Become Inspired with A Common Place Journal (A Thinker’s Journal)

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Common Place Journals

A common place journal is a journal that compiles knowledge; knowledge that is of value and importance to you, and you alone. This concept of a journal can be traced back to antiquity especially during The Renaissance and in the 19th Century. It has two main purposes:

  • Help you to remember important concepts and facts
  • Help you process, understand and retain anything that is of value to you, it’s author

Whereas a diary journal is used to write and reflect upon your day and it is to be written in on a daily basis, a common place journal only has entries when you want to write down information that is of value and inspires you in some way. Many people have a main journal which they keep at home or at their office and also carry a smaller journal (a booklet) with them during the day so they can capture thoughts readily and then write in more detail about those thoughts later in their main journal.

The benefits of a common place journal are many:

  1. It allows for reflection without rumination. No highlighting of sentences or folding of page corners to mark important information.
  2. It is good for your memory. By writing these thoughts down you are better able to recollect them which in turn helps improve long term memory.
  3. Writing important thoughts helps with coping in stressful situations as it helps to reduce anxiety. There are multiple mental health studies that show keeping a journal helps with many mental health issues such as depression.
  4. It helps clarifies your goals and is a way to track your progress in reaching said goals.
  5. It is a place for creative exploration, whether drawing, writing literature, music, scientific thought or creating the next ‘wonder product’.
  6. It is a form of reflective writing. It helps to improve one’s critical thinking and decision-making abilities.
  7. This process, over times creates wisdom in the author as it is so much more than just jotting down facts and data.
Be creative with your writing

Not sure what to write in a common place journal? Here are some ideas:

  • Quotes
  • Funny tweets
  • Sayings
  • Song lyrics
  • Anecdotes
  • Poems and or letters
  • Gratitude list
  • Recipes
  • Observations you make during your day
  • Ideas that come to as you read or speak with others
  • Create doodles, drawings, charts etc.
  • Insights you come up with to a problem
  • Do brainstorming
  • List your personal goals and track their progress
  • Accomplishment list
  • Play simple games such as ‘X and O’
  • Record what drives and motivates you

As you can see there are no rules as to what to write in this type of journal. It is simply a tool to inspire and motivate you on your life journey as well as to bring joy to your life daily.

A page from Leonardo da Vinci’s journal

There are many famous people who had a common place journal and used it regularly to reach goals, create, invent and take their life to the next level. Here are some:

  1. Albert Einstein – he wrote about his travelling insights.
  2. Marie Curie – she recorded her groundbreaking research in such a journal.
  3. Mark Twain – he wrote thoughts about politics, religion, people, jokes, personal moments and other anecdotes.
  4. Charles Darwin – he recorded thoughts and observations of his day, did sketches, wrote about geology, botany and animal species as well as personal musings.
  5. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – they kept expedition notes that recorded information on people, plant species and the geography of the lands they explored.
  6. Thomas Edison – he wrote about his business dealings, his future inventions along with the patents he needed to put into place.
  7. Leonardo da Vinci – he kept notes and did illustrations of architecture, astronomy, geography, scientific research, inventions and art sketches. He also wrote down his day to day tasks, reminders for himself and the purchases he had made that day.
  8. Thomas Jefferson – he wrote about his observations on geography, the climate, plants and animals.
  9. George Lucas -he jotted down notes on his ideas, words, plot angles etc. for his movies.
  10. Ludwig van Beethoven – his was an inspirational book devoted to his thoughts, maxims, passages from literature, and poetry. He also used it as a musical sketchbook where he composed the beginnings of his symphonies.
  11. Ernest Hemingway – he used his journal to write down new story ideas that came about from his visits to the local cafes, bars, travels on the trains and going to bullfights. He kept information on these sites’ sounds, smells and imagery.
  12. Benjamin Franklin – he used his common place journal singularly for his lofty goal of achieving moral perfection. He identified 13 virtues that were important to himself and he tracked how he did in developing them daily.
  13. John Rockefeller – he kept notes of facts and figures. When he visited his plants and factories, he kept notes on his observations, improvements that he thought of, discussions with management and how fiscally well the business was doing.
  14. Virginia Woolf – she kept notes of great writers, lists of books to read, books she did read and passages that were important to her.
  15. Pablo Picasso – he composed is preliminary sketches in his journal along with notes that occupied his imagination.
Journal sup
plies at RKR Stationery & Artssentials

A common place journal is supposed to be fun, enjoyable, creative and above all be inspirational for you. Did you make the ‘dreaded’ New Year resolution and are already giving up? Don’t! Instead change it up with a common place journal. For example, if your resolution was to lose weight, instead of denying yourself food or doing exercises you hate, think about what activities and/or food you would like to give a try. Do you want to start hiking, take up curling or another sport? Are there cuisines you would like to try or learning to cook different ethnic foods? How about learning about spices or maybe starting a herb garden. Do research on your areas of interest and make notes, print pictures and attach them to your notes. Keep track of how you feel as you start this new journey and be honest. If something turns out to be less than what you had hoped for, write about it and then change course. You will be amazed at what you learn about yourself and what truly brings you joy. I hope you are starting to get the idea. Things in your life should be inspiring, enjoyable and fun.

We at RKR Stationery can help you get started. We have journals, pens and a variety of ink colors to get you going and to make this journey as special as your life should and will become. Write on!

RKR Stationery is located at 603 77 Avenue SE, #3, which is just across from the Calgary Farmers Market. We hope you will be inspired enough to come visit us!

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