As you may have noticed, I've been on a journalling and Moleskine kick. Well, while the iron is hot, I thought it might be interesting to share more details about my latest addition, the Idea Journal:
As mentioned in another post, this book is quite different from my first two journals. I began with a personal journal late in 2003, where I could write out daily thoughts in a stream of consciousness fashion, without worrying about editing or perfection. Whatever is on my mind goes here, whether a page, half page or multiple pages.
My sketch journal is specifically for sketches of observed objects, or of objects that might be on my mind. I suppose this could be categorized as a "traditional" sketchbook, since there is very little writing and lots of sketches -- purely art stuff.
I began to think about what I might be missing in my journaling experience and realized there was a gap between my personal journal and my sketch journal. What if I had ideas that came to me during an average day? Do I put them in the personal thought journal or sketchbook? Ideas and concepts could go in both, but would be even better in a dedicated place.
So, after selling my old Sony Clie, I took $10 and bought a second Moleskine with gridded pages (graph paper) and designated this the "Idea Journal". This is the place where ideas for projects (or whatever) would go, with a blend of sketches and writing on each page. So far I've entered four ideas: a bathroom towel rack, ideas for color-coded Moleskine journal covers, ideas for presenting my Travelogues on the web and an idea for a toy control board for Nathan (full of switches and buttons).
I've started carrying the Idea Journal around with me all the time, because I realize that ideas can come at any moment. I want to be prepared to capture these ideas right away, and a pocket-sized notebook works perfectly for this.
As for the grid pages, I felt this would offer structure for sketches and writing if needed. I also I enjoy sketching on grid pages for some odd reason (always have). Lastly, the paper edges of the journal display grids on the pages, which helps me quickly identify the Idea Journal when stacked on top of my plain-edged Sketchbook.
I've been pleased with the gridded paper stock, especially when using a Pilot G2 gel pen. It's a very smooth surface, yet withstands the gel ink without bleed through. I'm still not completely used to the way the G2 cartridges write, since they don't always release ink as immediately and consistently as my old Sheaffer fountain pen. Still, I'm adapting. :-)
I do hope this focus on journaling has helped others try journaling themselves, whether on paper with a pen, on a Palm with a stylus or on a computer with a keyboard... whatever suits your needs best.
In the end, this is all about processing through your thoughts and opening up your creativity. Who knows what might be in there! I just know that journaling and sketching has helped me immensely, so I hope it might just help you too.