I continue to write in my journal everyday, or mostly everyday, sometimes briefly, sometimes for longer, after the kids have gone to bed or when all the stars align. I got this mini table top that you can use in bed, and it’s extremely useful for tapping away at my iPad while one baby or another is napping in the big bed. It’s somewhat less useful when claimed for board games or drawing pokemon or eating snacks, but I guess I also partake of the snacks, so I can’t complain too much.


The above is a picture from some time ago, when I feel as though I perhaps had more time on my hands, a few minutes here or there to find things to tape into the pages, but the thrust of it is still the same, getting things off the brain and onto the page, out of the bottom of my bag and taped in.


I am no longer really on the hunt for the perfect journal having found a few notebooks that will mostly fit the bill, a tried and true Traveler’s Notebook, or my Midori A5 leather cover, or a B6 Stalogy for morning pages, even if they each have their own particularities. It’s not so much the supplies as it is the practice, as much as I love agonizing over the supplies. Sometimes I get what is overstock at the shop, or if there are damaged items, notebooks opened for product photos; I also get notebooks to test out or use for the blog, and I have a few of those waiting for me.


I’ve also discovered that having the perfect journal notebook with the perfect pages is an impossible task, and that knowing that something is just there to be filled up eases the pressure a bit. Some days the writing is an opportunity to figure something out, other days it’s just filling the page with the mundane details of my day, the tiny things of the moment that illuminate the journey or are driving me crazy. The pages are waiting for me with no judgement, no raised eyebrows.


The one I’m using the most these days is a Midori MD notebook inside the leather cover. I like the paper because it’s thick enough to handle some glue or tape, adding in photos or drawings, it does well with fountain pen ink and isn’t too smooth, so it’s nice writing for pencils as well.



I have recently been rereading some of my favourite journaling books for a bit of inspiration, like the one above, Writing Down Your Soul by Janet Connor, along with dipping into journals of writers.


I had first read Writing Down Your Soul several years ago, and revisit it every once in a while. A lot of it goes through the author’s own experience with meaningful journal writing, but what I especially like and find helpful is going back to the lists of prompts, the same prompts often bringing out entirely different things, different seasons of life changing the tenor of the same prompts into something unrecognizable. Each of my years so far has brought with it so much change, from moving to Toronto, becoming a teacher, moving schools, moving around the city, opening the shop, moving the shops around the city, babies, cats, pandemic.


Lots of things are going on, and lots of things are flowing through the sieve of my brain. I’m sometimes, rarely, taking the time to put in the extra touches like washi tape, calendar pages, stamps, stickers. More often these days it’s just a few lines or paragraphs or pages of whatever happened in the day, a little wondering, watching where things are going to go. It has been cathartic but not even necessarily dramatic, just an emptying and processing and reflecting on the day, what was of note, all the random dribblings of the day, and things I need to do, my own existence and the existences that float around me, dependent on me and yet completely independent of me. A lot of half-finished sentences before I’m called away, a bit of straightening up of the mental tangle of my brain.


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June 12, 2022 — Liz Chan



Pedro said:

So nice and inspiring to see how you’ve been handling all those changes (and additions, dare I say?) to your family and routine in general.

Journaling unpretentiously has been a blessing to me lately. So nice to forget a little bit about the “technical” details of pens, pencils, inks, and notebooks and focus more on what matters: what’s stuck inside and that needs to get off somehow.

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