My Morning Pages Practice

I’ve recently started my 36th volume of Morning Pages so I think it’s a good time to share more with you about my Morning Pages practice and how I make it work for me.

I’ve been writing Morning Pages for over 5 years now and I first blogged about them here.

My Morning Pages Practice pin featuring a photo of a notebook, pen and cup of coffee.

What are Morning Pages?

Morning Pages are a form of journaling suggested by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way.

This is what Cameron says about them on her website:

“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”

How I make my Morning Pages practice work for me

  • I use A5 notebooks and aim to write 3 pages each morning before I start my day.
  • I do miss the odd day – especially if I oversleep, have an early appointment or feel unwell.
  • Some days I only write one page and sometimes it’s more than 3 pages. It’s usually 2-3 pages.
  • I used to write whatever came to mind and sometimes still do. But I have also developed something of a structure which I often use to keep the words flowing:
    • I start out writing about how I’m feeling and how I slept.
    • I often give myself a score out of 10 for how I am feeling. Then note down some ideas of what I can do that day to improve my score.
    • Recently I’ve been drawing a card from my Starseed Oracle deck each day. I write down which card I’ve pulled and any thoughts about it.
    • Next I write out my affirmations – I currently have a list of 9.
    • I write about plans for the day, things on my mind and about dreams I’ve had.
  • If I don’t have time to write my pages first thing sometimes I get to them later in the morning. I’ve even written them in the afternoon and evening.
  • It usually takes me around 10-20 minutes depending on how many pages I write, what’s on my mind and if I am interrupted by family members.

Benefits of Morning Pages

  1. My morning pages journals are a great place to vent, express emotion, solve problems, come up with creative ideas and untangle all the random thoughts that get in the way of me getting on with things.
  2. Writing them each day (usually in the morning) gives me that all important time as an introvert to process my thoughts and have time to myself.
  3. They often help me wake up. I am often bleary-eyed as I begin and feel much more awake by the time I am done.
  4. They are a commitment to myself and my self-care. By completing them first thing they often create a momentum for the day to get other things done.
  5. I usually write my morning pages before I pick up my phone or go near a screen. They help me have less screen time. Plus I get my own thoughts out before I am bombarded with the internet and everyone else’s thoughts!

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Have you tried writing morning pages? How did you get on?

I hope my morning pages practice inspires you to give them a go… be sure to let me know how you get on!

My Morning Pages Practice Pin features a desk with stationery items including a journal and pen plus a yellow cup of coffee

20 Happy Things from 2020

I want to share 20 Happy Things from 2020. If you’ve been around a while you’ll know I love a happy list! And given that this past year has been a *challenging* one I think there’s even more need to celebrate the things that make us happy. So let’s dig deep and find the good in 2020…

Pin image - 20 happy things from 2020

20 Happy Things from 2020

1 Releasing Find Your Happy

I’m so proud of myself for creating my journalling workbook and putting it out into the world. You can read more about it here. And I’ll definitely do a happy dance if you buy a copy!

2 Learning with the kiddo

My son spent 5 ½ months at home this year due to the worldwide pandemic. I feel very lucky that I was in the position to drop commitments in order to focus on him and his learning. That unexpected time with him was a gift and I will cherish the memories of us solving complicated maths problems and arguing about spelling!

3 Reggie

Ah Reggie. My gorgeous, damaged greyhound. He came home with us in January and it’s like he’s always been here. He was scared of most things and full of quirks – it’s been lovely (& sometimes frustrating) getting him settled in and getting to know him.

4 The Rainbow Fence of Dreams

It has its own hashtag and it makes me smile – especially on the grey and miserable days! It’s my rainbow fence in my back garden. Painted mostly by me with a little help from the husband and kiddo. Reggie supervised.

5 Writing

Putting pen to paper has definitely helped me this year. Journalling, writing blog posts (not as many as I’d like), taking notes, planning, trying my hand at pitching article ideas – I’ve enjoyed it all. I love writing. 

6 Stationery

That leads on nicely to the next one. I bloody love stationery. I own far too much but I am getting better at using it rather than admiring it and being scared to use it!

7 Zoom

I wasn’t new to Zoom and I have been a fan for a while but it feels like it’s been a saviour in the craziness of 2020. We thoroughly enjoyed participating in a regular music quiz via Zoom during lockdown. It kept us connected with loved ones. And I have even taken yoga and other classes with it.

8 Learning

I am a lifelong learner and I’m so happy when I’m scribbling notes and absorbing new information. I managed to do so much awesome learning this year – mostly virtually. Here are some of the things I learnt/courses I took:

  • Pitching to Publications course with Fiona Thomas as well as some of her webinars and workshops
  • The Freelance Summit with Emma Cossey and lots of awesome speakers
  • Various Grow & Glow training such as – productivity, building a personal brand, pitching, content planning, goal setting
  • Freelance and pitching webinars with Jenna Farmer
  • Sewing lessons with Beautiful Things
  • Mindset work, Year End Reviews and 2021 Vision Boarding and Goal Setting with Sophie Cliff, The Joyful Coach
  • And more!
9 Music

My monthly subscription to Spotify has earnt its keep this year. Music is so good for turning my mood around and also for letting me wallow when I need it. I have so many playlists and use it to listen to podcasts too. During lockdown my husband, the kiddo and I took part in the 30 day song challenge and now we have a family playlist of 90 songs that hold meaning for each of us. Check out my Find the Good Everyday Playlist here.

10 Getting Outside Every Day

Reggie has certainly helped with this one – expecting his daily walks regardless of the weather. And the time spent outside was so valuable particularly during the lockdown periods when we weren’t going back and forth to school or going anywhere else!

11 Planning

I’ve heard that a lot of people completely disregarded their planners and diaries this year and that’s totally understandable. I felt something soothing in continuing to make daily to do lists and update my trackers so I carried on. For most of the year I used my trusty bullet journal but since September I’ve been using a Happy Planner (including Planner stickers – insert lots of heart eyes!). I really enjoy sitting down at the weekend and planning out the following week. But I do miss the daily lists of my Bujo… I might try some kind of hybrid planning system for 2021.

12 Online Communities and Groups

Online communities and groups played a massive part in keeping me feeling connected this year. I love the community on Instagram and enjoy the regular chats with some lovely people there. I’m still a member of Grow & Glow and enjoyed their regular calls and training sessions through the year. And I joined the Freelance Business Lounge back in June and the twice-weekly group coaching calls have been super helpful for my mental health and my productivity!

13 Being near my Mum

There have been many times this year I have dreamt of being back in New Zealand where they have managed the pandemic much better than the UK (helped by closing their borders). And I feel lucky to have lots of wonderful friends based in New Zealand.

(If you don’t know – I lived in NZ between 2005 and 2016. My son was born there and I have dual nationality with NZ and the UK).

But I’ve also been so grateful to be in the UK and near my Mum. We are her bubble and I found it comforting to know I could go to see her, do her shopping for her and other jobs she needed done while shielding. 

14 Finally getting Netflix!

We were so late to the party on this but we finally have Netflix. I haven’t made it as far as the Tiger King yet but I am working my way through The Crown and love it! It’s great that we can each have our own favourites list. The trickiest thing is deciding on something for the 3 of us to enjoy!

15 Baby Yoda

My husband (who is likely to be rolling his eyes at my use of the name “Baby Yoda”) is a Star Wars fan so we watched the first series of The Mandalorian back in March when it was released in the UK. We’re currently working through the second series and I just adore Baby Yoda – such a cute character! I’m tempted to buy Baby Yoda fabric and make myself a dress!

16 Cadbury’s Giant Buttons

I love them! Perfect for sharing while watching a movie!

17 Lists!

Where would I be without lists? They fit well with planning, writing and stationery too! As you probably know – I love a happy list and it’s fun encouraging others to write their own. This year there have been:

  • To do lists
  • Things I enjoy about Lockdown
  • Stuff that was put on hold because of the pandemic
  • Things I’m looking forward to when the pandemic is done
  • My 38 @ 38 list – having this list of fun things to do really helped me to keep seeking joy this year!
  • My 39 Before 40 list
  • This 20 Happy Things from 2020 list!
18 Books & Reading

I’ve always loved books and reading – they (like a lot of things on this list actually) could easily make the top 20 of most year’s happy things! Some favourites this year have been:

  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  • The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
  • And a lot of romances on the Kindle app on my phone!
19 The Dishwasher

We finally got a dishwasher late August after over 4 years without one. It’s made such a difference. I’ve been able to put the time saved from not washing up multiple times a day to better use! And it’s helped my hands and wrists which tend to flare up with aches and pains (thanks Rheumatoid Arthritis!)

20 Documenting Life

Once a scrapbooker – always a life documenter! I enjoyed taking part in Day in the Life and Week in the Life this year and it will be interesting to look back on those projects in years to come. I’ve also collated a video full of 1 second videos from each day this year using an app called 1SE. I did it a couple of years ago and it’s fascinating to see which parts of daily life have stayed the same and which have changed. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to take a snapshot of daily life I’d recommend giving it a go!

20 Happy Things from 2020 Pin Image

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It feels so good to have written my 20 Happy Things from 2020 list. I wonder if they’ll be any more additions before the year is out?

What are your happy things from 2020?

If you want to write your own Happy List check out these posts:

The Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook

Hello! I want to share more information with you about Find Your Happy (the first Find the Good Everyday product) which is now for sale.

You can purchase the Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook here. It is available as both digital and print editions.

Find Your Happy journalling workbook printed out

What is the Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook

Find Your Happy is a book filled with 21 journalling prompts. Each prompt should take around 10 minutes and has been included to help you think about the things that bring you joy and happiness… and how you can get more of them in your everyday life. 

There’s space for your writing on each page (if you purchase the digital eBook version you could print the prompts out to complete by hand, fill it in on your device or write your notes in a separate notebook). 

You can also choose how to work through the prompts:

  • Do 1 a day for the next 3 weeks
  • Do 1 section (containing 7 prompts) at a time and allow around an hour & a half
  • Dip in and out when you feel inspired

There are some other suggestions in the book too. I do recommend you do them in order as they are designed to build on each other and take you on a journalling journey.

How did the workbook come about?

I’m a long time journaller. I’ve tried many types of journalling over the years and if you’ve been around a while you’ve probably heard me talking about:

Getting my thoughts down on paper is how I deal with life! I make lists, I write down my thoughts and feelings, I weigh up pro’s and con’s of major life decisions, I keep track of what’s happening in my life. 

Journalling helps me in so many different areas! 

But I know not everyone has had the chance to build a journalling habit. Or perhaps you’ve been a journaller in the past and have fallen out of the habit.

I decided to create a workbook for journalling prompts to help people bring more joy into their everyday lives. I’ve purposely set the workbook up so that each prompt can take 10 minutes. If you want to you can spend more time but I can appreciate how hard it can be to find time for a new habit so I’ve kept it short.

I had a lot of fun putting the whole thing together and I am so pleased with how it’s turned out. Of course – it has a rainbow design (because rainbows feature very highly on my happy list!)

Feedback and Reviews

I’ve already received some wonderful comments about the workbook and I want to share them with you…

“I bought and downloaded your workbook, it is amazing! You’ve done a lot of hard work on it. Can’t wait to print it off and start working on it! Thank you.” – Amy

“Find Your Happy is a rainbow of joy in a bit of a cloudy 2020! I loved the collection of prompts, and Katie has clearly thought out the journey the reader goes through when using them. If you’re looking to get into journalling, or need a refresher, Find Your Happy is a must buy.” – Emma 

Is Find Your Happy for me?

  • Are you keen to give journalling a try?
  • Have you journalled in the past and you’re keen to get back into it?
  • Do you feel like you spend a lot of time making the people around you happy and run out of time for the things that bring you joy?
  • Are you keen to make positive changes to your everyday life to bring you more joy and happiness?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes- I really think you might enjoy Find Your Happy!

If it sounds like it’s something you want to try – you can purchase the Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook here.

And please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. The quickest way to reach me is by email using the Contact form or send me a Direct Message on Instagram.

Best wishes for Finding Your Happy!

Daily Journalling for Happiness – three ways

Today I want to share three types of daily journalling for happiness. I currently journal in these three ways every day. Together they help me feel happier, be positive, take care of myself and keep my life together.

So “what are they?” I hear you ask…

Three Types of Daily Journalling for Happiness - pin image

Three Types of Daily Journalling for Happiness

  • Morning Pages
  • Bullet Journalling
  • Gratitude Diary

I’ve written about each of these daily journalling methods before and they all work well as separate activities. But I find when I use all of them they work together to make me feel organised, creative and happy!

So let’s go into a little more detail about each one…

Morning Pages

Morning Pages are a concept from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The idea is to write 3 pages of long-hand stream of conscious journalling as soon as you wake up. This gets all the crap out of your head and frees up space for creativity and inspiration.

I’ve been writing morning pages since late 2015 and they have been so beneficial to me. I’ve written more about Morning Pages and how they are a self-care tool for me here.

I was also recently a guest over at Stationery Magpie sharing why Morning Pages are so important to me as well as a few tips for getting started.

Bullet Journalling

I don’t want to brag but I was doing my own version of Bullet Journalling back before it was cool! You can read my Bullet Journal Story here.

My Bullet Journal is my planner – it’s how I know what I’m supposed to be doing and where I’m supposed to be at any given time. It’s functional and not particularly pretty compared to some of the examples all over the internet. But it works. I am continually adapting it to suit my lifestyle and my needs. It is the glue that holds my life together.

Last year I shared a Bullet Journal set-up and I often share little snippets on my IG account too.

Gratitude Journal

I’ve kept a gratitude journal on and off for many years. Most recently I’ve been keeping one for the last few years consistently.

At the end of each day, before I go to sleep, I think back over the day and come up with (usually) 5 things that I feel gratitude for. The topics and their levels of seriousness (or fluffiness!) can vary greatly. This feels so good…and after a particularly bad day I see it as a personal achievement to find something that I am grateful for. I think that identifying and documenting my gratitude every single day makes me a more positive person.

Click here to read more about the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal as well as tips to start your own.

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So there you go – three types of daily journalling for happiness. Together they can make your life happier and keep you on the right track.

I’d love to know if you use any of these methods? Or if you have a different type of journalling that you do every day?

And if not – why not pick the one that intrigues you the most and give it a go?

Find Your Happy
Find Your Happy Journalling Workbook

If you’re looking for more journalling ideas for happiness please take a look at my Find Your Happy Journalling workbook. It contains twenty one journalling prompts to help you get more happy in your everyday life. And each prompt is designed to take only 10 minutes.

I do these 3 types of journalling every day and it makes me happier - pin image

My Writer’s Diary Update – Quarter 3

Welcome to my Writer’s Diary Update. Today I’m reviewing Quarter 3 (July, August, September) and sharing my goals for the final quarter of 2019.

I shared my first Writing Diary in March and an update at the end of quarter 2 in June.

Writer's Diary Update - Quarter 3

My Writer’s Diary Update

Review of Quarter 3 (July, August and September 2019)

Blog at least weekly and send monthly newsletters

I did this. I missed one week’s blog post late August but everyone gets some leave at some point right?! The newsletters were sent monthly too. If you’d like to sign up for my monthly updates you can here. (I usually highlight recent blog posts, share a quote and other things I think will help you find the good everyday).

Get the memoir completed

Nope. Which makes me feel sad but this is such a personal project that I don’t seem to be able to tackle it the same way I would any other task on my list. I have done little bits on it but still need to add more words and do more edits.

Research potential publishers for the memoir and how to write a proposal

I did start this research when I was getting a little stuck with the writing and editing stage. There’s still more to do but I’ve made a decent start.

Send proposal to at least one publisher regarding the memoir (eeek!)

Not yet – I want to get more of the edits done before I approach publishers.

Read a book on writing

I haven’t read a book on writing but I’ve been doing lots of other learning. I’ve read lots of blog posts and medium articles about writing. As well as signing up for and starting a course for Freelancers (more on that below).

Take part in Grow & Glow* community – commit time weekly to work through resources and complete action items.

I struggled to commit to doing this weekly through the school holidays but I am progressing. I’ve joined a few of the monthly Mastermind calls, worked on a couple of the bundles and also hosted some fellow G&G bloggers in my August “Bloggers Share” series.

Keep looking at courses for writers and other learning opportunities

I was lucky enough to win a 1-to-1 session with Fiona Thomas in July and we discussed working as a Freelance Writer. Fiona gave me lots of helpful tips and pointed me in the direction of some newsletters and resources for freelance writers. This led me to the Freelance Course I’m currently doing.

Quarter 3 – What I’ve Been Learning About Writing

  • Monthly Writers Group – I attended my local writing group in July and September
  • Grow and Glow* – As mentioned above I’ve been dialling in to the monthly mastermind calls and working through a couple of the bundles (about branding and SEO)
  • Freelance Course – I started an online 5 week course in September

Goals for the final quarter of 2019

Looking forward to the rest of the year I’d like to…

  • Continue to blog at least weekly and send monthly newsletters
  • Continue working on the memoir and ideally get a version ready for early readers
  • Find/approach some people to be early readers of the memoir
  • Continue researching potential publishers for the memoir and how to write a proposal
  • Take part in Grow & Glow* community – commit time weekly to work through resources and complete action items
  • Complete the Freelance course
  • Keep looking at books and courses for writers and other learning opportunities
  • STRETCH GOAL (Memoir) – aim to send proposal to at least one publisher regarding the memoir (dependent on how the editing process goes)

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So that’s my latest Writer’s Diary Update. If you’re a writer I’d love to know what you’re working on right now or if you have any useful tips to share!

*Grow and Glow is a hub for online creators & creatives. It provides the resources, training and support every person behind the personal brand needs to GROW their online presence and GLOW for their audience or customers.

Please note this is an affiliate link and if you choose to click through and join I will receive a small commission. This does not affect how much you pay. And I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think it was worth the money!

My Kanban Board System for Writing-related Goals

Trying the Kanban Board System (for writing-related goals)

I’m currently trying the Kanban Board System to keep track of my writing-related goals and progress.
Last week I shared how I set Half Term Goals which I’ve been doing since February. With a fresh academic year starting in September I decided to pair my goals with a kanban board so I can break my goals down into tasks and watch my progress.

What is a Kanban Board?

Kanban boards originated in Japan in the 1940s. A kanban board is a visual way of managing work as it moves through a process. The board helps you visualise how your work flows. At its simplest it has 3 sections – to do, doing and done but there are more complex versions that include backlog and other categories.

I got the idea for trying the kanban board system from 2 writers. I’ve been following Helen Redfern on Instagram and YouTube for a while. Her behind-the-scenes peeks at the writers’ life (including goal setting and planning) are really inspiring. And Helen led me to Sarra Cannon of Heart Breathings who has a lot of youtube videos available about goals and kanban boards.

Creating my Kanban Board

Kanban Snippet

I’m currently using a large wooden picture for my board. It’s a Keep Calm & Carry On poster which was gifted to us when we lived in New Zealand. It seemed apt for what I’m trying to do! And was handy when I was looking for a large surface to use.

I’ve tacked up 3 sections – a large “To Do” section. A half size “In Progress” section (it’s smaller to ensure I don’t try and do too much at once!). And a final “Completed” section.

Each section is split into 4 categories which relate to my goals. I’ve got 4 different colour post-it’s – one for each category and each task is written on a post it. I’ve got tasks grouped together by project.

Converting Writing-related Goals to the Kanban Board System

I started out with sharpies and a big A3 sheet to work out what my bigger goals are. I came up with 4 areas within Writing. These are:

  • Find the Good Everyday – my blog, newsletter and social media accounts
  • NZ Story – the memoir I’ve been working on (sporadically!) since 2016
  • Freelancing – something I’m currently exploring
  • Learning & Development – to keep building my writing-related skills

For each of these areas I came up with a BIG goal and why I wanted to achieve it. I then noted down how I can work towards each goal. Once that was all brainstormed I came up with smaller tasks directly on to the post-it notes for each category.

For example under FTGE I have each weekly blog post as a task on a separate post-it. I’ve currently moved “Blog Post w/c 16th Sept” to the “In Progress” section and once this post is finished and scheduled I will move it to “Complete”.

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It was a little overwhelming at the start trying to come up with the tasks and then see how much I was planning to do. But now I’ve started working on the goals and progressing some tasks through the board I am enjoying the process.

I did have some feedback from my accountability group that I may have too many priorities so it’s likely that I may concentrate on some areas more than others and update the tasks accordingly. I plan to share updates on Instagram stories as I go.

Have you heard of the Kanban Board System? Do you use it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Setting Half Term Goals (goal-setting around the school year)

Since February this I’ve been conducting an experiment in setting half term goals for myself. Today I want to share how and why I’ve been doing this.

Setting Half Term Goals (goal setting around the school year)

Why have I been setting Half Term Goals?

I have a 9 year old boy at primary school and I realised that I could use the way the school year is broken up into chunks to set goals with deadlines. It also means when my son has school holidays I can review and reset as well as focusing on time with him.

Here in the UK the school year has 3 terms each broken into 2 half terms. Autumn term runs from September until Christmas with a week off usually in October. Spring term is from January until Easter with a week’s break in February. And the Summer term runs from after Easter until July with a week off at the end of May.

Each half term is usually around 6 weeks which seems like a decent block of time to get things done.

My Process for Setting Half Term Goals

I worked out 3 areas I wanted to set goals around. These are:

  • Writing/Career
  • Home & Family
  • Wellness

At the start of each half term I come up with a list of what I want to achieve in each area.

I create a page in my Bullet Journal listing the tasks for each area with check boxes to tick as I complete them.

This list then feeds through to my monthly bujo pages where I list aims and goals for each month.

Is this system working for me?

I think this has been great to try and keep me focused and working on detailed tasks.

But I feel like I need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I need to ensure these short term goals are stepping me towards big goals. So I am currently working on setting/reviewing longer-term goals in each area so I can refer to them when I set shorter-term goals each half term.

Goals written down are a great step forward but I also need to make sure I’m taking the time to DO the work!

For this new half term I drew up a grid showing all the days my son is at school. I noted down prior appointments and commitments so I can see what time I have available to work on my goals.

One thing I struggle with is overcommitting to too many things. I often think I can get much more done in a day than I actually manage. (I often forget that school hours only allow me around 4-5 hours of work time if I have no other commitments or distractions…And they always show up!). This can sometimes lead to overwhelm and then I don’t know what to work on.

This half term I intend to be more intentional when writing my daily to do lists. I want to add things that move me towards my goals but make sure the daily list is achievable to keep me motivated to continue.

I’ve also created a Kanban board for my writing projects to try and keep me focused. I hope to share more on this soon. Check out my Instagram for updates.

Half Term Goal Setting. How, as a Mum, I set my own goals around the school year.

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How do you plan your days? And how do you link long term goals to daily tasks? I’m always keen to hear how people do this!

If you enjoyed this blog post you may also like My Writing Diary (which reminds me I need to make sure I am linking my Half Term Goals back to my Writing Goals in this post!)

My Current Notebook Collection

I thought it would be fun to show you my current notebook collection and explain the different ways I use notebooks. I LOVE stationery and I find the same level of satisfaction at finishing a notebook as I do a job well done (or even using up a lip-balm!)

My Current Notebook Collection

So let’s take a peek into my current notebook collection…

Gratitude Diary

I am currently using a small A6 rose gold page-a-day diary for my gratitude journal. I bought it from Sainsburys for about £5 at the start of the year.
Each night I aim to write 5 things I am grateful for from that day. Click here to read more about my Gratitude practice including tips to start your own.

A Sentence a Day

This is a Kikki K notebook with prompts for each day. And there is space for up to 3 answers (so up to 3 years worth of answers). I purchased this notebook back in 2015 and started using it for a few months. I rediscovered it in 2018 and decided to carry on. It’s been great filling it out each day and looking back to see my previous responses.

100 Things

This was another Kikki K purchase from New Zealand. It has 100 numbered (but otherwise blank) pages. I use it like a commonplace book – I go through phases of adding lots to it and then not touching it for ages. I write fun lists. And journal about what’s happening currently in my life. I copy down favourite quotes. And my son has drawn some pictures in it too.

My current notebook collection - covers
Events/Seminars/Learning Notes

I bought a pack of Moleskine Cahier’s ages ago for my Traveller’s Notebook but unfortunately they didn’t fit. They sat in my notebook stash for ages. I grabbed one to keep as my FTG30 journal for April (read more about that here) but I ended up documenting it on Instagram stories and the notebook didn’t get used after a while. I tore those pages out and re-purposed it for keeping notes at events and seminars I attend. It’s a handy size and the paper is lovely for jotting down quick notes.

My Bullet Journal

This is the notebook that tends to go everywhere with me. It’s my main planner. And if I could choose only one from my current notebook collection (which would be a tough call!) it would be this and I would incorporate as much as I could from the other notebooks. I recently shared a post where you can see how my Bullet Journal is set up. It’s an A5 dot grid from Flying Tiger.

Morning Pages

I’ve been writing Morning Pages (most days) since October 2015. Almost 4 years. This is my 27th notebook (yes I am a hoarder and keep them all!). Morning Pages are my therapy – they give me a space to vent, to clear my head, to plan, to reflect and to dream. I’d recommend EVERYONE gives them a try! Julia Cameron encourages the practice in her book – The Artist’s Way. Back at the start of Find the Good Everyday I wrote a post all about using Morning Pages as a Self Care tool.

Author Your Life

This is my newest notebook and method of journalling. I recently participated in Lara Zielen’s Author Your Life Online Summit and it was wonderful to hear from 21 speakers how writing and journalling has changed their lives. Lara has written a book called Author Your Life which encourages us to create the story of our future writing from a third person perspective with ourselves as the main character. I really love this idea so I’m having a go before I read the book (she has some tips and advice for getting started on her website. The notebook I’m using was a gift from a coach I was working with last year. I love all the inspirational quotes on the front and it felt like a good fit for the positive story I am creating for my future!

My current notebook collection - insides
Writing Group Notebook

I attend a monthly local writers group. Back when I first joined I grabbed this Koyoko notebook to take along and I’ve kept the notebook solely for writing group. It’s great to have all the writing prompts and my work in one space. I love this notebook – I picked up a couple of them from the sale section at Home Sense. The paper is lovely to write with and I like being able to date and number the pages at the top.

Blog Calendar and Planner (not pictured)

I picked up this 2019 Planner in Home Sense towards the end of last year for £4. It has a double page calendar spread for each month and then pages of lined note paper. It’s been great for planning my blog posts, newsletter and social media. I will share a post with more detail and photos of how I use it soon. And I’m intending to pick up something similar for 2020 too.

Grow & Glow Notes (not pictured)

I’ve been a member of Grow and Glow for several months now. It’s a community for online creatives. Each month there’s a different focus such as Instagram, Branding and Growing Your Audience. I’ve found it really useful and I love that there is a checklist of tasks (broken down by expected duration) for each month’s topic. I “shopped my stash” for a square grid notebook (which I bought from Homesense at some point thinking I’d use it for a Bullet Journal.) I keep notes for each months topic and I use it for brainstorming too.

If you’d like to learn more about Grow & Glow click here.
(Please note this is an affiliate link and I will receive a small commission should you click through and join. This does not affect how much you pay.)

Grow & Glow | A Hub For Creators & Creatives

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Wow that’s 10 notebooks currently in reasonably regular use. (Plus I’ve probably forgotten some!) I hope you’ve enjoyed having a peek at my current notebook collection.

How many notebooks do you have on the go at any time? I’d love to hear how you use notebooks?

My Quarterly Writing Diary – June 2019

Welcome to my Quarterly Writing Diary. Today I’m sharing a review of Quarter 2 (April, May, June) and my goals for Quarter 3. You can see my first Writing Diary from March here.

Quarterly Writing Diary - June 2019

Review of Quarter 2 (April, May and June 2019)

Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo (during April) to get a good chunk of the new draft of the memoir written

I didn’t do this. I scheduled time in during April on several occasions but I let life and other projects get in the way and didn’t get any words written for Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s easy to see now that I’d over-extended myself with FTG30, regular blogging and life in general. I was disappointed but I made the call to let this one go.

Get the new draft of the memoir completed and start revisions

I was hoping Camp NaNoWriMo would help me here. And because I didn’t do anything for Camp NaNoWriMo it meant I did no work on the memoir throughout April and that trickled through into May and June. I get frustrated with myself for putting this project down for months on end. But I find it quite overwhelming – it’s my story and it means everything to me and I think I put too much pressure on myself as a result.

Release FTG30 into the wild

I did this and I’m really proud of it. I really enjoyed sharing the prompts daily on Instagram and also on the blog. It was great to see people joining along and I’m considering turning it into some kind of workbook for people to download.

Blog at least weekly and send monthly newsletters

I’ve kept up with regular blog posts and newsletters which makes me happy.

Read at least one book on writing

I really thought I’d done this but when I look back through my Goodreads the last writing book I read was Fast Draft Your Memoir. Perhaps I should pick one now to read!

Start looking at courses for writers for later in the year

I’m booked into 2 writing workshops at the Felixstowe Book Festival this coming weekend. This makes me feel nervous and excited all at once! Also I’m going to see Danielle La Porte (author of The Desire Map) in July which I’m hoping will be inspiring but it’s not specific to writers.

My Quarterly Writing Diary – What I’ve Been Learning About Writing

  • Monthly Writers Group – I’ve been attending my monthly local writers group when I can and I’ve found another group locally that I am keen to try.
  • Grow and Glow – I’ve signed up as a member of an online creatives community with lots of resources and monthly lessons. I’m just starting to get stuck in and have my notebook at the ready! I may share more on this soon. I’m hoping to improve the blog and “my online presence” (does that sound a bit naff?!) as well as get to know other creatives.

My Quarterly Writing Diary – Goals for Quarter 3

Looking forward to July, August and September I’d like to…

  • Blog at least weekly and send monthly newsletters (this will require some planning with the school holidays and some travel planned)
  • Get the memoir completed (this might be a tall ask with 7 weeks of school holidays in this quarter!)
  • Research potential publishers for the memoir and how to write a proposal
  • Send proposal to at least one publisher regarding the memoir (eeek!)
  • Read a book on writing
  • Take part in Grow & Glow community – commit time weekly to work through resources and complete action items.
  • Keep looking at courses for writers and other learning opportunities

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So that’s my latest Quarterly Writing Diary. If you’re a writer I’d love to know what you’re working on right now or if you have any useful tips to share!

My Writing Diary – March 2019

I’ve decided to start a new feature here on the blog – my Writing Diary. I hope to post updates regularly…probably quarterly.

Helen Redfern’s weekly writing vlogs on YouTube have inspired me. I really enjoy seeing the insights into her writing projects as well as picking up tips. I’m now on the lookout for similar updates (videos or blog post) from other writers. If you know of any please do let me know.

I plan to share what I am working on, tools I’m using, what I’ve been learning and my writing goals.

My Writing Diary

My Writing Diary – March 2019

WIPs (Work in Progress)

  • Memoir – I’ve been working on a memoir based around the 11 years we spent in New Zealand, why we went in the first place and coming back to the UK. I started it just after we returned in August 2016. It’s gone in fits and starts so far. My word count is at 55,000 but I’ve been really struggling to revise it and move it on. Luckily I found a book that has helped (see Tools below). I am currently working on the outline and I’m planning to start again – adding in the relevant sections I’ve already written as I go.
  • FTG30 – I’ve been busy working on a month-long series for the blog and Instagram – Find the Good in Thirty Days. Each day will have a short activity to do in terms of feeling happier and/or healthier. I’ve really enjoyed planning out each day and the themes across the week. I’ll share more about this next week in advance of FTG30 starting on 1st April.
  • Weekly blog posts – I’ve been aiming to post to the blog weekly since the new year and it’s working well. This will increase a little in April with FTG30 (I am planning to post every 5 days).
  • Monthly FTGE newsletter – I aim to send the FTGE newsletter in the middle of each month. In this I share what I’ve been up to and an inspirational quote among other things. (Subscribers receive a free workbook to help Find the Good Everyday – if you’re keen to sign up you can do so here).

What I’ve Been Learning About Writing

  • Monthly Writers Group – I joined a local writers group last Autumn and try to get along each month. The usual format is a timed writing challenge (with a prompt) and then we take it in turns to share what we’ve come up with. It pushes me out of my comfort zone – with the prompts themselves and the sharing of my work and I enjoy listening to what the other members come up with.
  • Fast Draft Your Memoir – I want to read more books about the craft of writing. My most recent read was this one which I shared in my latest Reading Rituals post. This book is really helping me move my memoir forward.
  • I’d also love to add some courses (online or in person) into my learning throughout this year.

Tools I’m Using

  • Sharpies, post-it notes and index cards – these are my old faithfuls…I’ve used them for years for any sort of planning projects or studying. I’ve been using them a lot lately in the outline for my memoir. I also use little flag post-it’s to plan out my blog posts in my blog planner. I love the flexibility of switching things around plus bringing in my love of stationery always makes something more fun!
  • Scrivener – I’ve just downloaded Scrivener and signed up for the 30 day trial. It’s been recommended by a few people lately so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s writing software that helps you keep everything to do with your writing project (the research, photos, supporting documents, the outline and the actual draft) in one place. I’ve watched a few youtube tutorials and I’m working my way through the in-software tutorial as well. So far, so good – I’ve put my FTG30 project in there to work on as a practice run and hope to use it for my memoir new draft too.

Goals for Quarter 2

Looking forward to April, May and June I’d like to…

  • Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo (during April) to get a good chunk of the new draft of the memoir written
  • Get the new draft of the memoir completed and start revisions
  • Release FTG30 into the wild
  • Blog at least weekly and send monthly newsletters
  • Read at least one book on writing
  • Start looking at courses for writers for later in the year

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So that’s the first installment of My Writing Diary. If you’re a writer I’d love to know what you’re working on right now or if you have any useful tips to share!