July has come and gone, and I learned a lot from my self-imposed nature journal challenge. While I failed to follow all the guidelines, I still feel like my month of nature journaling was a big success. Here are the rules I set for myself, and how well they worked for me.

Does it count as journaling “at home” if I was sleeping there?
  • Did I nature journal for ten to sixty minutes daily? No. Most of my sessions were between ten and sixty minutes, but I did not journal every day. I skipped eight out of thirty-one days. While I was sick several days, the real problem was the resistance that cropped up in week two and then never really went away. I spent some journal time exploring my thoughts and feelings and trying to pin down what exactly was going on with mixed success. This is one of those things that doesn’t get solved in a day, or a month, or a year. I’ll be re-examining my resistance again and again (and again).
  • Did I do my journaling at home? Almost. I did do two sessions while camping in the mountains. Otherwise, I was at home, in the yard or the house. When I got bored with my backyard, live web cams let me draw animals I wouldn’t normally see.
  • Did I decide the day before when I would nature journal the next day? Nope. I discovered that scheduling my nature journal sessions only works if I have a commitment to someone else. Otherwise, I don’t treat it seriously. I wanted to set aside a specific time for each session because I know if I’m not careful, I don’t get around to journaling until it’s late and I’m really tired. If I’m tired enough, I won’t even try.
  • Did I add color to every page? Almost. I tended not to color pages made from underwater videos because it was hard to tell what the true colors were. Nearly everything else got some color, even though this was a new thing for me. Matching the colors I was seeing was quite difficult with colored pencil, but I didn’t want to fuss with paint. I do like the liveliness that resulted from having color on my pages.
  • Did I post weekly about my progress? Yes! Blogging about my nature journal challenge helped me to keep up with this project. Knowing I was going to write about it each week helped me to put in the time. It also gave me somewhere to share my difficulties and successes, which made the whole thing more fun.
I’m still journaling, even though it’s August.

Ultimately, I didn’t follow four of my five rules, including the basic one about journaling every day. So why do I consider this project a success? Simple. I have 39 pages in my sketch book for July. For the five months previous to that, I have only 18 pages.

My output for July was more than double that for February through June. I WIN!

My goal for July was to do more nature journaling. and I did. The “rules” were there to help me meet this goal. So while I didn’t follow them exactly, I did get a lot more nature journaling done. Since I met my goal, I’m calling this a win.

What “rules” help you to make more time for nature journaling?

4 thoughts on “Nature Journal July: Success Despite Broken Rules”

  1. That’s a fantastic post! Really enjoyed it. Your moth page is something to be proud of and the effort is a bravo! If you don’t mind I’ll share my experience, you don’t have to approve this post, I won’t mind, sometimes it’s not appropriate to have others comment on how they do things and it fills up your comment space like the blob! I just loved your post and wanted to say something. (:

    6 years ago failed every time I tried to commit to journaling, which is ironic because from age 6 I’ve been writing my thoughts down, sketching, and keeping track of things. But as I got older my mind did too, and a few years ago, I just gave up, and as a joke to myself, I set a goal of 1 minute. I laughed thinking I was making fun of myself! I did one-minute exercise, 5-word challenge for my journal, and 50 words in my writing project for a novel which meant I’d be done in 33 years! (: I was so tired that in sarcasm I said, “Fine I’ll set goals I can make, and at least I can say at the end of the week, I did it.”
    Well, turned out setting these tiny goals, took away the stress, and this odd feeling of success in these sarcastic goals actually felt award-winning. I felt as if I’d found the gold at the end of the rainbow! I kept doing it, laughing at myself but a few months down the road, those tiny goals turned into real solid habits, I finished my novel, I walk 4 miles a day, and I journal often, without stress.. I’ve since committed my life to prioritizing life and love, that’s my whole blog! And it’s all around how we do things without big goals, rather we are kind of tricking our minds to relax and learn new things.. (:

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I can totally relate to the idea of setting really small goals. It’s so cool that they worked so well for you! My problem is getting myself to allow for really short sessions. My brain doesn’t think you can nature journal in just ten minutes, but you can. I will keep working on my thinking, especially reminding myself that I’m practicing, because that is the mindset that has really helped me in the past.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your story!

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