and a black archival fineliner.

I’m going to use one visual diary as an art journal. I’m thinking of creating one page and coming up with a system that works for me to help me reflect, rest, and record. I probably won’t be that disciplined yet, but if it goes well, I might love doing it every day.

I’m thinking of incorporating quotes that speak to me, things I’ve accomplished, things that inspire me, and things I’m grateful, pictures I love, notes about any dreams I had during the night, notes about the day, random thoughts and ideas, and doodles.

I’m going to use the other visual diary as an art sermon journal. One page per sermon, writing down notes and drawing to help me listen, remember, and hopefully apply what I learn.

I bought the black ballpoint pens to do the writing and drawing in these visual diaries. I find them easier to work with than fineliners for rapid note-taking and quick work like this because fineliners are more delicate and smudge more easily.

I also bought an archival fineliner. I only learnt about these a few days ago and I’m excited to try it out. It’s waterproof so I’ll be able to use it with my gelatos and waterbrush pen as well as my Prismacolors.

Future art supplies on my to-buy list are:

  • Tombow dual brush pens
  • Micron pens
  • Steadtler pens
  • Stabilo pens
  • Bullet journal
  • Leuchtturm1917 notebook

What art supplies do you want to buy?

The difference a laptop can make to writing

Buying this laptop was one of the best decisions I made.

I ummed and ahhed over it for a month since I already had a laptop. But when I saw this beautiful, small aqua laptop with the beautiful white keys, I fell in love with it.

It’s me. Blue is my favourite colour and aesthetics means a lot to me, so when I found this laptop that makes me happy, I thought it was perfect for me.

For a month I couldn’t stop thinking about it and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to get it. As a writer, it was worth the money because every time I looked at it it would inspire me to write and every time I wrote I would enjoy it. The small size also meant I could take it to cafes to write which is something I love to do. I could also take it on the plane because I travel home every year for Christmas.

Still, I felt guilty about spending money on something I didn’t need. When I received a gift of money, I took it as a sign and went for it. I’m so glad I did. I don’t normally splurge, but this splurge was so worth it.

It really does make me want to write and makes me enjoy writing so much. The whole experience matters and having this beautiful writing tool that I love makes writing such a joy.

I call it my writing laptop because it is only for one writing project at a time. One book project.

It’s only small and doesn’t have much memory space but that’s perfect because it means the only files on it are files for a specific book project. That means no distractions. No internet, no other Word documents, just the book to focus on.

My other laptop is for everything else, so this laptop system works really well. I had no idea that the laptop I worked with made such a difference. I had three other laptops before this one, all big, chunky, black things that I just saw as practical machines. This aqua laptop is a work of art.

Now that I know how much the writing tools matter, I’m going to keep investing in laptops I love for writing projects.

Do you have a laptop that you love or a writing system that works for you?

Have you read these life-changing books?

These are the type of books I want to read most. Books that change my thoughts and behaviour. Books that challenge me and teach me. Books that give me a new perspective.

I found this article with a list of life-changing books: 10 Life-changing books that will stay with you forever.

Here are the 10 books:

  1. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho – Read
  2. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron – On my bookshelf
  3. Life of Pi by Yann Martel – On my bookshelf
  4. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
  5. The History of Love by Nicole Kraus
  6. Conversations with God by Neil Donald Walsch
  7. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – On my reading list
  8. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – On my reading list
  9. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder – Read
  10. The Red Tent by Anita Diaant

The article includes 10 more life-changing books:

  1.  The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  2. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  3. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
  4. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
  5. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
  6. Better by Atul Gawande
  7. 1984 by George Orwell – Read
  8. Food Rules by Michael Pollan
  9. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Read
  10. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Some of them I’ve read, some are on my bookshelves next in line to be read, some are on my reading list that I’m yet to buy, and the others might have to be added.

Which books have you read and which ones would you recommend?

Art sermon notes

I discovered this idea from artist Alana Bosgra. She calls them Sermon Scribbles.

I gave it a go for the first time yesterday. We have a morning and evening service, and we also had a discipleship meeting that day, so I got three chances to experiment.

I love this idea. It helps me to listen, pay attention, remember, and do what I love: create.

I’m going to get an art diary and continue playing around with this idea. I don’t usually look back at my notes but I think this style would make it fun to look back at my notes. Plus I get to grow in my artistry skills. Win, win all round!

Have you tried this note-taking style?