Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Winter Projects: Journaling

Gustav Klimt "The Kiss" Writing Journal, on Amazon

Today I'm reminding myself to make time to enjoy one of my winter hobbies: journaling!


  • Time for mid-week maintenance so our homes don't get completely trashed before the weekend! Need to do any vacuuming, laundry, decluttering of mail table or desk, decluttering of dining and coffee table? Empty trash, pick up bedrooms, refresh bathrooms?
  • Make socialization plans for the upcoming weekend. Who do you want to spend time with and what fun things will you do?
  • Halfway through the week - are we meeting our exercise goals for the week?
  • Figured out what you're packing for your kids' lunches tomorrow? or for yourself?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Bookshelf Sorting and Dusting

A pile of books waiting to be sorted tonight.

In winter, when it's dark, rainy, and cold at night, I find that I'm able to spend more time sitting quietly and reading. I read a lot in the summer too, but that time of year there are more distractions from visitors, neighbors, pets and children playing noisily outdoors, airplanes flying overhead, etc. In fall and winter, it's quieter and I can enjoy reading for longer stretches of time.

My bookshelves are a terrible mess. Every few months I completely sort and organize them, but then they get messy and cluttered again. It's helped a bit that the only books I've purchased in the past three months are on my Kindle or were gifts that I gave away. I use the library a lot more, and constantly have a pile of books waiting on my mail table by the front door to be returned.

As part of my New Year's decluttering project, I've made a new rule - no books can be stored in the garage any more. Period. (Unless they're merchandise for my eBay store). Books should be in the house where I can use, enjoy, and inspect them, not ignored in a box in the unheated garage.

So yesterday I hauled inside two of the four or five huge Sterilite tubs of books and started sorting. I've had to recycle a couple dirty paperbacks that I can't imagine anybody wanting, and I started a pile for Sell at Half Price Books, a pile for Sell on eBay, a pile of "Read now" by my bed; and the rest have to find homes in my bookshelves.

IKEA Borgsjo Bookcase with Glass Shelves


If you have overflowing bookshelves, like I do, take some time today to organize. While I'm sorting, I will dust the bookshelves too.

Do all the bookcases in your house if you have time. You can easily dust and sort one shelf during commercials if you're watching TV tonight. Every little bit of organizing you can sneak in helps.


See if you can bear to part with any of your books, especially paperbacks you've already read but you suspect you'll never re-read them. You don't need to keep every book forever. Be firm with yourself and honest about your book reading habits.

Pick up each book and ask yourself, "Have I read this yet? How long have I owned this unread book? Am I really going to read this book in the next six months? Is this a beautiful coffee table book, or a reference book I need to keep around? Is this a sentimental book? Did someone special give this to me? Is the flyleaf inscribed?"

Donate books to the library; donate to charities that send books to the troops; mail books (if they are in good or very good condition, only) to penpals, or sell them on eBay or Etsy if you already have storefronts there. You can also try selling them to a used bookstore near you, but don't expect to get more than a few dollars for a bag full of books.

Maybe some of your friends might be interested in a book or two of yours. Offer some books around, but don't make your book clutter someone else's problem too.

Do you need multiple copies of the same book? I am winnowing out my extra duplicate copies of Pride and Prejudice and The Secret Garden. Those should be easy to find new homes for!


Organize the books that are left, dust the bookshelves and replace in an organized manner that makes sense to you.

Make some time tonight, even if you can only find 10 minutes, to enjoy a book you've been looking forward to reading.

LOVELY KITCHEN: Cherry Blossom Cupcake Wrappers

These are so cute! I think they're perfect for when you're bringing cupcakes to a spring party. I might make some cupcakes to share with the neighbors over tea, and bake them in these colorful wrappers.

Bella Couture Cherry Blossom Cupcake Wrappers, on Amazon


J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink, on Amazon

I like to do fun projects throughout the year - That way my life does not solely focus around work and housekeeping. My projects make sure my life has more fun things in it besides my beloved friends and family. I love throwing parties as one of my main hobbies, but I like to do some things just for myself, too.

In summer it's difficult to drag myself in from the outdoors, so I do most of my creative projects during cold, dark, rainy fall and winter nights.

Enjoy writing? One possible project you might begin this winter is journaling.

Erte "Winter Flowers" Notebook, on Amazon


Journaling can take many forms - diaries, letters, writing exercises, fan fiction, recording your dreams, and travelogues of your adventures.

It can serve many useful purposes - stress relief, spiritual discovery, memoir development, writing improvement, grief recovery, healing, catharsis, life planning, a record of cooking experiments, a family history, creative stimulation, or confession.

Your journal can be in an old notebook, a beautiful hardbound leather blank book, a blank journal you've creatively decorated, or it can even be a blog. You can also just write using your word processor on your laptop; or the old fashioned way: an inexpensive pen and a paper college-ruled notebook.


I am very bad at remembering to journal every day. I tried techniques like keeping a hardbound journal next to the bed or in my purse. Neither way seemed to remind me, so now I've given myself permission to write only when I feel like it. Luckily, I feel like it every few days. I've found if I create a fun project to write about, I'm much more likely to actually write in one of my journals than if I just sit around waiting for inspiration.


If you prefer to try something more creative than recording your day-to-day life, try one of these:

  • Write a fake diary pretending to be a celebrity, then write about your fictional experiences on the set of a nonexistent movie.
  • Write a fan fiction story based on your current favorite television show or movie.
  • Write a different ending to your favorite Jane Austen novel; or create a mashup story based on two of your favorite classic pieces of literature.
  • Develop a travelogue to somewhere you've never been (Use the Web for research to make it more accurate). Write a journal from the viewpoint of a time traveler, sharing your wild experiences as you visit different eras. You could write a journal as though you're an employee at a fancy hotel in Paris (even though you really aren't) making up stories about all the weird rich people that stay there overnight.
  • Write a pretend letter from one fictional character to another. Or from one historical figure to another. It's fun to mix and match people who couldn't actually have known each other: Have Neil Armstrong write to H.G. Wells, for example. Or have Jane Austen send a witty letter to fellow author Danielle Steele or Anne Rice, just for fun.
  • Write a diary from the perspective of Snow White's stepmother, or Cinderella's stepsister, if you like fairy tales.
  • Write a letter to your architect describing every detail of the dream home they are designing for you.

The idea isn't to lie to or defraud your readers (if you choose to share your journal). Rather, it's just to have a little fun and stimulate your creativity.

Art of Instruction Botanical Journals, at Paper Source


If you enjoy writing, make time for yourself to write in your journal as often as you feel like it. Treat that time as sacred, and make it known to family members how important it is to you to have that fifteen to twenty minutes to yourself uninterrupted. Turn off your phone, log out of Facebook, and turn off the TV. Go in a room and shut the door if possible (that only seems to enrage my cat more though, causing even more noise and distraction!)

You might have to actually remove yourself from the house once a week to a coffee shop to get your writing time in, if you can arrange your absence.


5 Sites to Strengthen Your Writing Skills (Independent Fashion Bloggers)

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Journal for

--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

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