Time to Get Real – What’s Stopping you from Starting an Art Journal Today?

So many women have come to me saying they feel the pull towards art journaling, but they’re waiting until things settle down. Or until they can save up for some supplies. Or until they can heal their bodies. Or until their kids grow older. Or until… whatever the excuse may be.

But ya know what? Art journaling doesn’t require any of those things.

Think you need a ton of supplies?

How about making a journal out of a few paper bags and some markers? Or cereal boxes and craft paint? Or how about an old book? One of my favorite ways to journal is with a $1 composition notebook and crayons.

Just because the majority of art journals you see online are covered in high quality paint, gesso, glue, glitter, and the works; doesn’t mean yours has to.

photo by

image from tumbler

Short on time or always busy with the kids?

I’ve been known to make messes along side my daughter, or limit my journaling to just 10 minutes a day. (It’s totally do-able! And I share that process in my e-course Roots.)

When it comes down to it, if it were a matter of life or death, I’m sure you’d be able to muster up a few minutes of your time. So perhaps the real issue is accepting the importance of art journaling or time to yourself. You can hear my thoughts on this and other tips on making time for art journaling here.

image by gina sekelsky

image by gina sekelsky

Struggling with your health?

I know this is a toughy. (And I can’t really speak from experience.) But there are many journal artists who create in bed or on the couch when they’re limited or in pain. Samie Harding shares some tips here on what she dubs “couch-art”.

image by samie harding

image by samie harding

I think the key here is to just keep it simple. You might be limited, but studies have shown that putting limitations on your creative projects actually increases your creativity! So if you have one working hand, you can do this. (Heck, you don’t even need hands!)

In fact, everything you need is already within you. (More on that HERE.)

And as the saying goes… where there’s a will, there’s a way.

So, dig deeper.

What’s the real excuse here?

What's holding you back?

Could it be fear? Fear of failure or that you’re not good enough? If you listened to my story, you’ll know that’s totally what happened to me when I fell in love with the idea of art journaling. I spent over a year watching youtube videos and flipping through pages of magazines, learning techniques I would never try.

It paralyzed me with fear. Fear that I wasn’t worthy of doing it myself. That I would fail, and never be able to create such beautiful work as they could.

Long story short, it wasn’t until I was able to move past these fears, put the focus back on myself, and start having fun that I was finally able to develop a fulfilling art journaling practice.

I’ve shared many tips in the past about how to overcome these fears. But the very first, most important step in moving past any fear is to simply acknowledge the fear and show yourself some compassion.

Start by being honest with yourself.

What is your fear? What’s holding you back from starting an art journal today?

Take a moment right now to practice courage and share your answer in the comments below.

And remember… these fears? Are simply that. A feeling that you can work through. (You’ve got this!) And that feeling of not being good enough? Is totally wrong. You are good enough, because you are whole. In fact, you are full of infinite possibilities.

Art Journaling ROOTS e-courseStill feeling stuck in starting that art journal? Why not delve into it with a supportive community and me as your guide. In my 7-week online e-course ROOTS, you’ll develop your own transformative art journaling practice as we let go of comparison and open ourselves up for self-exploration. Check out the information page HERE.

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    Roots Art Journal Flip Through!

    YouTube Preview Image
    (click here if you can’t view the video)

    In this video, I share a few pages in my journal to give you an idea of what we create in my e-course ROOTS. But every journal is different, as unique as its creator, and this is what I encourage in the course. I guide you in creating a journal for yourself, but don’t limit you in terms of what that will look like.

    My belief is that the more you can play, experiment, and do this for yourself (instead of doing it to show others), the more powerful it will be for you. Art journaling can be an amazing tool to develop a deeper connection with your true creative self, and allow more clarity, happiness, and self awareness into your life. My hope is that ROOTS gives you the tools and the foundation to develop this type of transformative art journaling practice.

    Art Journaling ROOTS e-course I’ll be teaching Roots for the last time this February! In this 7-week online e-course, you’ll develop your own transformative art journaling practice as we let go of comparison and open ourselves up for self-exploration. Want to learn more about the class or see some pages by past students? Check out the information page HERE. I hope you’ll join us!

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      The Secret to {Art Journaling} Happiness

      The Secret to Art Journaling Happiness

      When I first started art journaling, it was more disappointing than it was fulfilling. I was so focused on trying to make my pages look like other’s I’ve seen, that it left me frustrated when I couldn’t meet my mind’s expectations.

      It wasn’t until I was able to put the focus back on myself and start having fun that I was finally able to find happiness in my art journaling practice.

      But easier said than done, right?

      Throughout my journey (especially in the beginning) I struggled with keeping that focus. But time and time again, there were three important reminders that helped keep me on track. I’m sharing them with you today in hopes that they can be reminders to you as well to guide you into a fulfilling (and happy!) art journaling practice.

      #1. Don’t Compare – Yeah, I say that a lot… but we all need constant reminders. It’s just too easy to get lost on the internet drooling over everyone’s art and feeling not good enough.

      But ya know what? Your own true creative voice is just as beautiful.

      And striving to be someone else, or to create art exactly like someone you admire, is ignoring that voice. Not only that, but it takes away the pleasure, the excitement of living where you are now. Of enjoying your own journey.

      We are all beautifully unique. You and your life and experiences are like none other. This unique perspective on the world should be what drives your voice, your artistic expression. And when we compare? We’re pushing that aside to borrow someone else’s. But no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to duplicate her work, her voice. And if you did? Do you truly think it would be as fulfilling as you’ve come to believe?

      I’m not saying that sharing our work with others or admiring what we see is wrong or worthless… it’s what we do with it or how we react that matters.

      So go ahead and look and admire. But instead of comparing it to what you create, celebrate it for what it is – a peek into his/her life. And remember that this is what their path looks like, not yours. It doesn’t mean that you are less worthy or that your creations are any less beautiful.

      Be Yourself

      #2. Embrace & Celebrate Where You Are – I like to think of life and our creative growth as a continuous journey. And even though our paths may look similar, each path is unique and some of us are further along than others.

      But the great thing is, every stage in the journey is a wonderful place to be.

      Your journey, especially in the beginning, is full of discoveries to be made, successes to celebrate, mistakes to learn from, and growth to witness. But when we compare ourselves to others, tell ourselves that what we create isn’t good enough, and wish for the day when we can create something “perfect”… we’re missing out on all of that. We’re missing out on our lives.

      Your work as a beginner will be raw, messy, and imperfect… but there is so much beauty in that.

      Don’t miss out on this wonderful experience you have right in front of you. Embrace being a beginner. Celebrate where you are. Laugh at your mistakes, learn from them, then try again. Revel in the experimentation of it. You’re only at this stage once. Tomorrow, you’ll be further along.

      Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle

      #3. Choose Your Current Path – Each day you have a choice: Which creative path do you want to walk? If you don’t choose a goal or focus, you might just find yourself walking in circles; or worse, not even beginning.

      You may choose to continue down the path you walked the day before, or start anew. But each day you must choose. What do you want to focus on now? What do you want to practice? What’s your purpose? Is it to express your feelings? Or to perfect your painted faces?

      Whatever you choose, follow it with passion and openness. Keep in mind: mess-ups are mandatory. And above all, know that your path can and will evolve at every step you take.

      Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.

      Embracing your journey (in lieu of someone else’s) and having a sense of where your next step is, will give you the confidence you need to face obstacles along the way. And with this new found confidence and sense of adventure, you’ll find the enjoyment, fulfillment, and happiness you were longing for.

      Your journey is like none other.

      Your journey is magical.

      Your journey…

      is yours.

      Are you ready to claim it?

      Art Journaling ROOTS e-course PS I’ll be teaching my e-course Roots for the last time this February! In this 7-week online e-course, you’ll develop your own transformative art journaling practice as we let go of comparison and open ourselves up for self-exploration. I hope you join us!

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        Giveaway Time! {3 Gifts to Claim}

        In the spirit of giving this holiday season, I am excited to gift 3 spots in my last round of Art Journaling ROOTS the e-course!

        Win a spot in Art Journaling ROOTS the e-course!

        This course has been life changing for many – giving them the courage and confidence they needed to fully step into a practice that will support them for years to come.

        And I know it will be just as powerful for you.

        Think so too? Then tell me in the comments below, how would you benefit from taking this course? Or, what is it about the course that has you itching to sign up?

        One winner will be randomly chosen from the comments to join in on the journey starting February 2, 2015 for free! Want more chances to win? Share with your friends, and visit my Facebook page!

        The Nitty-Gritty Giveaway Deets:

        • One winner will be randomly chosen from the comments here, one winner chosen from the comments on my Facebook post, and one winner chosen from those who share about the giveaway (don’t forget to tag me @KristalNorton!).
        • Winners will be chosen on December 29th, and notified by email (if known) or tagged on social media.
        • If you decide to secure your spot in the course now, and win a free spot later, you can choose to have your payment refunded or gift it to a friend.

        Art Journaling ROOTS e-course
        Want to learn more about the course ROOTS? It’s a 7-week online journey in which you’ll develop your own transformative art journaling practice as we let go of comparison and open ourselves up for self-exploration. Learn more about it by clicking HERE.

        Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

        PS. Don’t forget – if you want to take advantage of the payment plan option for ROOTS, it is only available until December 31st.

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          Time for Living – a 30 Day Challenge


          Each December flies by so quickly, I don’t even have a chance to breathe.

          This year, I want it to be different.

          I want to stop rushing around, feeling like I’m always behind.
          I want to see the sparkle in my little one’s eyes when she grins at me.
          I want to hear the crunch beneath my feet on newly fallen snow.
          I want to take in the hidden beauty of the life around me.
          I want to be amazed by my eight year old’s ingenuity.
          I want to savor each delicious bite without feeling guilty.
          I want to feel the warmth on my face as I snuggle up next to the fire…

          In short:

          I want to notice the magic of everyday.

          Because if we don’t… we’re missing out on our lives.

          If you feel the same way, I invite you to join me in a challenge this month:

          Simply practice taking notice and giving gratitude everyday for the next 30 days.

          Why? Because I have seen how a moment of pause, to take in what’s around me, has led to feeling more connected, more loved, and more fully alive. But it’s easy to forget. So I’d love your support in witnessing my challenge, and I’d really love for you to join in with me. Let’s keep it simple: No daily blogging. No mandatory check-ins. No pressure.

          After all, the whole point of this challenge is to simplify life, reconnect, and to enjoy actually LIVING.

          The Challenge:

          Take Notice – Throughout your day, look for the beauty that surrounds you. And when you spend time with someone, or step outside, or take part in a tradition, or experience anything else that you welcome into your life: stop for a moment. Take notice. Breathe, and take it all in.

          Give Gratitude – Each night take a minute to write about one thing you’re grateful for. Get specific. Why are you grateful for that thing, person, or experience? (Learn more about the power of details when it comes to gratitude with Marie Forleo’s recent video.)

          Witnessing and Contributing:

          Like I mentioned, I want to keep this simple. This challenge is about really immersing yourself in life, which is impossible to do if you spend all your time online. So I have no set schedule to email you, or post on the blog, or any of that. If I feel inspired to share something, I will. And I invite you to share and contribute in any way that feels right for you.

          Most if any of my sharing will be on:

          Instagram – (perhaps some photos of special moments, or everyday beauty I find)

          Facebook – (where I may share some of the experience, what I’m grateful for, and invite you to share as well)

          noticing mountains

          Ready to take on the challenge? Why not start now by sharing in the comments what you’re grateful for today and why. Continue practicing taking notice and giving gratitude throughout this month, and I’m sure it will transform the way you view and experience your life.

          If nothing else, remember this:

          Slow down.



          Live your life.

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