Pictures of notebooks, writing in notebooks, people writing in notebooks. Some of the sources for these images have been lost to time -- if you see something that isn't attributed to the artist, please message me and I'll fix it! I want to give credit where credit is due.
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Recently in my journaling group, I challenged my clients to write down a list of 100 things that make them happy. This list can serve as a reminder of positive thoughts when you’re having a bad day or need a little pick-me-up. I thought I would share my list with you, and issue the same challenge to you! Can you write a list of 100 things that make you happy?
1. Watching the leaves turn colors in the fall
2. Falling asleep to the sound of rain on my window
3. Feather pillows and fluffy blankets
4. The smooth surface on a new jar of peanut butter
5. Getting a handwritten letter in the mail
6. Brand new paintbrushes
7. The satisfaction of finishing a project
8. Making a to-do list
9. Re-reading a favorite book
10. Family holiday traditions
11. Wearing a scarf
12. The smell of cookies baking
13. Going to the movies by myself
14. Road trips
15. Watching the clouds
17. When my favorite song comes on the radio
18. Spending all day in my pajamas
19. Painting my fingernails
20. Watching funny cat videos
21. The satisfied feeling after spending all day cleaning
22. A good cup of coffee
23. Planning a trip
24. Saving my money for something I really want
25. Being honest
26. Asking for the things I want
27. Making a great playlist
28. Cleaning out my email inbox
29. A new pair of shoes
30. Taking a hot bubble bath
31. Playing a board game with my family
32. College football season
33. Shopping for school supplies
34. Finding people who like the same weird stuff I do
36. Taking a nap in a hammock
37. Outdoor concerts
38. Drive-in movies
39. Finding a great present for someone
40. Not needing my GPS
41. Inspiring quotes
42. Having a job that I love
43. When someone has interesting handwriting
44. Building a snowman
46. Spontaneous trips
48. Disney movies
49. My turtle
50. Late-night phone conversations
51. Seeing old friends
52. Bare feet
54. Seeing a favorite painting in person
56. Getting a hug from my mom
57. Finding great new therapeutic tools
58. Going to museums
59. When someone really listens
60. Finding a good parking spot
61. Telling a funny story
62. A really good writing pen
63. College memories
64. Laughing so hard you snort
65. Irish pubs
66. My roommates
67. My dad saying he’s proud of me
68. My birthday
69. A perfectly organized bookshelf
70. The smell of old books
71. Doodling on the edge of my paper
72. Old reruns of Friends
73. Rolling up a ball of yarn
75. Making people laugh
77. A good glass of wine
78. Randomly remembering French words
79. Burning a great-smelling candle
80. A beautiful sunset
81. The window seat on an airplane
82. Feeling content with what I have
83. Not caring what others think about me
84. Harry Potter
85. The freedom to make my own choices
86. Being left-handed
87. Full moons
88. The smell of a new car
89. Folding warm laundry
90. Building forts
91. Random acts of kindness
92. The wind rustling leaves on the trees
93. Learning something new
94. Interesting words
95. Old black and white photos
96. Inspiring stories in the Olympics
97. Old hoodies
98. Apple picking
99. British accents
100. Finding a lost chapstick
* Put your MP3 player on shuffle. Draw a picture/illustrate the song or some of the songs’ lyrics.
* Just put stickers or deco tape everywhere
* Read A book (I know this sounds obvious, but it puts you in a new world for a bit. When you finish a chapter, treat it like a homework assignment; write a summary and an emotional response to it!)
*Invent your own world. Write about it, or draw a map of it. Plot out the economy. What do the people look like? Blue with three heads? Talking toucans? Go nuts!
* Make lists. LIST ALL THE THINGS. Favorite songs, worse things to happen when you go camping, movies that scared the pants off you, jokes that made you laugh so hard you nearly peed yourself… anything! The small stuff matters!
* See a post on tumblr that’s funny? Jot it down! Trust me. It’ll serve to inspire later. I wrote one about pickles earlier today that had my RP partners rolling.
* Start collecting random things. Or three or four things. I collect polymer charms for my charm bracelet, bracelets in general, stickers, and deco tape.
* Cut up books. WAIT DONT HANG ME FOR THIS I’M SERIOUS. I love books-most writers I know do-but I’ll admit I’ve picked up some awful ones (anything that is on the shelf at walmart. No thanks). Rather than throw them away, I re-purpose them. Either I make new journals from them by gessoing the pages, or I cut them up all together. The same with comic books
I’m not sorry.
*Spend a day coming up with an alias (like a Tumblr URL, sorta) that you’d like to use in your journal. Document the process. You’ll learn a lot about the things that are meanigful to you as you do; mine comes from a novel I’m currently reading called “Parades End” by Ford Maddox-and the name “Chrissey” is an affectionate moniker for my favorite character, Christopher Tietjens.
*Bummed you don’t have the money to travel? That’s OK, that’s what your brain is for! Find blogs that inspire you. Study urban sketching, and then draw those places that you want to see.
*Visit Ten Thousand Questions. See you in like never maybe (I get stuck there).
*Hook up with a pen pal from another country. Send old fashioned letters NOT EMAIL. I had one from France that taught me French in backward fashion through our letters and it was amazing.
*Pick up a copy of National Geographic. Cut out a picture and glue it in your journal. Your job now is to cut out other words and phrases from other sources and tell a story about what’s in the picture with them that is different from the source story.
*Go for a walk in a park. I find a lot of goodies this way. I’ve stained my journal with berries, found feathers, ect. The zoo is another great place for this, and most are dirt cheap to get into. Mine is only five bucks on weekdays.
*Buy a packet of plant seeds; just a couple of different plants you’d like to grow. Document the process. Talk to the plant. This works, trust me.
*Watch the stars and heavenly bodies. If you live in the city and can’t, write about what you’d imagine that meteor shower would be like. If you can get to a place where you can see these things, make a field trip of it. A little skywatching can expand the mind.
*Like to cook? I don’t, I hate it actually. Except for when it comes to baking goodies. Try a new recipe once a month. Document it from start to finish. I tried sugar cookies from scratch this week. It was a disaster. Next time I know not to use so much butter. Upside: my daughter loves my welsh cakes. I now have a mom-recipe.
*Want a really fun one? Take a willy wonka approach. Become a candy connoisseur. Try a new one whenever it’s feasible (payday, ect). Jot down all your impressions, likes and don’t likes, pluses and minuses. Or be a wine snob. Or a beer snob. You know. Whatever floats your boat.
*Get in touch with your personal element. Mine is salt water; I love the ocean. For some people it might be molten lava. Others it might be glaciers. Whatever you feel embodies you. Then you can actively search for things containing that element; volcano books, pumice beads at the craft store, flecks of obsidian. Put whatever you can fit in your journal. Revel in your connection to it. What do you feel it says about you? Make it a form of meditation to explore this and write it down!
*Become obsessed with something. Write about it all the time. Write write write. Is it Supernatural? Go nuts! Put it everywhere in your journal! When I was in high school, I was obsessed with Star Trek. A friend of mine was obsessed with Savage Garden. We kept “fan books” to see who could collect the most pictures and articles (printing them off was cheating). I ended up winning. She filled up two small photo albums. I filled up four 8X11s. Oops. Write everything in it! Your ships, your sketches, your feels. ALL THE THINGS. (Just don’t be a creeper, ok? No stalking the actors or hiding in their bushes or whatever).
These are just a few things to help get you over a dry spell or bad journal-writers block. Good luck, and happy writing!