New participants frequently struggle with the issue of whether to post their fake journal publicly or to keep a private fake journal.
I encourage all first time participants to consider how they can best serve their creative process.
If the issues they want to confront in their fake journal are intensely private, or simply intense, I think it is best for them to not post their journal entries in their inaugural year. Instead I suggest they keep a private document through the month and after April decide what if any of it will be publicly displayed. (Perhaps only a portion with a wrap-up which they could supply to me to be posted here. See “Wrap-ups” in the category list.)
In this way new participants avoid dealing with a barrage of questions that range from the “I’m confused, what are you doing this month?” to the “You know, you really SHOULD have done X differently, and Y doesn’t make sense in the construction you’ve created.” From the well-meaning to the snide, comments can derail the creator if he isn’t firmly fixed on a goal or a course of action.
If this is your first time going through the process I recommend that you consider this approach. The most important thing about your participation in this project is that you work with and protect your creative process.
If you have consideredthis and decided that you are going to go ahead with public posting read thispost from last year about getting on the participants’ blog roll list for thisyear.
Past participants can still write to me via email immediately and provide me with a link for the participants’ list.
The only thing that is changing for new participants is that you can write to me as soon as you have 6 entries completed (which for most people will mean they will write to me the morning of April 7). The email should come to me at rozjournalrat at gmail dot com and the subject line must read "Participants List."
Please be patient if you do not see your name go up on the blog roll immediately. IFJM is something that I do for fun. Work and eldercare often keep me away from the computer for long stretches and my first duty when returning to the computer is work. If you don’t see your name on the participants’ list in 4 days, then I recommend that you write to me again checking that you have used the right subject line. (It’s how I locate appropriate messages in the stream of mail we all get these days.) I also tend to do things in “blocks.” So if I get one notice from someone but am pressed for time I will often wait until I have 3 or 4 people to add to the list at the same time—time management rules here.
Another question I get about posting publicly is whether or not you need a dedicated blog for IFJM.
The simple answer is no.
But of course it’s more complex than that.
Most participants create a dedicated blog because they like to separate their IJFM entries from their regular work, their regular blog posts, the eyes of their clients or friends and family who wouldn’t understand the IFJM entries, or the project in general.
Our friends and family certainly don’t need to know everything we do. And our clients probably shouldn’t.
Separating your IFJM work onto a dedicated IFJM blog also prevents the possibility of confusing people you know and eliminates the “helpful” comments received from people who aren’t involved in IFJM.
Participants setting up a dedicated IFJM blog insulate themselves from well-meaning “negative” comments or sarcastic comments from passive aggressive types such as “Gee I see you have a lot of time on your hands.” (To which of course the only possible reply is, “Yes I manage m y time very well, thank you. Sorry you don’t.”)
The reasons to create a dedicated IFJM blog are countless and individual. I recommend you stop and consider your unique situation.
If you go ahead with incorporating your IFJM entries into your regular blog post stream be sure to devise a way to link them through tagging and grouping available on your platform. In the link provided in the participants’ list you will only have that FIRST POST’S link. Once readers are on your blog they must immediately see how to navigate and discover your other IJFM post or they will become frustrated and leave.
That defeats the point of public posting—especially when you are frustrating the one definitely interested group of readers.
Another possible way to deal with confusion when posting on a regular blog is to group all your week’s IFJM output into one weekly post. Perhaps each Friday you compile a post giving all your previous week’s entries, or every Sunday. Whatever works for you. This will enable readers to see more of your IFJM work quickly and easily, and the continuity of your IFJM posts and journal will not be constantly interrupted by other posts.
I’ve found in the past that people without dedicated blogs have more frustrating interaction with their regular blog readers about the project and that is not helpful but intrusive to the creative process.
Make it as easy as possible for those who want to find your IFJM entries to do so. Going through a lot of unrelated posts is something you think might be fun for them and maybe you would like feedback on your other work, but in reality the fake journal people are often only interested in your fake stuff during April (they can return another time) and will skip most of the other posts. They are busy and have to get back to their own fakery. (In the past several years several participants have asked that I make dedicated blogs mandatory and these are just some of the reasons they have expressed.)
Also, think hard about what your topic and parameters in your fake journal are going to be. Will it be something you can post in a general purpose blog or a general purpose art blog?
Blogger and Word Press are two entities that offer free blogs if you decide to go with a dedicated IFJM blog. You can then link your fake journal blog to your original blog with an opening and closing post.
In the past some participants have used Flickr to post their fake journal entries. Personally I find Flickr difficult to use, navigate around, and just get to where I want to go and have a sense of flow. Because of that I am always frustrated when trying to view entries posted there, and frankly give up at the first frustration.
I have feedback from others that I am not alone in this. If you post on Flickr because it is easiest for you to do so, that’s great. Keep your posting process as simple as possible for YOU, so that you will be able to spend your time working on your project. But remember to make it as easy as possible for people who are trying to view your Flickr entries.
This year we have a new way to post entries. There is now a Facebook Group for International Fake Journal Month.
Currently this is a public group and you can contact me at the group to get admitted. Past participants have suggested that this group become a private group once the month starts. This will enable new participants to post “publicly” to a public who knows what they are doing and can be encouraging. Whether you post there or not you are encouraged to join us there in IFJM-related conversations (though we probably will be all busy working on our journals?).
Go forward whichever way works best for you—because the focus should remain on the creation of the fake journal and NOTHING should get in the way of that—do what is easiest.
And speaking of making it easy—I have written numerous times in tips, tips on fake journaling, and book selection (to name just a couple categories) that you need to consider how easy it will be to scan or photography your fake journal if you intend to post it (or digitally archive it). If you keep your journal size to a size that will fit open on your scanner so that you can scan a page spread in its entirety you’ll have one scan, not two which need joining in Photoshop. Believe me this time adds up and takes away from time you could be working in your journal.
(Take a moment to look through the category list for tips on media, paper, book selection as well as writing tips. There is also a blog search engine. This stuff is all there for you to look over. It's there to help you strategize some of these issues so that you can have a more effortless and creativity focused experience.)
Last year I deliberately went with an oversized page: 22 x 30 inches. I made this choice because that was what was necessary for the character. But I knew going into that year that I would not try to post entries daily. I knew I would only photograph a couple images as I went along. Most of the images would not be seen until the end of the month “show” where they were all up up on a wall. At that point I had a professional photographer shoot gigapans of the fake show. These images allow the viewer to zoom in on the details to a higher degree than even a quality scan allows.
EVERY CHOICE you make for your fake journal will impact the ease with which the project runs and finishes. The easier the housekeeping aspects of your project remain the less frustrating your month will be.
With that in mind take a moment to consider the media you have selected for use this month. Is it something that will be easily scanned or photographed? For example graphite works are notoriously difficult to photograph (believe me I always groan when given graphite work to use in my work projects). With most scanners graphite work is a bit easier to handle, but even then there are some pitfalls requiring extra handling so that the impact of your work comes through. Consider such constraints as you move forward with your choices for International Fake Journal Month.
It is my goal in sharing this project and encouraging people to participate that the focus stays always on the creation of their work and the value this exercise can return to them at the end of the project.
Let’s have a great April!