The creative journal is something that is “more than a place for recording observations and data, [a] [creative] journal [is] a springboard to fresh insights and new discoveries about the natural world.” (Hammond, 2002, p. 34) After being introduced to the topic, given a prompt, and completing the readings, it became obvious to me that I needed a little more structure. I was honesty uncomfortable with the amount of ambiguity that the assignment offered and wanted some way to narrow my own throughts and expectations for my projects. I needed more rules! You’d imagine my delight when I found out that William Hammond, author of “The Creative Journal: A Power Tool for Learning” suggests that creating personal rules is a great way to start your journaling journey. I took the ambiguous rules that had been laid before us and tightened them up until I was comfortable with it. This is what I came up with:
- Use tools/techniques that I would often shy away from. One of the guidelines laid out by our professor was that we couldn’t use the same medium repeatedly. After hearing that, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get away with a simple magazine collage every week. Because of that restriction I decided that I wanted to take the bull by the horns and challenge myself to not only use different mediums (required) but attempt the mediums I am least comfortable with.
- Contemplate at least as long as it takes to create. What I meant when I wrote this down was that I wanted to spend at least as much time visualizing my projects, and thinking about them as I spent creating them. I don’t want to jump on the first idea that I have, and then spend the whole weekend making something that in the end doesn’t mean what I had hoped. If I am going to make something that takes me all weekend, I want to put in the time thinking it over, and know that it is what I want.
- Don’t settle for something simple, unless simple is the only answer. The rule forces me to think outside the box and move beyond my initial ideas, but also gives me the room to fall back on them if they turn out to be the right ideas. I just want to make sure the I don’t choose something easy when I could have given it a little bit more thought and created something truly amazing.
- Try to relate every topic to my core scientific studies (physics, chemistry). As a chemistry major and a physics minor I want to be able to explain things in a way that is relatable to the subjects. My hope is that by attempting to frame the journal entries in a way that is relatable to chemistry and physics I will be better prepared to make the same connections when I am in front of a class in the future. The truth is, every discipline can be linked to the environment in some way, it just has to be figured out.
Although the four rules that I laid out for myself are still a little ambiguous, I believe they will help me to stay centred when creating my journal entries. I also think that this will help me to develope a little bit of a theme around relating physics and chemistry to environmentalism.
Hammond W.F. (2002). The Creative Journal: A Power Tool for Learning. Green Teacher, Fall, 34-38.