The 2018 the tagline/theme is "Translating the Inevitable."
What does that mean? You decide. Or rather your character decides. Your IFJM Character can either embrace the theme or ignore the theme. That's always been the option for participants.
If you look in the sidebar right now you'll see the "button" for IFJM 2018 right at the top. Maybe the image will inspire a mood, an idea, a character, a style or method of approach.
Daily Prompts Available This YearBut wait—there is a change to IFJM this year. There will be daily prompts!
Yep. Last fall I was talking to a group of students. It struck me how some journal keepers, regardless of how long they've been at visual journaling really love prompts. (Readers will know that I typically find prompts annoying and use them as "anti-prompts" by doing the exact opposite.)
My goal, since 2001 has been to get more people involved in this exploration of journaling and of their own creative approach. The constraints of IFJM allow participants to explore creativity from the mind of another character and how each participant chooses to do this will tell them a lot about his or her own creative process. What each participant chooses to work on, whether it's the minutia of life or the finessing of a style, again brings insight.
In an effort to open up IFJM to even more participants I've decided that this year I will supply prompts. These are prompts that you'll respond to AS YOUR CHARACTER.
I thought that this approach might help people new to visual journaling, or new to IFJM to decrease the time spent on their projects so that they could actually find the time to participate. People comfortable working with prompts will find that their character's first response to a prompt is what they'll act on and in no time the page will be completed. (Well in less time than if you are having to sort through all the ideas in the universe.)
Your character's responses to the prompts will also tell you more and more about your character and his or her likes, dislikes, approaches, values, whatever.
How The Prompts Will WorkBut you know me, I couldn't be content with a simple list of prompts. And we are translating the inevitable this year…this is how it will work.
There are FIVE (5) lists of prompts for IFJM 2018.
You can elect to use one list alone throughout the celebration. You can use a prompt from more than one list each day. You can use all five prompts each and every day. Or you can use some of the prompts some of the time and some of them all of the time. You get the idea.
Which list(s) of prompts you select is the first step in learning about and deciding on your character (more about this in a moment). There are no wrong selections! There is simply a selection and then your character's response to it.
Each day from Sunday, April 1, 2018 until Monday, April 30, 2018 I will post ONE prompt from each of the FIVE lists—so five prompts. These will go up at 3 a.m. CST on the day. If you're in some other time zone or country where this means you'll get the prompts a day early or late—just work for 30 days, one day at a time, using the prompts for the numerical day they were released. You get the idea.
Don't get wrapped in knots about this. Use the prompts or not. That's your choice.
I was going to say it's your character's choice but here's something I would like you to think about:
Because of the nature of the different prompts I encourage you to think about using them as part of your character's fake day.
For instance one of the categories is found dialogue. To use the daily found dialogue prompt I encourage you to go about your day and when you go into character do what your character is going to do, let's say you're at the zoo and your character sketches. Then pretend that you hear the found dialogue there at the zoo. Incorporate it into your page or page spread as something your character actually overheard.
I know this is a little bit of a departure because you are pretending your character overheard this dialog and before I've asked you to snap into your character and respond to your life as things are happening to you and use that for the grist of your entries. But many of you have already gone back and forth over this line so I don't think any of us will have our heads explode!
The important thing is that the prompt you choose is used in a reaction by your character.
What Are The Prompt Categories?List A: Finish This Sentence… (Obviously a new unfinished sentence will be supplied each day and you can use it as something your character is thinking about.)
List B: Questions That Your Character Asks Himself or Herself
List C: Quotations that your character comes across during the day—which triggers something for him or her creatively.
List D: Found Dialog—these are bits of conversation that are overheard by your character and he or she finds them worthy of noting down and perhaps responding to.
List E: Objects—this list provides a series of visual journaling prompts so that your character's attention will be directed to drawing certain physical objects. This list is open to a lot of interpretation by your character. I'm encouraging you to use this list to think about the situation and thoughts of the character. I also suggest that you think of the sounds, smells, and all the ways YOUR CHARACTER'S senses register the subject of the prompt.
Why Can't I Get All The Prompts Now?
I want the prompts to be a surprise to all of us every morning. I've actually already created the lists but I have a random number generator which will select a prompt from each list for each day.
This means that there won't be any advance cherry picking from the lists, any pre-planning of entries (which isn't journaling), or combining of "obvious" choices to force your character's responses.
It also means that if I elect to use the prompts I can't know what's coming up and push my own character. (I'm not sure if I'm going to use the prompts yet or not. Originally I though I'd use all five every day, but life is a bit involved for me to get my head around that right now.)
I will release a PDF of all five lists at the end of the month—in their date order so you can save them for your records or your own journaling if you like.
This Sounds Too Complicated To MeDon't over think this. Just as the tagline/theme is something participants can choose to embrace or ignore, so too are the prompt lists. They provide the possibility for an added layer of fun and understanding of one's character. They are meant to quickly spark ideas and speed your time creating your page—remember I suggest that each daily entry be completed in 30 minutes or less.
People who follow that recommendation typically finish 30 entries with the least amount of disruption to the rest of their lives.
What Do I Need To Do Now?The main thing you need to do right now is decide if you're going to participate in IFJM 2018.
If you are, go and friend me on Facebook. Once you've done that you can ask me on Facebook to put you in the Facebook Group for International Fake Journal Month. There you'll meet other folks who have participated before and are busy getting ready for their celebration. (This is the same Facebook group we used last year so if you are in that group you don't need to contact me. Just go there.)
This supportive group posts their entries as they are completed and you'll be able to read along during April.
I Hate Facebook So How Do I Participate?
So do I. Don't worry, you don't have to be on Facebook to participate in IFJM.
1. You can keep a fake journal that is private and only for you. When April is over if you feel so inclined you can write about your experience in the celebration and send that wrap-up to me in an email with to jpgs to accompany it. I'll explain how to do a wrap-up at then end of April. I'll put any wrap-ups I receive on this blog as a post. (You can also send a link to your wrap-up blog post if you post about your experience after April 30 on your personal blog.)
2. You can post images from your fake journal on your regular blog. If you do item this, at the end of the month you can send me a URL to the first post of your 2018 fake journal and I'll add you to the list of posters that is on this blog's page (see the side bar).
3. You can post images from your fake journal on a blog dedicated to your 2018 IFJM journal. If you do item this, after you have posted at least 6 entries this year, you can send me a link to the HOME page of your DEDICATED IFJM BLOG. I'll add you to the list of posters that is on this blog's page (see the side bar).
I'm Still Not Sure What IFJM IS And How To Begin To Participate
Still don't understand IFJM? Read this post to find out about it. You'll also learn the difference between Faux, Fake, and Fake Historical Journals. (Faux—is all done in a clump, it's fiction writing and not what we're doing. Also, I don't recommend you try a fake historical journal for reasons explained in the post. We are doing FAKE journaling—journaling in the character's mind at a specific time in the present moment, just as journaling takes place.)
If you go to the top of the home page you will also find links to some of my past fake journals. Click on them to get an idea about what's going on.
If you want more information on getting started and keeping going please go to the category cloud in the right-hand column of this blog and look for the following key words:
tips, tips on fake journaling, creative planning, creative play, definitions, finding your character, paper selection, media selection, choosing a journal.
That will get you started.
The Key Guidelines To Follow
The only catch is that you need to date your entries in present time, as your character completes them, i.e., April 1, 2009, 8 p.m.; April 3, 2009, 4 a.m.; and so on.
Oh, and it has to be a self-contained journal, not your regular journal. (That's two catches.) It can however take any physical form your character wants to use, a specially bound journal, loose pages all collected together—it's up to your character and how he/she wants to work.)
Remember the main thing to decide right now is whether or not you are going to participate. The next step is to decide if you want to prepare or just start on April first. There are two schools of thought on approach. I've done both with great success.
Look in the categories list for topics on preparation to help you decide if you want to prepare and what you need to do to prepare if you want to prepare.
In the next few days I will be posting a "Character Check List." I haven't done this before, but I told the Facebook group last year I was thinking of it and there was interest, so watch for that.
Remember IFJM is for fun. It gives you an opportunity to explore the mind and art of someone else. It gives you the opportunity to work in a different style or with a different medium.
Additional I have found that keeping a fake journal has helped many of my students get over some rather strident internal critic issues. Look, if you aren't creating the pages your internal critic can't tell you that "you suck" because it isn't your work. You can look at the work and assess it from a step removed. You can practice telling your internal critic to shut up. All of that is just one added bonus.
The main reason for keeping a fake journal is that—
Life's so short, why live only one?