An open journal, When faced with the blank page, it’s not always so easy to come up with things to write, poppies, pen, crystals

About the Blank Page

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 you today ….

When You’re “Shoulding” All Over Yourself

When faced with the blank page, it’s not always so easy to come up with things to write, especially if you think you “should” be writing something profound or meaningful.

Even after all these years of writing pretty much every day, I still sometimes find that I am putting pressure on myself to produce Great Words of Wisdom, or to find that elusive epiphany that will miraculously change the way that I am thinking or feeling or responding or behaving.

Even though I know with my gut (heart) that I can just let my hand move and let one word follow the other, and that the action of writing may well produce a deep and meaningful revelation (it may not, and that’s okay too … I will still have worked something loose that my subconscious can cogitate on!), it is still hard.

What is harder still is to trust the process when I’m feeling negative or a bit low.

To trust it with my head, my gut and my heart. To trust that writing WILL give me a way through.

A Crisis of Self-Belief

I’ll give you an example of when writing in my journal helped me change my thinking … I recently had what I can only describe as a crisis of self-belief in my business.

I realised that, despite the fact that I’m a really happy person, and I love my life, when it comes to my business, I was definitely not feeling the joy.

So, I was writing all this negative stuff in my journal.

I was feeling pretty fed up, to be honest. You see, I am still not getting many sales. I mean, I get lovely comments from people telling me how amazing my journals are, but they don’t then go off and actually buy them.

I was beginning to wonder if I should just give it all up and do bookbinding and cyanotype printing for fun and forget all about it being a business.

The thing is, I work really hard. I am constantly writing, I am constantly creating and scheduling Facebook and Instagram posts, Pins, Tweets, LinkedIn posts, etc, etc (etc, etc and more etcs).

Then there’s all the hours and hours it takes to make one journal, and all I seem to have at the moment is an incredibly expensive hobby, and a cupboard full of journals. 

I know they say there’s no such thing as an overnight success, and that they say you will probably be in business for at least two years before you make a profit … that’s why I’m hanging in there at the moment.

But it is a bit disheartening to say the least.

Doing All The Things

As well as all the work I’ve done on the biz side of things, I have done a lot of work on myself and on my mindset. I do ALL the things.

But still … nada! No sales.

Oh dear, I sound like a right old moaner, don’t I?!

And I normally wouldn’t be sharing all this s&%t publicly

Remember this, my dear friend …

If you write a lot of moany stuff in YOUR journal, you don’t have to share it with anyone!

I’m only sharing this with you now, so that I can show you how I changed my thinking around.

An open journal, Remember this, my dear friend, if you write a lot of moany stuff in YOUR journal, you don’t have to share it with anyone!, pressed flowers, a fountain pen, crystals
You DON’T have to share your journal with anyone

So anyway, all this stuff was coming up for me in the pages of my journal, and I decided to share it with some women that I really trust, not expecting any of them to give me “The Answer”, but just to have someone listen to me who “got me”.

The Answer

Anyway, these lovely women gave me lots of support and encouragement, suggesting things like in-person markets and fairs, so that people can actually see and touch and hold my journals, which are so tactile, and are really 3D pieces of art, as well as being eminently practical journals.

They shared with me that times are tough for them too, what with all the economic uncertainty in the world right now, and that they are getting more sales at in-person events rather than online.

But more than that they talked about feelings. They asked me how it makes me feel … and reminded me that I can choose to feel bad about it, or I can see it as clarity and awareness … and that there’s no Right Way to Feel or Wrong Way to Feel.

There’s just how you feel.

My good friend, Gemma James, suggested that I ask myself some questions …

What can I do to change how I feel?

What can I do to change the way I’m doing things?

Could I start all over again in a new direction?

Is there something new that I could try that would change the way I do business?

Gemma also reminded me that it’s okay if I don’t want to do any of it anymore … it’s my business, my life, and I am allowed to “own up” to what I really and truly want, and it really doesn’t matter what other people think about me or my decisions.

She suggested that I get clear on what it is that I actually want.

Am I willing to do other things and make changes in my biz, so that I might make more sales?

Do I want to do those things?

She said, “Give it a go. Try a market or a craft fair or try getting your journals stocked in a shop … and if it doesn’t work for you, then there’s the answer to that.”

She finished her message to me, “You’re amazing, and you’re wonderful, and the world deserves to know you; you just get to figure out in what way!”

So, I Journaled It Out

a woman's hands writing in a journal
journal it out

Getting back to the whole point of this blog (remember, I’m supposed to be giving you an example of how journaling can help you, even when you’re stuck with a blank page, or a confused mind, or a quandary) …

so, I journaled it out.

And here’s what came up for me, after all those amazingly supportive messages …

Honestly? I wouldn’t want to do markets every week; weekends are too precious. The odd craft fair would be fine.

So, what I’m going to do is try a couple of craft fairs; and I’m also going to see if I can find some shops or galleries that might stock my journals.

But here’s the really important thing …

I actually love making the journals.

I love making the cyanotypes.

I love being creative.

I love writing.

4 a selection of hand bound journals, featuring wildflowers, a fountain pen, flower petals
a selection of my journals

I even love creating the social media posts, because I love playing with photographs and words (and Canva)!

So, what I’m going to do, is let go of the need to make loads of money from it, and just do it because I love it.

And keep on putting things out there on Amazon and Redbubble, so that some passive income comes in.

I don’t want to stop doing all the things I love to do.

Stop With The Beating Yourself Up, Already!

What I DO want to stop is beating myself up for not making loads of sales.

I want to stop putting so much pressure on myself to constantly be “on it”, and go a bit easier on myself.

It’s time to stop feeling like I’m a failure because I’m not making money from my biz yet.

I’m making beautiful things, which makes me happy.

I’m being creative, which is what I’ve always wanted to be.

I’m writing all the time, which is what I’ve always wanted to do.

And if I hadn’t started this journey, I wouldn’t have connected with all of the completely awesome and amazing women that I now know.

I’m doing pretty well for an introvert who always felt on the outside of every social circle, from primary school all the way through secondary school, college, and pretty much my whole adult life!

I am so grateful to all of those lovely, supportive women for sending me messages of encouragement.

Time to ditch the self-pity.

Focus on just doing what I love to do.

Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you respond to it … a wise woman told me that!

Why Do I Do What I Do?

Why do I do what I do? Yes, it would be amazing to make my living being creative, but it’s not the only reason I do it.

I love that I make beautiful prints.

I love the process, the alchemy of cyanotypes, the mess, the flowers.

a cyanotype print during the cyanotype development process, featuring daisies
a cyanotype print during the cyanotype development process, featuring daisies
a cyanotype at the end of the development process, just before it's washed
a cyanotype at the end of the development process, just before it’s washed
a finished cyanotype print featuring daisies
a finished cyanotype print featuring daisies

I love that I make beautiful books.

I truly believe that we all deserve beautiful journals to write in.

I love that I write every day.

a handbound journal with cyanotype print covers, pressed poppies, a fountain pen
a handbound journal with cyanotype print covers
an open hand bound journal, pressed red poppies, a fountain pen
an open hand bound journal

I love my life.

And my life is a creative one.

And that is enough.

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 here.

Or you can follow me on Facebook or Instagram … I talk about journaling a lot! 😁✍🏻

And if you’d like to treat yourself to one of my beautiful hand bound journals, check out my British Craft House Shop. 📚📘📖

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