cyanotype print Acqua Marina A Riot of Umbelliferea

A Question of Self

Hey there! It’s good to see you here. My name is Lizzie, and I am the redhead who is always wondering! Wondering about life, about this beautiful world, about words and light and colour and form. And mostly about how I can be the best me that I can possibly be.

I am a creator of hand bound books and of art, in the form of cyanotypes and photographs. I am also an avid journal-keeper and I’d like to share some of my journal wonderings with

Questions to Help You Start Your Journaling Journey

I know from personal experience just how powerful journaling can be; I know that keeping a journal is so good for my emotional and mental well-being, and I want to share that with you.

But perhaps you just don’t know what to write, or how to even start.

You look at the blank pages of a journal, and you think, “how will ever find enough to write about?”

I get it. I really do!

Even after over twenty-three years of journaling damn near every day, I still get moments when I don’t know how to start my pen moving.

There are many techniques you can use … I usually find that writing affirmations or writing what I am grateful for does the trick …

but sometimes, even writing my affirmations doesn’t get my journaling juices flowing.

A cyanotype heart. And a Quote from Ruth Ozeki, author and Zen Buddhist priest. "For me, writing is a way of thinking. I write in a journal a lot. I’m a very impatient person, so writing and meditation allow me to slow down and watch my mind; they are containers that keep me in place, hold me still."

That’s when questions can be really helpful.

Asking yourself questions can be a wonderful way of diving deep into yourself, a way of delving beneath the layers of self that you have built up.

children playing with giant bubbles
think like a child

Think of a small child, as they begin to explore their world … they are all about the questions!

When you to start asking yourself questions, as you write, keep asking yourself the question, “Why?” …

“Why do I feel that way?”

“Why does that mean so much to me?”

“Why does that still hurt?”

The list of questions is as endless as the depths of your feelings. There is always more to find out.

A Voyage of Discovery

Here’s what I invite you to do …

Sit in stillness.

Pick up your pen.

And ask yourself some questions.

Don’t judge your words or yourself.

Don’t worry about your handwriting, nor what your grammar may be like.

And don’t hesitate … don’t hold back … don’t stop the flow of writing even if your thoughts take you off down avenues you weren’t expecting.

Your journal is a voyage of discovery … let your words lead the way.

Here are a few questions to start you off … and some of the things that came up for me while I journaled on them …

What can I say “no” to today?

For such a long time, I used to beat myself up for my mistakes, for my bad choices, and for the wrong paths I had gone down.

For so long I would dwell on the “If Only’s” … you know the ones I mean!!

And so many of those began … “If only I had said no when …”

I definitely did not say “NO” enough in my life.

I did not say no to those people who ended up hurting me.

I did not say no to those people who took from me and never gave back.

I did not say NO MORE to those people who abused my trust again and again.

Well, I have dispensed with the “If Only’s”.

I’m not wasting any more time on them.

And I say “no” to things that do not serve me.

Alone Time

This next question is one that I have asked myself over and over, as a reminder of what I need.

Do I give myself alone time?

This is a great question for getting real with yourself. We all need alone time, whether we admit it or not. I love this quote from Isaac Asimov in his Advice for Being Creative …

“My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required.

The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it.

His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it.

The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing.

For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display.”

This is what came up for me …

I have always been a fairly solitary person, I am perfectly happy with my own company, and always have been. I’ve spent an awful lot of my life on my own, both as a child and an adult, and mostly that’s been okay (although there have been periods of my life where I did feel desperately lonely, but that is not the same thing at all.)

I am uncomfortable in crowds, hell, I’m uncomfortable if there are more than three or four people in the room.

And I have to be on my own when I am writing or creating.

I am a lark, and my husband is a night owl, and that works for us, because it means that I have solitude for a couple of hours every morning before he is up (and he gets the same after I’ve gone to bed!).

This time alone is when I write, this is when I create, or when I work on photographs.

As Rhian Sasseen puts it, “to work, we need to be alone. To create anything, we need to have the freedom to lead, unimpeded, into the murkiness of our own minds.”

I think that we all need to be able to carve out “alone time”.

Are you able to do this?

Are you able to find the time and space in your life to be alone with your thoughts and ideas?

Do you give yourself the gift of alone time?

Sometimes it’s the Simple Questions that Reveal the Most

Not all questions need to be deep and meaningful

for them to uncover profound feelings.

For example the question, “What is my favourite colour (and why?)?” …

Okay, so technically that’s two questions, but often the “why” can be as informative as the “what”.

I am sure that you can probably guess my favourite colour … yes! You’re right … it’s BLUE!!

And why do I love blue?

Well, because it makes me feel good …

a blue cyanotype heart

Blue is the colour of the sky on a clear day.

Blue is the colour of summer.

Blue is the colour of the sea.

Blue is the colour of my cyanotype prints that I love so much.

Blue is the colour of my true loves’ eyes.

Blue is the colour of turquoise and amazonite and lapis lazuli.

Blue is the colour of my favourite fountain pen ink

(Paradise Blue).

Blue is the colour of so many of my favourite flowers.

Blue is the colour of old glass.

Blue is … my colour!

A Question of Self-Care

We hear a lot about self-care these days, and that, in my opinion, is a very good thing. As women, we all too often spend our time caring for others … our children, our partners, our parents, our extended families, our work colleagues … the list goes on.

It is our nature to nurture.

And that’s a very good thing.

What we’re not so good at, despite all the social media posts and memes and inspirational quotes, is applying that care to ourselves.

But I think we’re getting better at it, don’t you? I know I am.

So, what does self-care look like for me?

It’s writing in my journal every morning.

It’s a soak in the bath, face pack on, and reading my current book …

… then slipping into bed with clean sheets. Oh, I do love that.

It’s binge watching a TV show, while I fiddle with photographs or bind a book.

It’s going back to bed with a cuppa on a Sunday morning to listen to the Archers.

It’s treating my skin well … I have a skin care routine morning and night.

It’s going for a walk.

My self-care is simple but effective … what’s yours?

One Last Question for Today …

When I’m journaling, I am often inspired and informed by other people.

What do you do?

I read this great thing in Brené Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection. She talks about how “in a world that values the primacy of work, the most common question that we ask and get asked is, “What do you do?” And how now she answers with the question … “How much time do you have?”

So, what do I do? Well …

This is me …

… taking photos in the snow

… photograph by my husband!

I love.

I laugh.

I make my husband laugh.

I create hand bound books.

I create cyanotype prints.

I take photographs.

I write.

I gather and press wildflowers.

I have a small business selling my work.

I support my friends.

I support my fellow crafters on The British Craft House

I learn something new every day.

I grow flowers.

I pick and press those flowers.

I cook.

I show up consistently on social media.

I look after my home.

I read voraciously.

I write blogs.

my English country garden

full of flowers

Oh, and I do a full-time admin job that gives me the financial freedom to invest in myself and my business.

So, tell me, what do you do? I’ve got all day! Email me at [email protected] and let me know.

I ask questions every week in my Instagram feed and on my Facebook page. Why not come and follow me, and ask yourself questions every week?

If you’d like to know more about me, and my hand bound books, and my journaling journey, and maybe get some tips for your own journaling process, why not sign up for my Wonders out of a Redhead Newsletter.

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