A few years ago, when I was working down in Florida on Disney’s International College Program, I signed up for a course through the Disney University. I had no idea what I was getting into, only it seemed like a neat opportunity that I should have. ‘Creativity and Innovation’ was an incredibly heightened learning experience. We had to show up in our professional ‘Disney Look’ with our nametags, and we sat at round tables that would have different knick-knacks every class to inspire our imagination. We studied dynamic and effective partnerships, what companies allow in terms of creative freedoms for their employees, and how to change our own perspectives, all while playing with a Barrel of Monkeys!
The one assignment that changed my life and I still use to this day, five years later, is a creativity journal.
Now, this wasn’t the “Dear Diary,” you wrote as a child, writing out what you ate for breakfast or about the cute kid sitting in front of you in math class. No, this is something more and something less at the same time. It is true creative freedom, which can be both liberating and terrifying.
The assignment itself was simple: create at least fifty different entries. The only catch was that there had to be some variety in the styles of entries, but what those styles were, was ultimately up to you.
This was the only assignment I had ever been handed that I started immediately. I was soon past fifty entries long before the due date, and yet, I never stopped. It was filled with my thoughts about quotes I read, art from friends and myself, stickers, lists, jokes, and anything in between. It wasn’t long before I carried this little book with me wherever I went, and it felt like my soul on paper.
It took me two years to fill up that first journal, and now I’m on journal number five, with no intention of stopping! My entries have changed styles slightly over the years, but every time I go through one of my old entries, I feel nostalgic and love for my past and current selves. Keeping a creative journal is something that I think everyone should do.
Here is my challenge to you: you have three months to create at least fifty different journal entries, however you choose to do it. When you make it to fifty, share a picture of one of your favourite entries with us on your favourite social media platform!
Okay, so you think the idea of a creativity journal is intriguing, but don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas that will help you get started- and remember that there is no wrong way to journal!
- Write down your favourite recipe. Whether it’s Grandma’s Borscht or just delicious chocolate chip cookies, this will be a place where you’ll be able to keep your recipes safely tucked away!
- Include a quote. This could be from a book or movie, or even something that a stranger said while walking past you. You could analyze why this quote affected you, or simply record the words down that moved you.
- Make a list of everything good that happened to you that day. Even if it’s just the little things, like you enjoyed a cup of tea!
- Put art in it. It could be magazine clippings, a photo, a doodle, a sticker, a business card you liked- anything that you think is neat.
- 101 Goals. This is one I really recommend, as it makes you think about what you really want out of life. The first 20-30 goals will be easy, the next 20-30 will take a little more thought, and the remaining ones will require imagination, searching online, or talking to people to discover what is hidden deep within you. Writing out 101 Goals is something that I do every few years, adding to my old lists and taking off some goals that no longer suit me. Just writing things down allows your mind to start to believe that they are possible, and I believe you will accomplish more than you think you can.
These are just suggestions- you can use all of them, or none of them. The point is to just get started and create for yourself! This journal is a great way to improve your mental health and to find more out about yourself. If you create five entries a day or one a week, both are wonderful, and I am proud of you.
The hardest part is just getting started, so go ahead! Get a blank journal that you like, put anything down on that first page and let your creativity flow!