How Daily Journaling Got Me a New Studio

by | Blog | 5 comments

I got a new work studio. Journaling daily about needing my own space was the impetus. But I think my mouthy cat, Princess Nevadelia Lotus Blossom, may have pushed me over the edge.

Delia and I often have lengthy conversations. I go on and on and she responds. Some days when I’m not feeling talkative, she just carries on for hours by herself.

It’s all very charming until you’re trying to record audio. I’m recording this new journaling podcast, talking to you guys, and Delia naturally thinks I’m chatting with her because there’s nobody else in the room. Cats just don’t get technology.

It’s bad enough that I’ve got competition with the bed and breakfast across the street. The groundskeeper is super psyched about his new diesel-powered pressure washer and spends hours a day scrubbing the sidewalk. And now we host Romper Room with a fleet of six-year-olds playing soccer in the tiny courtyard of my apartment building. And the buses, and the car alarms, and the barking dogs. (Yes, I know I live in the city. Thanks for reminding me.)

How Daily Journaling Lead Me to Freedom

The apartment I share with the Page is a 300 square foot studio. Even with concerted effort, it’s difficult to find a place to work – to spread out, make a mess, make noise. Or to have silence when needed. Our place is positively elfin.

For months now I’ve been writing, “I need my own space.” In various forms, using different words. I need more room. I hate this coffee shop. I need more space. I hate this coffee shop, too. I need my own space. I wish I had someplace to make a mess. I need a place to call my own. I can’t record a podcast with this Siamese cat yakking non-stop.

I’ve been trying to live with the nagging desire but my need for space kept coming up in my journaling. I feel trapped. And later, I feel caged. I flipped through my journals from the last few months and saw the pattern – the expression of a need for my own little corner of the universe. Followed immediately by my nicey-nice attempt to tamp it down: I can’t afford it. If I was serious about working, I could do it here. I’m being selfish. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

When I saw the pattern repeated over and over, it became clear that this desire for my own work studio was not going away. If left untreated, it would build resentment and frustration. I wouldn’t get any work done. And I may end up getting the cat de-meowed, which I was really trying to avoid.

To Thine Own Self Be True

So I made the leap. And the very day I decided to get my own work studio, I found the perfect place and signed the lease. Of course within a few days, the Universe rose to the occasion and presented two opportunities to finance this new space.

I dug in and started making it home. The Page painted one wall a lickable seafoam green. And I found these killer bookshelves at Ikea that were on clearance – they’re covered with Shakespearean quotes about LOVE for chrissakes.

Once I had a few pieces of furniture there and a stereo, my friends helped me christen the place – Joni lent me a much needed ladder (the ceilings are 10 feet high) and crafting table, and Kerry brought star shaped candles with purple glitter in them.

My friend Viva is an amazing photographer, and needed a studio for a shoot. My new space has beautiful light from two big windows and glossy hardwood floors, so it was perfect for her project. She did her shoot last weekend with three other awesome chicks.

The place is barely two weeks old and already it’s got so much creative love infused in those four walls. After my vacation, I have plans to paint a mural of trees on the wall. And I’m looking forward to recording my first podcast in the new space – in relative silence.

The studio is still awaiting a name. My previous workspace was called “Wishville.” I feel like this place needs a new name of its own. Please let me know if you have any good ideas. If you end up naming the place, I’ll send you a deluxe version of my Journaling Saves Goody Bag®.

I Want You to Have Good Stuff, Too

I know I harp on daily journaling an awful lot, but it’s only because you’re my friend and I want you to get something out of this journal writing thing. And you’re not going to enjoy the enormous benefits if you only write when you feel like it.

Journaling is like exercise. Running two hours a month when the mood strikes will not improve your cardiovascular strength. Without daily writing, without the visual repetition of this irrepressible desire for my own space, I would’ve stayed stuck.

So here’s to daily journaling — and learning to honor our needs when we uncover them through this dedicated practice of writing.


  1. Jennifer L

    Oooh, so excited for you! LOVE that paint color. So inspiring!

  2. Kristin

    Thanks Jennifer! I love the color, too. Had a minor meltdown at the paint store trying to choose between 9 shades of seafoam and finally just grabbed one. It turned out perfectly!

  3. Penny

    Way to go, Kat, for hearing yourself and making it happen!!
    Isn’t it energizing to see how things just happen when we’re ready to move?
    Absolutely love that shade of “lickable ocean surf blue-green”, and I can smell salty air as far as the eye can see (sea :-). If it were mine, I’d be brainstorming naming it something like Beach House, Oasis, Away (as in “i’m leaving this cat/cramped quarters and going Away. Big on puns, I’d be thinking to myself, Journaling is A Way forward.) Or maybe Surf–(where the surf’s always up), Crest, Wave. How about WritePlace. or simply Space. Just don’t say MySpace. You’ll find it, whatever floats your boat. Remember, journal and journey come from the same root.

  4. Kristin

    Penny – I love that – “Journal and journey come from the same root.” Brilliant! I definitely was thinking something water-related – I like Beach House a lot. What’s funny is that my last apartment when I lived on Alki was called “The Surf.”

    I was also toying with the idea of “Treehouse” since I intend to do a massive mural on the wall (the white wall, not the blue one) that’s all birch trees. Plus I’ve been meaning to get an actual big tree of some sort in there.

    Love your ideas!

  5. Lillian Gaffney

    I’m surfing, looking for like-minded people and I came upon your site and places who would be interested in supporting my 2011 Donation Journal Project. I took a minute to read this article. Thanks for sharing your story cause I feel like the universe is talking to me. I already have my studio, and I have my own business…however, this story resonated with me about another nagging desire I have and have had for some time. I feel like I got an injection of possibility mixed with hope. Best to you in your endeavors, personally and professionally, Kristin.
    Blessings, l.e.g.


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