Story Journaling

Hard copy journaling for narrative lovers.

So if any of you are like me, staring at a computer screen all day is both enlightening and exhausting.  While I love technology and the various opportunities it affords for learning, exploration, and entertainment, the blue light of the screen can do a number on my eyes and my head, often causing some major headaches.  This is why I have a whole bookshelf full of journals filled with handwritten stories dating all the way back to when I was in middle school.  Plus, there’s just something so satisfying about sprawling out on my bed, penning out scenes and character arcs and story ideas, and seeing my notebooks slowly fill up with my fictional worlds.

But story journaling doesn’t necessarily have to be fictional.  There are two types of story journaling.  First is fictional story journaling, where you use your journal as a space to plot out your fictional narratives, sketch out brain maps, scribble down quick thoughts and ideas, write out scenes and dialogue.  It’s an excellent way to get your thoughts on paper right in front of you, no matter how messy or disjointed your writing might be.  My favorite way to do this is to use pen – no erasing!  The most important part of the exercise is just to write something.  You can always edit later.  (Don’t have any story ideas right now?  Check out some of the links below for some inspiration!)

The other type of story journaling is life story journaling.  It’s very similar to regular journaling, where you write out your thoughts and feelings and events of the day, but with a key difference: the perspective.  When you sit down to write in your life story journal, you do so with the mindset of an author writing a story; but in this case, that story is about you.  Take a look at your day, and then think about how that day contributes to the story of your life as a whole.  Where are you in your dramatic structure diagram?  Are you in the rising action section, working towards a particular aspiration or mission?  Maybe you’re relaxing in the resolution section, after you’ve completed a major goal and enjoyed or suffered the consequences of it, and you’re preparing to begin the next stage in your life.  Wherever you are, this method of writing allows you to see yourself almost from the outside, to understand what has shaped you as a character in your own story and determine what will motivate you into a better future.


Resources & Inspiration:

Writing Tips for Tweens” from Penguin Young Readers

Creative Writing Journal Ideas” from Creative Writing Now

7 Quick Journaling Exercises That Will Improve Your Fiction Writing” from The Write Life

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) website

Dream Journaling

What are your dreams telling you?

Have you ever woken up from an intense dream that felt so real that you were unsure if it actually happened or not at first? Or, maybe a specific person was in your dreams, and now they keep popping into your mind? Dreams are mysterious and sometimes intense, leaving lasting impressions on us. I find myself constantly having dreams that feel so real and powerful, yet I end up forgetting them almost completely not even 20 minutes later. I decided to start dream journaling to keep track of hidden meanings in my dreams and also to learn more about myself. 

A dream journal is a reflective way to keep track of your dreams. I keep my dream journal next to my bed so whenever I wake up from a dream-filled sleep, I can write it down on paper quickly before I start forgetting. Many believe that dreams are a manifestation of emotions that we carry with us throughout the day. If something is bothering you, even if it is pushed deep down into your subconscious, it can use dreams as a source of release. There are a lot of common dreams, like having your teeth fall out, feeling like you’re being chased, or moving in slow motion that can have deeper meanings attached to them. Things like stress, impatience, anxiety, conflict, or avoidance can be represented in the former dreams, and by documenting your dreams, you can reflect on things that may be bothering you in your real life. Dream journals can also help you if you are trying to learn how to lucid dream. Lucid dreaming occurs when a person is aware that they are dreaming and can control what they do and what happens within their dreams. According to Healthline, “When you write down your dreams, you’re forced to remember what happens during each dream. It’s said to help you recognize dreamsigns and enhance awareness of your dreams.” If you are interested in learning more about dream journaling, check out the resources below.


Resources & Inspiration:

How to Keep a Dream Journal: Tips, Examples, and Templates” from Penzu

Keeping a Dream Journal” from Psychology Today

The Best Way to Keep a Dream Journal” from Lucid Dream Society

5 Techniques to Try for Lucid Dreaming” from Healthline

Music Journaling

Genre-specific art journaling.

The hardest part about starting a journal is staring at a blank page and wondering how to fill it, so we’re here to help give you a little inspiration!  Last week, we talked about art journaling, so this week we bring to you an idea for a type of art journaling that many people follow: music journaling.

Music journaling is one of the easiest types of art journaling because there is so much visual content available out there for music lovers, from logos to album covers to merch to photographs to sheet music.  Think about what kind of music you like.  With classical music, there is tons of free sheet music that you could cut up and collage.  Or you could draw or paint creative representations of classical instruments.  With classic rock, there are album covers and funky fonts and splashes of dark or neon colors.

The big name in music journaling right now is K-Pop journaling.  K-Pop, or Korean Pop music, is music from South Korea that is currently sweeping across the United States, integrating itself into various aspects of online fandom culture as well as the more traditional media sources like television and radio, spearheaded in part by the massively popular group, BTS.  And fans of all ages have taken to expressing their love for this genre of music in many different ways, one of those ways being K-Pop journaling.  I have included a couple links below to videos of diarists creating K-Pop journals, but key features tend to be artist logos, photos of the artists, calligraphy, colorful stickers and decorations, and visual playlists of the artist’s songs as well as written memories from concerts attended.

So if you like art and music of any genre, try giving music journaling a go.

On a different note, if you like BTS, K-Pop, Korean Dramas, Korean culture, or any or all of the above, check out our new KClub!  We meet on Saturdays about once a month or so for two hours where we stream an episode of a K-Drama and then discuss and chat.


Resources & Inspiration:

16 Art Journal Prompt Ideas for Music Lovers” from ARTJOURNALIST

Starting a K-Pop Journal”, video by AmandaRachLee on YouTube

starting a new journal: my 6th kpop journal”, video by mihan. on YouTube

Sign up for Summer Reading, Win Prizes!

Image from https://www.cslpreads.org/

It’s easier than ever to track your summer reading with the library! For the first time, we are using READsquared for our Summer Reading program. There are separate programs for Children, Teens, and Adults within the app, so everyone can participate! Earn points for reading, attending virtual programs, playing games, and completing “missions.” Earning points will enter you to win prizes. You can find more information about each program here: https://chescolibraries.org/news/summer-reading-2020.

Kids’ Update: Order a Book Bundle!

Corporate book cover free vector download (6,463 files) for ...

While you can’t come into the Library and browse, let us browse for you! The Chester County Library and Henrietta Hankin Branch now offer Book Bundles for kids from preschool to high school. Just fill out the form for the library you prefer for pick-up at Book Bundles, and we’ll select 6 to 12 books just for you! A bag full of surprises!

If you need a specific book, please continue to place holds via the Catalog at https://chescolibraries.org.

Art Journaling

For the diction disinclined.

Is writing just not for you, or is the thought of filling a page with just words and calendar spreads too daunting?  Try keeping an art journal instead.

An art journal is similar to a sketchbook, but different in its approach.  With an art journal, you want it to be a visual diary, a reflection of your life, your dreams, your feelings, your fears.  For example, you could include visuals of your hobbies or passions.  If you like gardening or plants, you can draw little representations of your plants, give them names, decorate with stickers.  Or maybe you had a really bad day, and you just want to splatter a couple of pages with some dark colors.  Whatever works for you, whatever allows you to unload, to relax, to express yourself, to reflect on your feelings or your life, is perfect for an art journal.

Another key difference between a sketchbook and an art journal is that you don’t have to be particularly artistically talented to keep an art journal.  While having a sketchbook means that you have to, well, sketch, an art journal can be anything you want it to be.  You can fill it with photos, polaroids, printed pictures, colorful washi tapes, aesthetic quotes, drawings and paintings and watercolors and sketches and scribbles – whatever suits your artistic fancy.  If you can’t draw, fill it with photos.  Print out titles in pretty fonts.  Line the borders of your pages with washi tape and stickers.  It’s up to you.  The journal is your canvas.At the end, you will have a visual record of your life.  But it also doesn’t need to be only visual.  If an entirely visual journal is just as daunting as an entirely written journal, combine them.  Write out something in the center and then draw or decorate in the margins.  Or draw and decorate the middle and then write in the margins.  Or mix it up throughout the entire page, turn the page on its side, write and draw on alternate pages, write something within your artwork. 

Just have fun with it.  Surprise yourself, and see what you can create.


Resources & Inspiration:

How to Combine Drawing and Writing into Deeply Personal Art Journals” from My Modern Met

How to Start an Art Journal” from Quiddity

Black Lives Matter: Community Reads

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By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control–relegating millions to a permanent second-class status–even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.

Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, is available as an ebook and eAudiobook through July 19, 2020.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today’s racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.

Book summaries taken from chester.overdrive.com

Mindfulness Journaling

Get in touch with the present.

Thinking of ways to become more in touch with yourself during this quarantine? Sometimes it can be easy to get lost in the monotony of the “new normal” in quarantine, so some helpful and healthy mindfulness prompts can help bring to mind what made each day special. Mindfulness is about connecting the mind, soul, and body, so that you can be in the moment, rather than letting your thoughts drift off into anxious, dark places. By focusing on the present and bringing gratitude and gratefulness into each day, mindfulness can be extremely therapeutic. 

There are tons of mindfulness prompts that can be used while journaling that can help your juices start to flow. Many of these prompts ask questions like “What things am I most grateful for in my life,” “How am I impacting other people around me daily,” “Some areas that I’d like to improve in my life are…”. Clearly, a lot of these prompts dig into some areas that may not feel super comfortable, but by addressing them and putting them out on paper, they bring a sense of awareness and understanding. The thing that I like the most about mindfulness journaling is that it grounds me and helps me to understand myself better. If I am in a bad mood, sometimes mindfulness journaling can help me realize why I am feeling cranky, and it gives me the tools I need to improve my mood. 

If you are interested in diving deeper into the world of mindfulness journaling, there are many resources available online. My favorite mindfulness writer is Katie Dalebout, and I learn a lot about being mindful, grateful, and present through her podcast “Let it Out.” There are many mindfulness prompts available online as well, which can greatly help with starting the process.


Resources & Inspiration:

Katie Dalebout’s website

Why You Need a Mindful Journal Practice and Tips to Get You Started” from YogiApproved

10 Tips for Mindful Writing and Meditative Journaling” from DevelopGoodHabits

Mindful Journaling: 50 Unique Technique Topics and Writing Tips for Beginners” from Your Body The Temple