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.
- 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.
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 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?