Choose a notebook as your companion.

It is very interesting to notice the popularity of Bullet Journals over the last couple of years. A Bullet Journal, named by its creator Ryder Carrol as “The analogue system for the digital age”, is a diary/notebook/planner/tracker/etc., which anyone can produce with only one notebook and a pen. All over the internet, we can see people who jumped at this opportunity to express their creativity in a physical medium. Websites such as Little Coffee Fox and Boho Berry show very creative ways of doing your own Bullet Journal.

 
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This phenomenon made me reflect on the value of hand writing and hand drawing. In an age when everything is digital, physical notebooks, pens and brushes gain added value, becoming conscious choices instead of obvious mediums. I am not sure what makes it so satisfactory to go back to paper - would it be the novelty? The immediacy? The physical action?

Especially for those of us who spend the day in front of a computer screen, using an analogue system to unleash our creativity can have great benefits. I have listed them below for you, hoping that you may want to try it someday:

1 - It's a great way to relax. We spend so many hours staring at our black mirrors, it can be quite calming to look at a piece of paper instead. Let your hands trace lines, doodle, write, draw what you see. 

 
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2 - Having a notebook with you at all times can be a fantastic way to keep track of your ideas. Whatever comes to your mind, you can note it with a flexibility that digital mediums don't often allow. Plus, it has the added benefit of keeping all ideas, even the ones you ditch. Unlike a laptop, it is still possible to read under the cross line. Slim notebooks that don't take up much space are ideal are ideal for this purpose. Get into the habit of using it whenever an idea comes to mind. Doodle on it when you're lacking inspiration. Above all, don't be afraid of using it!

 
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3 - A Bullet Journal creates an opportunity to express your creativity. Due to its flexibility, it can be used to write down ideas, little stories, random overheard conversations, sketches, holiday memories. It also makes for an excellent keepsake of past memories - having your whole year on a personalised notebook, all done by yourself. I find myself writing and drawing much more since I have my Bullet Journal there, ready for my doodles any time of the week.

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4 - A pen is versatile: you can use it anywhere. It doesn't matter if your phone ran out of battery, or if you forgot your sketchbook at home.  You can always use paper napkins, or even scribble on the back of a flyer. It is a good idea to have a folder where you place all these random papers full of brilliant ideas.

The main point is to keep the habit of registering you ideas, weather in drawing or written format.  Sometimes a simple doodle is a great way to access your subconscious mind.

Homework

Now that you have a notebook, try the following for a week:

Day 1 - Let your hand draw freely. Don’t plan ahead, don’t make an effort. Just doodle. Above all, don’t fall into the trap of self judgement.

Day 2 - Go to a cafe and relax. Look and listen. Find what captures your imagination. Is it the ambient music? Is it a conversation on a table next to you? Is it the book that the lady on the corner is reading? It is the silhouettes of people outside, dark against the bright sunshine?
Whatever it is, let it find a way into your notebook. By drawing, by writing, by whatever medium you want. Glue what you want on your notebook. Once again, suspend self judgement.

Day 3 - Register your day. You can write just a sentence, a little doodle, perhaps the highlights of the day in bullet points.

Day 4 - Ask someone to use your notebook. Give them an empty page to do whatever they want. Add your own mark to their page.

Day 5 - Try to come up with an idea. Draw, write and scribble until it comes up. The important thing is: keep tracing lines on the paper.

Day 6 - Write a list of your favourites. Books? Films? Places? People? You choose.

Day 7 - Last day of the experiment. Now that you're acquainted with your notebook, do with it whatever you like - no pressure, no boundaries. 

I hope you enjoy the company of this new friend!