Why should artists journal? What could there possibly be to write about? I have noticed over the past couple of months that I personally journal more than I initially realized I did before I gave it serious thought. To give you a description, I have one journal that I write in like a diary, recording things I am learning, quotations I wish to remember, events that are significant, a daily list of things for which I am thankful, thoughts, feelings, patterns I notice in my life, goals, and other miscellany. Another (separate) journal I maintain on a daily basis is a business log of all the work I complete during the course of a day. This helps me keep track of important contacts, dates of possible future concerts, progress on any projects I am in the middle of, work done at home or away from home, errands run, strategic planning, commissions, songs or articles written, and so forth. Being a self-employed, entrepreneurial, performing artist, composer, and author, this log helps me both assign and complete the work I set out to do according to goals set and projected timelines.
Yet another notebook is used to log in my daily practice time including start and end times and total number of minutes practiced, as well as the instrument and repertoire. This log is necessary, because with several projects on my plate at once, I have to have a system through which I plan enough preparation in advance of a project, so my practice log is a wonderful way I can keep my commitment to practicing for jazz shows, symphony concerts, church solo repertoire, and any impending piano performances. I also write about any problems, challenges, or victories/revelations that come to light in each practice session. I’ve been encouraging my students for many years to journal about their practice sessions and things they learn when they delve into the music and text. Music provides so much that we can learn and apply to life, but to continue to be a student willing to absorb learning takes continued discipline long after our schooling is done…
Still another log is used to record my physical exercise. For this I use my old-fashioned day planner (a small notebook, not a computer or phone) so that I can quickly access and chart my schedule of workouts, recording which workout I did on which day. Since I aim to cover cardio, weight training, stretching, yoga and various body-targeted regimens each week, recording them in my calendar is necessary so that I don’t miss any or skip the ever-important and long-awaited “rest” day when it comes around in the rotation. 🙂
I strongly maintain that I am more apt to remember something I wrote longer than something I typed or clicked into a digital calendar, so I am glad to keep with the familiar written word when I record all of these daily tasks. I have started something else called an illustrated discovery journal (suggested by Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance) in which I cut, paste and write things I love–it is more of a scissor/paper type of journaling system in which I have fun drawing pictures and writing in colored markers when I’m feeling the need to be juvenile… All told, my journaling habits have expanded and evolved over time to include so many aspects of my daily life. When disciplined routines become necessary, I embrace this long-practiced habit and am thankful to have been shown at a young age the benefits of journaling and the myriad ways it can be utilized to accomplish one’s goals for work and personal growth!