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.

Contests for 2013
See the right-hand sidebar for links to details on the 2013 Contests OR click here.

Participants who Post Their Journals
A list of 2013 participants who are posting their fake journals this year appears near the top of the right side bar of this blog. Lists of participants who posted their pages in 2010, 2011, and 2012 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?"

Showing posts with label internal critic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label internal critic. Show all posts

Monday, May 19, 2014

2014 International Fake Journal Month Wrap-Up: Christine Mitzuk

Above: Journal spread ©2014 Christine Mitzuk. See below for more details. Gouache in the Delta Series Stillman & Birn journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This week I'm going to be posting the wrap-ups participants have sent me about their experience of IFJM 2014.

These posts always make me very happy because we get to see creative work of a daily sort, even if we simply get a glimpse.

Today's artist is Christine Mitzuk. She is an extremely talented artist who trained at The Atelier in Minneapolis. There she teaches the Gesture Figure Study Class and Illustration. I have taken her Gesture class multiple times and hope to return to it as soon as my shoulders are ready. She rounds up great models, gets the best poses out of them, and pushes her students to look carefully and see stories in gestures (so it isn't surprising she also teaches illustration).

She is teaching a week-long illustration workshop in July.

Recently she created art for Llewellyn's 2014 Astrological Calendar. You can see these lovely paintings on her site.

You can also keep up with Christine and her art life through her blog.

Above: Another page spread ©2014 Christine Mitzuk, from her 2014 Fake Journal. Christine was exploring spacescapes and inventing spaceships, drawing from her imagination. Gouache in the Delta Series Stillman & Birn journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Christine has put up with my rambling on and on about International Fake Journal Month for some time now, and this year she decided to participate privately. (That means she didn't post her pages.)

At the end of April, however Christine sent me a note telling me she'd enjoyed IFJM. She gave me permission to post these two images which are spreads from her 2014 fake journal. She gave this explanation of her approach:

Since I'm usually drawn to organic subjects instead of mechanical, I opted for doing spacescapes and inventing spaceships. 
I found it useful to restrain my inner critic. Now I'm looking forward to keeping a journal where I draw out of my head...well it seems more manageable now.  
I have to say I'm excited to check back in with Christine and see how she works in her journal going forward, drawing from imagination.

I think one of the fun things about IFJM is that it can point you in new directions you might not have thought of going before, or it can remove any remaining delays in taking those directions. You can have so much fun in IFJM (and work so hard) that there is really no point in waiting to go on other explorations.

I hope next year those of you reading this week's wrap up posts will consider taking an imaginary journal of your own. Like Christine you'll return with some fabulous visual mementos.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Using Your Fake Journal to Fight Creative Blocks

I've been getting a lot of private notes recently from people who are interested in using IFJM as a tool to fight creative blocks. The blocks all vary and are individually tailored (of course, that's how it works), but several are "blocks to keeping a journal." And keeping a fake journal can be used to clear that block in a variety of ways. I wrote about a few of those ways in a note on my other blog to a reader who asked about this publicly on Roz Wound Up, and I think my note might be useful to some folks reading this blog.

Keep in mind that in order to get your April experience going you will need to do a little bit of work in the next couple of days to prepare—you'll need to sit with your REAL journal and ask yourself a few questions so that you can avoid the same issues in your fake set up.

Here's my advice:
IFJM can be a great tool for fighting blockage, for really looking at the cause and finding ways to work around it in your life. 
Be sure to find a way to really limit the time involvement you require each day for your fake journal so that working in the journal doesn't become yet another instigator of blockage, e.g., "I don't have time for the fake journal I really have to do such and such." 
Find something that you can do in 15 minutes or less. 
Think about a character who always puts art or observation first. Imagine what it's like to have a regular appointment for that 15 minutes, or set up situations for the month where you will have outings or instances where you will have 15 minutes at odd times to sketch and journal. 
I would also suggest you keep you supplies to a minimum so you aren't side-tracked with thinking "which medium will I use today?"—picking one medium to use for the whole month and to explore with is something totally doable in 15 minutes a day. 
Also think of what it is you want to say and do in your REAL journal and then ask yourself why you don't do that. (This is best done before IFJM begins. Set an appointment to write, or also do it in small bursts of time as thoughts come to you during the day—just write down what pops into your head and look at it all at the end of the day.) 
Next think about a character who 1. either doesn't want to do those things in his/her journal so you'll do the exact opposite of what YOU would do during the month in his or her journal, or 2. someone who does those things and what does that person's life look like? All of that will help you get into the character for 15 minutes a day. 
And lastly realize that your character is going to have a totally different dialogue with his/her internal critic because he/she isn't blocked. What is that dialog like? That character won't write or journal about that because it is just a fact of life, so you might, when you think of this (maybe before you go to bed at night) take a few minutes to write in your REAL journal about that.  

Remember habit building happens in 28 days. It's more important to get something done in the habit building time than to create something great! First you have to get the habit in place. That's another reason IFJM and fake journals are a good way to start a journaling habit—because you are doing something daily for 30 days. (Remember you don't run a record marathon your first day of training, you may only run around the block. If you're using IFJM to break a creative block on journaling focus on running around the block each day, the rest will come later after you have the habit.)

Also keep in mind that life happens. If you're using IFJM to combat a tendency not to journal and already have a habit of avoiding or putting off journaling when life happens you'll need to work harder to avoid that habit during IFJM and find ways to meet that 15 minutes a day you've set for yourself. That will be difficult for most people in this situation.

And it will feel UNCOMFORTABLE, because breaking a habit (here the habit of avoidance) is an uncomfortable process. Habits (either good or bad) feel good and comfortable to our minds and our bodies because they are habits (ask anyone who's ever tried to change his life in the smallest way). But if we persevere in the breaking of bad habits, by creating new habits, we have much to gain. It's worth a bit of discomfort.

If your blockage is not about journaling but instead is about using one particular medium or one technique more the equation is a bit simpler—you simply substitute that medium or technique into the time you already spend journaling, just for the month. This doesn't mean you won't do any regular journaling, but you may find you do less of that in April. Any habit change is going to take some accommodation and adjustment in the rest of our life.

Again, it might feel uncomfortable to use the different medium you elect to stick with, or it might be difficult to start at the beginning with a new technique. You are still breaking out of your comfort zone and your internal critic is going to jump out and let you have it.

All your character latitude to deal with the internal critic in his or her own way—you might learn some new techniques you can bring back to your real life.

Remember too to be kind to yourself. If you miss a day don't beat yourself up. Just make sure you work first thing the next morning, or set a watch alarm for a time later in the day and keep that appointment regardless of how you feel at the time. It's "just do it" time. Get into your character's mode. Remember too that your character doesn't have blockage, doesn't have a reason to stop so you can be assured that the next day he/she won't even see today's miss as a blip on the grand continuum of life. That's where you want to put your focus too, on that continuum.

One more thing. However wonderful it may be to share your work with others as you go through this journey, and however much you count on people's support when you share your work, if you are working on a block of any sort it may be best not to share your work during April.

I tell my journaling students this about their regular journaling work all the time when I have multi-session classes where we work on good journaling habits. It's fine to share work within the confines of the class where everyone is working on the same plan and developing good boundaries, positive "critique" methods, and understands what the goals are. But in the general world, and even in your own family there will be people who just don't "get" what you're up to.

Would you rather spend all of April not just explaining to those people that you want to journal more and why that is, but why you're using IFJM to find a way to do it? Or would you rather get down and busy at actually changing something?

Why risk a stray comment from someone who actually might even mean well—a comment which could derail you?

If it's time to do serious work and you don't already have good boundaries and techniques for dealing with your internal critic the best time to share your fake journal is in MAY,  AFTER IFJM is over.

Why? Because then no comments can derail you. You're already finished with the project. And you hold it in your hand. You know exactly what it took for you to do it. You may never be able to explain to anyone what it took, or how you even did it, but you don't have to. You just need to know that you did it. And that's the gift you give yourself for getting through the month.

Besides, this year it's "NO Explanations" remember?!

So think about those considerations to as you set up your plan for IFJM 2014. Good luck.

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.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Expanding Your Choices to Increase Your Fake Journal Success

As you start thinking seriously about your character for IFJM (because April 1 is fast approaching) I want to encourage you to think about all the options and choices you have which might be fun to explore within the framework of a fake journal.

Consider working with a character who is a complete opposite to yourself. If you are young, create an aged character, and vice versa (actually vice versa for all these choices I'm suggesting). Urban/rural, poor/wealthy, employed/unemployed (and any of the variables within employment as to type and location). You can even change sex but keep in mind that particular characteristic will take some deep thought to come out convincing and consistent.

When you make a decision about all of the components of your character's life and specifics keep in mind that your character has to be literate or at least visually literate in order to keep a journal. And your character has to have enough free time to make the keeping of such a journal a possibility—or he/she has to have such a burning desire to write and draw that even the most daunting of circumstances doesn't stop him/her. (If we are privileged to work one job, to have our basic necessities met, to have some leisure time, we can learn a lot from the perspective of a character who is driven to create despite severe impediments.)

Your fake journal is also a great opportunity for letting your bad girl, girly girl, inner geek guy etc. come out.

Ask yourself what you want to examine in April. Ask what is topmost in your brain as you think of IFJM. Jot down the first things that come to mind. Chances are one of those immediate answers will provide a direction to hold your interest for the thirty days of journaling.

And if your internal critic decides to help you with your choices by telling you to wait, to not participate, or by saying this is all silly, you couldn't possibly journal as a woman working as a grounds keeper at a zoo etc., tell the i.c. to take a break (in what ever verbage you wish to use). Now is the time to get firm with the i.c. This is creative play, he's not needed. He can take a break. Tell it to him kindly, sarcastically, playfully, loudly, it doesn't matter. Just tell him. He'll get the message. Maybe not the first time or the second, but after thirty days he'll know where the new boundary lines are.

May all your choices bring you insights.

Friday, April 30, 2010

International Fake Journal Month Ends, and the Seventeenth Entry in Roz's 2010 Fake Journal

Left: the seventeenth entry in my 2010 fake journal. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Today is the final day of 2010's celebration of International Fake Journal Month. I finished my 30th sketch and the accompanying text this morning. The glue is still drying on the colored paper insert. Sometime tonight or tomorrow I'll take a little video of the completed journal and post it so that you can "page through it."

I'll still post the remaining images chronologically if you want to stop by and see them in more detail. Also those pages will give me a visual for a few more wrap up posts I will need to make—winners of each of the contests, some post-fake-journal-month notes about what I learned, that sort of thing. Maybe even a couple suggestions that will get you off the fence for next year's celebration?

But right now my focus has shifted to sorting through the two contest folders and making sure I have everyone in the correct folders, meeting the contest rules, etc. I was so excited to have so many people join in this year. I hope that it was a not overly stressful endeavor—in fact I hope it was challenging and fun.

I also am grateful for those who chose to promote the event on their blogs. I am hopeful each year that the project will grow and people spreading the word are a constant help to that.

I was so pleased with the participation on every level this year that I have decided to make a commemorative button (you all know I love buttons) and send it out to all the participants and promoters. So if you were a promoter who included your address in your email and posted the button link to this blog on your blog by April 10 and kept it up until May 3 you'll be getting a thank-you button in the mail. If you participated by keeping your own fake journal and you posted your entries on your blog and sent me links to five such entries (pages or spreads) over the course of April you'll also be receiving a thank-you button in the mail.

The participation contest is over today but I'll do a last check of the promotion blogs on May 3 and have the drawing for the two prize books also on that date. Book winners will be posted here on May 4, but I'll hold on to the books until I also have the buttons to send out at the same time.

So that's the plan for the next few days as the organizational end of this celebration winds down. I'll thank you all at least a couple times over the next couple weeks I'm sure. However, today I would not only like to thank you all for making this an interesting and visually stimulating fake journal month, but I would also like to congratulate you!

I want to thank you all for rising up to the challenge to push yourselves creatively in April 2010. The fake journal that you hold in your hands is a testament to your creative commitment. It doesn't matter if you have a few entries or 30 or 70. It doesn't matter if you filled your book or still have lots of empty pages. What matters is that you followed your intention to stretch your creative muscle and put that intention into practice in your already full life. You carved out time for yourself. You experimented with new media. You tested new paper and books. You listened to that inner voice that says softly "I want to say something." You let that voice be heard over your internal critic.

For some of you it was excruciatingly difficult. For some of you it was easy. For others it was deceptively easy. All of you have something to think about now—your creative process. What works, what doesn't, where do you want to go, what do you want your regular journal to be, how do you want to give voice to your creativity?

There aren't easy answers to any of these questions, and the answers will change over the course of your life. But when you complete a creative project of this nature you give yourself an opportunity to examine these questions and move forward in your life and art with intention instead of impulse.

Don't get me wrong. Impulse is great. But if you give impulse a little guidance by doing a little reflection on your creative process you are able to clear out a lot of clutter and find a sustaining satisfaction in your work.

Don't worry if your friends and family look at your fake journal and mumble, "What's up with that?" (Or worse, tell you "that sucks.") You don't owe anyone else an explanation—only yourself.

Don't worry if your fake journal isn't at the artistic level you set for yourself or to which you normally work. That's your internal critic coming up behind you to whisper in your ear and cause you to doubt yourself and question your intention.

Every page of your fake journal might be complete shit. You might have just created 30 pages of the ugliest sketches and paintings and idiotic writing on the planet—it still doesn't make your internal critic right. It's a step, one that you took, despite the chattering of that internal critic. Future steps will be easier because you took one. (And this will continue to be true every day you take such a step.)

You hold in your hands a document which says "I allowed myself to create; I allowed myself to take risks." I think creative risks are like loose rocks on a hillside. We scramble over them, slipping at times, at other times finding sure footing, so that we can get to the top of the hill and have a better view.

I think having a better view (of ourselves, our creative process, our place in the world, the larger world, the people in our world) is what regular journaling is all about.

My wish for all of you who participated in this year's celebration of International Fake Journal Month is that you take what you learned about yourself and your process and use what you learned to make your regular journal practice stronger, deeper, more challenging, and integral in your life.

Thank you for sharing your journals with me, and for allowing me to share mine with you.

This is the point where if you were all here in Minneapolis we would go over to Cafe Latte and have a piece of cake and laugh and share our journals, and ooh, and ahh. One of us, I'm not saying who, would probably even cry a bit. There would be absolutely no hugging (I'm not a hugger)—OK some of you would hug on the way out to the cars. I wouldn't be annoyed at all. We would all drive home with insanely crazy smiles on our faces. But we would drive carefully because the satisfaction of successful play had grounded us all.

That's what successful play feels like. It has weight and substance. It doesn't evaporate. You have a tangible reminder on your bookshelf right now. Remember that this year as you observe your real life. You can choose to have that feeling every day.

Congratulations on pushing yourselves creatively.