Do you keep track of your days?
And if so, how do you do it?
Should you love the idea, but have no idea how to do it or need some inspiration to do it, at the bottom of this post you will find a big bunch of videos and links to inspire you.

I’m finally keeping track of my days and here’s how

I never thought I was capable of doing it, but apparently it was all about finding a way that fits me, I am…and I’m loving it!

2018 is twelve days on the roll today and I wanted to give a little update on the thus far…

Spread in Mandy van Goeije's illustrated year log - week 1 of 2018

Spread in Mandy van Goeije’s illustrated year journal- week 1 of 2018; CLICK HERE for full-size view

What you see above, is the first spread in my illustrated journal for 2018. I’ve been meaning to keep a journal of my days in this form for years now. Not a year went by that I didn’t buy myself a beautiful one-day-a-page diary to do this in. Moleskines, mostly. And I always did start. But I never got much further in the process than that. At some point sooner or later I simply didn’t find the time or the vibe to do a page.

How Karin kept track of her days

A few weeks ago, this little video appeared on my timeline. Karin leafs through her illustrated year log…she does it swiftly and I was so caught by it, that I pauzed at every turn of the page. This was magnificent!

mijn eigen persoonlijke jaaroverzicht van 2017 vanuit mijn journal-agenda from Karin Schrama on Vimeo.

A little journal has BIG advantages

It turned out that Karin’s diary was little. And by little, I really do mean LITTLE! 12×8,5 cm, in fact.

At first I thought that would be impossible for me to work in. But then I watched her video again. And something began to dawn on me. This micro-size journal was perfect! It was so small that every little drawing would only take a fraction of your time which made it far more doable than an entire moleskine page. And the simplicity of this cheap little diary got rid of any sense of infringing on the distinguishedness of a real book, which sometimes paralyzed me.

It was already well past 1 January when I saw this video, but I rushed into town and managed to find a left-over identical journal to Karin’s. Holding it in hand I began to doubt again. Would I be able to pull such a thing off, journaling on a literal daily basis? I decided to go ahead with it and try something new for a change. Don’t they say that growth takes place outside the comfort zone? Well then…outside it is!

The paper of this journal is awful, the size unfamiliar and my record for being able to keep up with habits like these deplorable. And yet…I am loving it! Not only did my late purchase grant me a 50% discount, which bought me this journal for only 1 € !!! Which is amazing, because that amplified my sense of casualness about it. This really helped me start working in it. But also, working on such a minute scale is fab!

Working MINI means boiling down to the very essence. And then you will feel you leave out important stuff, but you simply have to stop caring about that because there is no room to fuss about it anway. This is therapy in pocket size! 😉 So after giving this a go for a week I’ve decided to keep doing this and share my new spreads here.

But there is another journal: Hello Tanka Diary!

The illustrated mini journal is not the only daily challenge I set for myself this year! I actually agreed with myself to have another little journal that I keep…a tanka log!

Spread of illustrated daily journal + spread of Tanka diary project by Mandy van Goeije

Spread of illustrated daily journal + spread of Tanka diary project by Mandy van Goeije

Last year I found out that I love the concise limits of the Tanka to write my daily stories and I decided this year I wanted to add some daily practice to my routine to get better at them. The wonderful thing about writing Tanka is exactly what is wonderful about the mini journal. It is so small you can’t fuss too much. Writing a daily poem doesn’t take forever. It can, but normally it doesn’t. It’s that way of capturing a day in the wordy form of a photograph that makes this way of journalig so special. Boiling down our days to moments…to fleeting essences…it so brings out the preciousness of our lives.

I love the practice part of it too – training to get better. Not the hard toil of intense workout, but a daily repetition of the same calm ritual. I can feel it works more wonders for my writing than hardcore binge writing.

So two logs it is, this year! How about that!?

If you want to keep track of your days too…

So…enough about me. How about you?
Do you keep track of your days? And would you have an idea of what way would fit you?

Should you feel infected by my journaling enthusiasm and feel an itch to pick up a daily journal of your own, you can! It’s only 12 January. You can easily pull it off to make up for a fortnight. Especially if you choose to keep it simple. But maybe simple and small are not your thing. Then make it elaborate and big! By all means, if you feel the itch, then do it…but make sure you find a way that goes with you and go YOUR way…

Of course I’ve gathered some finger itching for you guys here…some inspiration of how others keep track of their days. Definitely bound to inspire us:

Brace yourself for a serious inspiration boost

  • Geninne Zlatkis has a wonderful blog post with mouthwatering photos from her journal right here. And here you can find Geninne’s Flickr photo album of a lot of her journal spreads. These are bound to make your fingers itch uncontrollably!
  • And here is a lovely flip-through video that deserves a cup of tea on the side. Palestblue gives extensive comment to a journal which I find has a wonderful combination of written words and illustration. I love how her comments illustrate so well her process of journaling and the choices she makes in doing this. A true journal from life:
  • Palestblue has another (and more, so go check it out!) wonderful video online of a flip-through of such an illustrated journal:
  • Documented Journey also keeps track of her days, as the name suggests. It’s got some similarities to Palestblue’s work, but the style is different and her comments are interesting, so here goes (and don’t forget to check out her other videos, because she’s got loads!):
  • Anna Denise Floor is one of the people who gave me itching daily journaling fingers back in the days when she still had another name. Her work has changed much over the years. Here’s one of her more recent journal flip-throughs and there are more to find on YouTube:
  • rainbowholic TV keeps a very different kind of illustrated journal, but should you like stashing, smashing and collage, this may be it for you:
  • Hoodlumsx4 is seriously enjoying her journal! That is obvious from the next video:
  • Oohhh…the joy of browsing to find inspiration for you guys! I just discovered Sailor Mimzy’s journals. I love them! They’re so different from what I’ve done thus far, but seriously contageous. I actually really love the ratio text – image. I might give that a go myself…
  • For those who do want to work bigger and more artsy, there’s this every-day art journal. I think key to this kind of journal is that you keep it simple, like Hali Karla did in this one. For me the crash always comes when I make things too difficult and when I full too much about things. This daily journal looks casual enough, so could be very inspiring should you like to start a daily project for this year
  • Truth be told…I don’t think this journal is actually really a day-to-day project, but I love Mitsib’s work so much that I’m sharing anyway. Her painting style is naive and original. I feel that it does show very well that when visualizing our stories we don’t always need to attempt to do so in a realistic way. Mitsib gets her story across in a very figurative way, which only makes it all the more powerful:
  • And just take a look at these uber-cute hobonichi journal pages at this websta page.
  • My art-in-heart friend Marit Barentsen has been keeping her mixed media Chronicles for a looooooong time now. She’s got a fabulous galery online where you can browse all her chronicles from 2010 until now. Be sure to get a cup of a hot, soothing beverage with you because you might find you lose yourself here a little. Although maybe it helps most of my readers here that Marit journals in Dutch…it may save some time.
  • And I’m finishing off this blog post by a lovely article with Sally Mao, a graphic artis who also keeps a daily journal which looks very yummy…VERY!