Our Peek Inside… series takes a look inside people’s journals to celebrate their imagination and inspire others. This week we are getting to know Michelle McKendry, a wax seal creator and creative writer from Ontario who uses Paperblanks journals in many different ways to explore her creative passions.
A Little Bit About Me
I absolutely love to write. I have always enjoyed reading from a very young age and it didn’t take me long to discover my passion for writing. While I have never published anything of my own, I would one day love to create something I think is worthy of an audience.
Right now, I mainly write fan fiction just for fun and the odd poetic piece. I do love to write descriptive pieces here and there as well, usually of something I’ve seen or come across in my walks or past. I am an avid collector of fountain pens and instead of typing up most of my stories and the like, I will usually take the time to slow down and write out most pieces by hand with a pen or three before I make the move to digital.
Aside from writing, I love to spend time with my family, dabble in watercolour art as well as practice calligraphy. I love to make cards for friends and family, and I have a bit of an obsession with wax seals. My wax seal stamp collection is quite big and while I’d like to say that I don’t know how it got this way, I truly do love all of my seals and go out of my way to incorporate them into just about everything. From letter writing to journalling, to my watercolour paintings, I’ll try and incorporate a seal in there someplace.
My First Paperblanks Journal
When I was in high school, I recall finding this beautiful red magnetic journal. It was instantly one of my favourite journals and I know I filled it with my creative writing pieces. It was a journal inspired by Charlotte Bronte and had a red wine colour cover with golden lettering. This was the first time I came across a Paperblanks journal, but it most certainly wasn’t the last when I soon acquired a Vincent van Gogh wrap journal.
I loved them both from the start, the slightly cream coloured pages, the durability of them and the way they never once bled with even fountain pen ink. Back then, I only ever used them with pencil and while I loved it for that, now that I’ve rediscovered the brand so many years later, just about the only thing that I use are fountain pens and dip pens and the paper is perfect for them.
I fill them with stories usually, snippets of scenes I can’t quite get out of my head. I also have one I use for my weekly journal where I write about my day and usually do a monthly themed collage as well. I also have one of the beautiful minis and I’ve taken to creating journal spreads inspired by the weather, a season or a favourite hot drink. I use stickers, rubber stamps, my fountain pens and of course wax seals to decorate my pages and I couldn’t be happier with how they all turn out.
What I Like About Paperblanks
I know they say never to judge a book by its cover and while I wholeheartedly agree, it was definitely the covers and the array of different patterns, and inspirational authors and artists Paperblanks incorporates into their notebooks that first made me gravitate towards them. Now, however, I can say that it is not just the varied array of colours and textures Paperblanks offers that appeals to me; it is their paper quality, the different sizes, the options of blank, lined or dotted and of course, all the different journals available. The attention to detail in all their patterns doesn’t hurt either. They really do spark creativity.
How I Use Paperblanks
I have one journal I use exclusively for fan fiction and story writing. It is filled with snippets of scenes or random poetry and descriptive pieces, and I consider it to be one of my most prized journals for this reason. I love the simple act of writing and I love to slow down and enjoy every moment of the experience writing in these notebooks brings me.
I have another notebook that I use as my weekly journal where I talk about my day, work through my feelings, and just write things out. In this journal I also tend to create a monthly collage with stamps, stickers, calligraphy, and of course wax seals. I find it quite relaxing to reflect on my day and creating my monthly collages lets me slow down and set my sights on the month ahead. Daily reflection has been something very important to me for a long time and I love to flip back through my journals from time to time to reminisce.
The Biggest Benefit in Keeping a Journal
The largest benefit I have taken from keeping a personal journal is what it’s done for my mental health. My daily reflection allows me to understand how I’m feeling on any particular day and lets me see progress more easily or identify things that perhaps don’t agree with me. Having all my thoughts and feelings, my to-do lists and general goings-on in one place has been infinitely helpful when it comes to my journey to better mental health.
My Advice for Those Who Want to Start a Journal
Just start, honestly. I know that sounds cliché, but I still have my first journal I used for my reflections and my day-to-day, and I shake my head every time I look at the very first page. I’ve come a long way in my journalling style, and you will too, but you have to start someplace. If that start is just writing down the month and putting a couple of stickers on a page or writing a little motivational quote, that’s wonderful! Be proud of yourself because you started somewhere. Your style and methods will change from day to day, week to week, but that’s okay too.
The start of my journal will look nothing like the end and that exploration is more than half the fun. Self-discovery is key to journalling and your art. Do not compare yourself to others. I cannot stress this enough. Look for inspiration in those around you but don’t seek to be like them; be yourself and gather inspiration from others, the world outside, the weather, your family, your pets and loved ones. The journey is the best part.
My BuJo Tips
I don’t stick to strict bullet journalling guidelines I’ve seen online. I know I’ve come across all kinds of helpful suggestions but sometimes the styles are too strict and just not me. In the beginning, I looked for inspiration on how to outline my day and the like, but now I simply write out a couple things I hope to achieve for the day, maybe one or two goals, a task or three and then I come back to reflect on my day at the end. I think setting up your week in advance can be helpful, but I try not to do it too far out.
I also think it’s important to note that you are going to miss a day, maybe two or three and that’s okay! I always try and go back when I have time to at least reflect on the day, even if it’s a few days later. But don’t fret if you have some empty places; perhaps you could use a few stickers to describe your day or a fun washi-tape in lieu of writing anything down that day.
It’s not a perfect science. Your journal isn’t meant to be picture perfect at all times because we are not perfect. Embrace the imperfections and have fun with your journals. Fill them with whatever you want! Things you love, maybe save the receipts from that cute café down the block or that beautiful flower petal you found outside, maybe that bright red leaf too. Your journals should be a reflection of yourself, so it’s okay if it’s a bit messy and filled to the brim with odds and ends. We’re all a work in progress, don’t forget.
If you want to see more of Michelle’s work, visit her Instagram page @Layora88.
We are continuously looking for People of Paperblanks to feature on this series. Please send us an email if you have a project that you would like to be featured.