A Creature of Habit

This is Day 15 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness Blog Challenge. Want to know more? Check out the inaugural post here.

You may recall way back on Day 2 of my August blogging adventure, I shared with you my passion and love of journaling. In it, I shared a picture of my journals. Very astute readers may have noticed that they are all the same kind journal. I like it because it has the months/days of the year running across the top of each page, so each day I just have to circle the month/day to know what day I’m on as a reference point.

Tonight I realized that I am a true creature of habit. As I was making my packing list for our trip to Charleston, I noticed that I was going to run out of room in my current journal while on the trip (how proactive of me!). No biggie. Just a quick trip to Target to pick up another one to take with, right?


It’s back to school time here in Minnesota, and so there are a plethora of notebook options, not only in the regular office section, but the super duper special expanded school supply section at the back of the store. I searched these aisles for twenty minutes multiple times in vain. My poor little journal notebook was nowhere to be found.

My husband, observing my panicked behavior, asked, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a notebook.


That is when I realized that these little daily rituals we have can really become a powerful part of our lives. In my mind, I need to journal in that specific notebook. It makes me all jittery and anxious to even consider going two months journaling in something different. But we leave tomorrow morning, and I had no choice. I had to pick something new.

I’m a glass is half-full kind of gal. So I try to think of this as a good thing. It will force me a bit out of my comfort zone.  Who knows- maybe I’ll gain some valuable new insight into my life’s journal. Or maybe I’ll just spend the first week journaling about how cranky I am that I have to write in a new notebook. Eventually, I will just get used to it, but change is hard.

One thing I know for sure though. If I find that specific notebook again, I’m buying the store out. 🙂

Need a Kick in the Productivity Pants? Try Journaling

 This is Day 2 of my 31 Days of August Awesomeness posts. Click here for how it all started…

 Ask anyone who has known me for any length of time, and they will confirm what I am about to tell you: I am a lifelong procrastinator.  It is a crippling habit when paired with my other “p” weakness: perfectionism. What do you get accomplished when you are a perfectionist procrastinator?


I have had a bazillion false starts in my writing career. That’s why I spent 7 years working on the Edge of Shadows manuscript. That’s right: 7 YEARS! I wrote it, I edited it, I changed it, I got brave in 2009 and gave it to a bunch of beta readers, I edited it some more based on their feedback, I lost that version (whole other story), then I tweaked, moaned, and edited some more. It still wasn’t right. I felt like I still wasn’t ready, and so I shoved it away for another day.

Now that easily could have been the end of my story. Aspiring writer finds reality and trudges back to day job content to live out the rest of her life. 

Then quite by accident, I stumbled across a reference to a book on a writing blog called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. If you are an artist, not even a writer but any kind of creator of artistic work, and you are stuck, you must run (don’t walk!) to Amazon and buy this book. I’m absolutely serious- the book will change your life.

I’ll wait.

The single most important habit that book taught me, and a habit I continue today is to journal. I journal three long-handed pages almost everyday. I started the self-paced The Artist’s Way course in October 2011, and as you can see by the picture at the top of this post, I’m on my 5th journal.

Why do I consider this course and this habit life-changing? I got out of my own way.

Consider this. Prior to October 2011, I had written two 50,000 word manuscript drafts which were both collecting dust in a drawer. Fast forward ten months. One of those manuscripts I published (Edge of Shadows), and then I’ve written and published 4 more. Ageless is written and with my editor, so that’s really 4 1/2 by my count. And I’m well underway on the next book.

My writing has been taken to a whole new level. I’m not afraid to take risks. I’ve had my share of failures and lessons learned, but that is far outweighed by the massive burst of energy and productivity that I’m leveraging on a daily basis.

It all starts with my journaling. In it, I allow myself to be whiny. I allow myself to be self-deprecating and get down on myself. I nit-pick dumb things I’ve done. But I also plan out what I want to get accomplished each day. I pat myself on the back for every victory. And I have a fabulous record of my writing journey. I get shivers thinking about being able to come back and read my first entry in my first journal five or ten years from now.

It’s heady stuff, powerful stuff. And it’s addictive.

Journaling has opened up my mind and jumpstarted my productivity. It’s one of my awesome productivity secrets, and I’m delighted to be sharing it with you.

By the way, you may be thinking “Well sure, Cege, you’re a writer so journaling is easy for you.” I may have written in a diary a couple of times when I was a teenager, but this kind of structured writing has never been part of my writing routine. Finding the time and sticking with it was a challenge. But in the end, it became part of my day and it’s something I look forward to.

So if you are looking for a way to shake up your routine and find massive loads of inspiration? Try journaling. Plus, it’s a great excuse to go shopping at your local bookstore. 🙂