I’m declaring July 2020 my month to focus on nature journaling. While I’ve done some nature journaling over the past few years, I am longing to do more than I actually make time for. Some people would say that this is a sign I don’t really want to do it, but I know myself better than that. I can have a lot of resistance to doing something I actually really enjoy, especially if I think a lot of work is going to be involved. So I need to find a way to make it easier.

Nature journal page from a recent sit spot session in my yard. Most of my pages are black and white. (Journal page by Kit Dunsmore)

My goal for July is to practice nature journaling regularly. After reading through notes I’ve taken and my own guidelines for Inktober, here are the five rules I’ve made for myself.

  1. Nature journal for ten to sixty minutes daily. Ten minutes is the minimum time. As long as I put in ten minutes, I’ve done enough for the day. I need this bar to be really low for those crazy days when it seems impossible to fit in a leisure activity. At the same time, I need an upper limit (sixty minutes) to keep me from overdoing it or I’ll burn out.
  2. I will do all my journaling from home. That means sit spot sessions in my back yard, studying plants in and outside the house, and watching animals via webcams from my office. While nature journaling in the mountains, forest, and prairies appeals to me, not having to travel in order to nature journal will make it much easier for me to meet my daily goal.
  3. I will decide the day before when I will nature journal the next day. I’d like to have a schedule for the entire week laid out, but I don’t think I’m organized enough to plan that far ahead. On the other hand, I don’t want to just fly by the seat of my pants, because I know I’ll wait until the last minute, and right before bed doesn’t seem like the optimal time to do this.
  4. Add some color to every page. Most of my pages are black and white because I’m in such a hurry to write everything down. But even a little color makes a page more interesting. I won’t specify how I will put the color in or what media to use. Just that there will be some color somewhere on each page. Beyond the daily thing, this is the big stretch goal for the month.
  5. Post weekly about my progress. This may be the most important rule of them all. One thing I know about myself is that I need outside accountability if I’m going to get things done (even things I want to do — I’m an Obliger). A public announcement will help me to stick to my plan and follow through.
A rare nature journal page with color. (Journal page by Kit Dunsmore.)

I’m really excited about this project and can’t wait to learn more about everything living in my own back yard. Tune in next week to hear how it’s going.

Do you set challenges for yourself? What kind of rules do you use?

2 thoughts on “Nature Journal July: A Self-Imposed Challenge”

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing your progress Kit! I always enjoy seeing your entries from your nature journals. It looks like you have a great plan for practicing regularly, and I’m excited to see your work!

    1. Thanks! I’m really excited. My first session today was wonderful and had the unexpected benefit of making me feel better so this may be something I do for my health as well as fun.

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