#13: Birthday Journaling (NOW with 30% more cupcakes!)

#13: Birthday Journaling (NOW with 30% more cupcakes!)

It’s my birthday today. Cupcakes all around!

Birthdays are such a great journaling milestone. Big annual occasions have me digging through decades of journals, searching for past landmarks. Since my birthday occurs after the flurry of the holidays and before the beginning of spring, it’s a perfect time for focused journaling, introspection, and metamorphosis.

I know not everyone is in love with birthdays. But I’ve always been a big fan; they’re the only holiday you don’t have to share with anyone else. (Unless you’re a twin, or my parents.)

I’m famous for stretching my birthday out into several days of festivities, milking the attention and free stuff for all its worth. My birthday falls close to Valentine’s Day, so what’s not to love?

If you’re a birthday hater, I’ll enjoy your share of the cupcakes. But this stuff I’m going to write about can be applied to any annual event — anniversaries, seasons, holidays. I have a special relationship with June 21st, for example. I celebrate it every year. It also happens to be my Moviversary for relocating to Seattle.

In any case, here are some journaling ideas for your birthday (or other annual milestone):

Have a mini-retreat.

I like to schedule an extra-long session on my birthday, sort of a mini-Almanac day. Assess all the parts of my life (in a light-hearted and non judgmental way), dig deeper than I often do in the morning before downing my coffee and dashing off to start my day.

I enjoy a leisurely exploration on the pages of my journal. It keeps me in touch with myself and where I’m at.

Start a birthdays-only journal.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile — having one slim volume in which I capture each year in review and only adding to it on my birthday. Using images, photographs, stories and art to create a snapshot of that year.

I’m going to start one this year.

Review the year.

Write about what you were doing last year at this time. Where did you think you’d be? If you have your journals from previous years, find the entries around the time of your birthday. What has changed since then? How have you grown?

Are you doing what you set out to do? Is this what you had planned? Do your goals need updating? Are you ready to tackle a brand new dream?

Play fortuneteller.

I have a tradition of making a few predictions for the coming year. Then I reflect on whether or not they happened. Sometimes they do, but it’s fascinating how the Universe often has better plans for me than I could come up with myself.

I’m a big-time planner, so it’s humbling to see how rarely my plans come to fruition. Perhaps it’s time to let go of that illusion of control. 🙂

One thing I did have correct about this year was that my new journaling website would be a smashing success! 😉

Buy yourself a gift.

Although I have a habit of buying myself vehicles on my birthday, a really fabulous pen would do just fine. Birthdays are a great time to splurge on that beautiful journal you’ve been eyeing filled with organic paper and hand-sewn by elves under starlight.

I’ve been intrigued by fountain pens for some time, but have yet to take the plunge and buy one. I think that’s my project for this particular year!

Do you have any ideas for birthday journaling traditions? Share them in the comments below.

Gotta go – those cupcakes are calling…

Interview: Shaynie of Keeping Journals

Interview: Shaynie of Keeping Journals

I’ve got a fresh new journaling interview, just for you. My goal with these interviews is to introduce you to your fellow journalers, perhaps open you up to some new ways of journaling, and to illustrate that there are as many ways to keep a journal as there are journal keepers. If you’d like to do a future interview, be sure to drop me a line.

Today we’re chatting with Shaynie, who has a great journaling blog over at Journaling Journeys. I love that she talks about her experience with NaNoWriMo and journaling, because I’ve found daily writing to be helpful in completing that mad-cap fiction exercise, too.

Even though Shaynie is only 19, she’s already been journaling for almost a decade! Girl after my own heart. 🙂 Like I always say, you’re never too old – or too young – to start!

#12: Uninspired? Get closer.

#12: Uninspired? Get closer.

Ever notice how things look different when you get in close?

When you zoom in, you lose the context and an image or an idea becomes a new thing all its own. It becomes its own work of art, its own inspiration.

This is a great technique to enliven a boring topic, or to get new perspective on something that’s lost its luster. Your journal can help you zoom and see everything in a new light.

The Art of Zoom

In college I had a photography professor who taught us that anything is interesting if you get close enough. At the time I was shooting an old cemetery in Boston. I took the scene at dawn, mist heavy in the air. Black and white crumbling stones.

The shot was clichéd and boring. I could up the contrast and make it arty, but it still lacked visual interest. “Get closer,” he told me.

I returned to the cemetery the next day, doubtful. I chose to focus on one gravestone marking a child’s resting place. An angel crouched on top of the stone. I took the photo. Slightly more interesting, but still…

Get closer,” he told me again.

At this point I was frustrated – not to mention cold. I was sick of going to that cemetery. I was tired of the assignment. But back I went, dragging my feet the whole way.

Grumbling, I climbed on top of that angel. I flipped my camera to macro and stuck my lens in his face. And then an amazing thing happened. He was no longer a hunk of stone in a cold cemetery. I captured his moss-filled eye, the arch of his brow, the ridge of his cheekbone. Crumbling and mottled with age. Covered in swirls of veins, each crack a fissure filled with a story.

I hurried back to the dark room to process the film, excited to see the results. I dropped the paper into the pans and the images rose to the surface one by one. The photos were extraordinary.

It would take you a minute to realize what you were looking at. But the image was a feast for the eye. My professor smiled when I showed it to him. (Instead of his usual response: calling me “the writer with the photography problem.”)

This lesson stayed with me. Not just in photography. Not just in artwork. But in life.

Anything is interesting if you get close enough.

People become fascinating the more you know them. A yard’s worth of greenery comes alive when you focus on one little sapling. When I’m bored with anything, I zoom in. Stories become more vibrant. A room shimmers with light. Problems become less convoluted.

What in your life could use a good zoom? What could you get to know up close and in vivid detail?

Try writing about an object in your journal. A coffee cup. A daisy. Zoom in. Describe it. Get closer.

Or try reliving an event. Not just what day it was or what the weather was like. Zoom in. Talk about the tension in the air you felt when your mother entered the room. Or the tiny shadows cast on the linoleum floor by strings of lights hung over a doorway. The individual notes of the song that was playing.

Climb inside. Get closer. You won’t believe the view.

Interview: Dolly of Journal Addict

Interview: Dolly of Journal Addict

I’ve got a fresh new journaling interview, just for you. My goal with these interviews is to introduce you to your fellow journalers, perhaps open you up to some new ways of journaling, and to illustrate that there are as many ways to keep a journal as there are journal keepers. If you’d like to do a future interview, be sure to drop me a line.

Today we’ll hear from Dolly over at Journal Addict (LOVE the name!). Dolly writes about journaling and provides some great prompts, tips and ideas so be sure to check out her site after you read the interview.

Hellllooo Dolly!

7 Things you taught me in 1 year

7 Things you taught me in 1 year

Happy Birthday to Journaling Saves! Early January of last year, I hit “publish” on the very first post.

I’ve learned A LOT in the past year through creating this website. Here are my Top 7 epiphanies of the first year.

Before I start, I have to warn you, this is a total Sapfest 2011. Be prepared for ridiculous amounts of emoting, gushing, and shameless gratitude. If Emo is not your cup of tea, I’ll be sure to write a super-snarky post for next time. 😉