Welcome to International Fake Journal Month 2013!

What is IFJM?
Please read the page "What Is IFJM" for details.
Learn the difference between Faux, Fake, and Fake Historical Journals.

2019 IFJM Celebration
IFJM has been suspended indefinitely. Please read the pinned post about this below.

Participants who Post Their Journals
A list of 2018 participants who are posting their fake journals this year will appear near the top of the right side bar of this blog around April 6. Lists of participants who posted their pages in 2010 through 2017 appear lower in the same column. Please pay them a visit and check out their fake journals.

View a Couple of Roz's Past Fake Journals
Roz's 2009 fake journal takes place in an alternate Twin Cites, where disease has killed the human and bird populations. (It ends up being an upbeat tale of friendship.) Watch a video flip through of Roz's 2009 fake journal here.

Read an explanation of Roz's insanely complex 2011 fake journal.

Tips on Keeping a Fake Journal
Click on "tips" in the category cloud.

Remember, "Life's so short, why live only one?"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When Enough is Enough: Stopping Your Fake Journal?

It's past the half-way mark for people who started their fake journal on April 1. I thought this would be a good time to discuss stopping early.

Here's a little secret. This year, 2011, I experienced a huge epiphany on day two of my fake journal. (I started before April for logistical reasons, which means that on March 27 the light bulb turned on.) The epiphany was so clear, so loud and persistent, that I felt confident I'd learned what I needed from the experience and could stop. I didn't stop, however. I'm holding out for a couple more epiphanies, or so much irritation that I can't wait to get back to my own life full time. But I wanted to share thoughts with you on when to throw in the towel on your fake journal.

1. If you're uneasy, uncomfortable, maybe a little queasy, scared, frustrated, and your feet don't feel right in your shoes: Keep Working!

Don't quit on the time table of your internal critic or your subconscious or even your general habit (which might be to end things early). Quit on your own terms.
a. Assess the situation. Ask where the discomfort is coming from. Think about how you might be able to address that discomfort by changing media, making more time to work on your journal, taking less time to work on your journal, etc. Make a list of what comes up in your questioning and address it.

b. Consider ways to tighten up your goals by scaling back on the scope and breadth of your project. (Do 30 minutes a day, instead of one hour. Do one page a day instead of one page spread. Stick to only one type of medium. Stick with or return to a medium you are comfortable using.)

c. Focus on finishing the project rather than posting your results daily on a blog or website. For some people the scanning and posting adds too many extra steps to their already time-squeezed days. Finish your journal project first, then in MAY scan and post your results. The project is important—not when you post. (Alternately some people may find it helps to post everyday to get their momentum moving.)
2. If you have an earth shattering epiphany about your creative process—don't stop your fake journal. Keep going another two days while you take time to also think about that epiphany and what it means in your life. After two days of digestion, you'll know whether there is any point in continuing the fake journal, e.g., "I found out X, now what else can I find out?" Literally ask yourself that. (This is the position I was in this year.)

3. If your whole life seems topsy-turvy, the dishes aren't getting done, and you feel so much stress some other aspect of your life is becoming unhealthy (e.g., you see your coffee consumption increase), back off of the project and participate three days a week, or even one or two days a week only. You'll keep up the momentum. You'll still learn something. You won't be giving in to your internal critic.

In any type of exercise, physical or creative, we have to push ourselves past our current ability and habits and patterns. It's where the growth and learning take place. But part of that growth and learning comes in the form of new knowledge about ourselves and how far we can push without collapse.

Keep that in mind as you work in your fake journal. You are pushing to get stronger, not to wear yourself out.

Don't quit—assess and stop on your terms.

As for me, yep, I'm still working in my journal, even though I have a sense of my limitations with the project and really want to start exploring the epiphany further. I know two things. 1. The epiphany, if genuine, will hold for another two weeks. And 2. I know enough about myself to know that there's more to come out of this process if I hold in there for the month. (I know this about myself because I've done these types of projects over and over again. If this is the first time you have done something like this you might be learning this for the first time.)

I also know I'll enjoy the completeness of it—we get so little completeness in real life. I also know that at the last hour, in the last push, some final barrier will part and I'll get even more. (Again because I've done this before.)

The deal is to know yourself, and to give yourself a chance to grow. If you want to stop, look at the steps above. Think again.

If you still want to stop after your assessment, do so on your terms, knowing that you do it because it's right to do so at this time. Take a moment to write down what you have learned, the difficulties you've encountered, what you could have planned for better, and so on. Basically take some time to honor the project by debriefing yourself. Allow an hour at least, and do it on the day you decide to end the project. It is important to do it when all of your reasons are fresh in your mind.

By honoring your project in this way you can walk away from it with self-learning, while your internal critic just stands there slack-jawed, and powerless.

Here's another secret, which isn't all that secret, because I've written about it here before. What you learn keeping a fake journal can be applied to your daily life, your real journal. If you have always wanted to keep a real journal but have always stopped for some reason, now is the time to set yourself a new goal, one month of real journaling. And during that month, if you feel you aren't going to fit it in your life, go through these steps and assessments.

Journaling isn't for everyone. People process their lives differently. You won't know if journaling is really an activity and process for you, however, until you really honor the process and give it a fair shot. Queasy stomach and uncomfortable feet and all.

The quicker you show up and assess journaling as it might fit in your life and process the quicker you'll be able to get on with it—or move on and find that process which really does speak to you and your creative needs.


anne m bray said...

I have the opposite problem.
I don't think I'll be able to stop!
I love my SpyGirl persona.
Hope this doesn't mean that I need therapy. Haha.

Miss T said...

Wonderful post, Roz. I haven't had the urge to stop, but some days are tougher than others, and this midway point is a great time to step back and assess and think about whether or not my process needs tweaking.

freebird said...

My journal has become my trip journal unintentionally but is fine with me. My epiphany is that I have fun seeing through the eyes of a dog (so maybe some cat, bird or something else in the future) and it's made me look for things to put in my trip journal that I may not have before. This is something for me to explore more I find rather than put it away at the end of the month.

journalrat said...

Anne, I don't worry about you at all! Not only because you've been through the process before, but because you've obviously come up with a persona that feeds you. You do not need therapy!

journalrat said...

Miss T. Glad you haven't had the urge to stop. Some people get through the entire month without such an urge, and some folks experience that urge 10 seconds into their first entry. It's all a factor of so many things. I'm all for assessing at the midpoint and I hope yours goes well.

journalrat said...

Freebird, I'm glad that you are having fun and seeing things with new eyes!

jeanette, mistress of longears said...

You must be a mindreader....or perhaps we are twins separated at birth. Toward the end of last week, the fake journal suddenly felt burdensome...things had been coming so quickly that I couldn't draw fast enough. So I cut back my posts and suddenly last night I had a new inspiration, one that gives me a way to actually make my original idea work! I had just plunged in without actually knowing just how the direct descendants of Peter the Rabbit ended up in Kansas at Longears. So, no, I won't be quitting soon and in fact, I'm beginning to think this could be a very long saga. But I'll worry about that later! I can't wait for the paint to dry so I can write on today's page!

Denise T said...

Great post Roz- I had trouble being fake! I had taxes and a big work project and worried I wouldn't continue. I also in the past kept a journal and have for 5-6 years wanted to start again. I love my fake journal and it does offer fun and escape in sometimes stressful days. I don't worry about my art- although I find I MUST try and be happy with it and I am! Thanks