The Art of Journaling: Reasons Why You Should

Image courtesy of James Mercer jmercer on Instagram

Image courtesy of James Mercer – jmercer on Instagram

Aside from keeping a diary when I was a pre-teen, I didn’t really start putting pen to paper until mid  September of 2005. I am able note the exact moment in time because I remember making a special trip to Blick to purchase a fancy notebook and pen just for this purpose. (And then there’s this: The day after I bought the journal, I sat and talked with a psychic woman at a local holistic expo who distinctly told me that I needed to get myself a journal and and ink pen and start writing. <– Not making this up.) 

The first entries in that book listed crazy dreams, noted the end of one creative phase (jewelry making) and the start of another. (hand drumming) I wrote about the decline of my dog’s health and a job promotion that wasn’t working out for me.  That journal quickly became a trusted friend. The action of writing in it about whatever was important to me in the moment, became my therapy.

If you need any encouragement on why it’s a good idea to put pen to paper, check out the articles at the links below.

26 Reasons Why I Keep a Journal (And Why You Should, Too) at Huffington Post

“I can yell in my journal and no one will hear me raise my voice”

How to Journal in 10 Simple Steps at Journaling Saves

“Words, on a page. It’s really that simple.”

30 Days to a Better Man Day 8: Start a Journal at The Art of Manliness

“Why Keep a Journal? Your children and grandchildren will want to read it.”

Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary at Brain Pickings

“Journaling, I believe, is a practice that teaches us better than any other the elusive art of solitude — how to be present with our own selves, bear witness to our experience, and fully inhabit our inner lives.”

How to start a journal – and keep it up at The Guardian

“You don’t need to create a masterpiece; you just need to write or draw something in the journal every day to get into the swing of it.”

10 Famous Authors on the Importance of Keeping a Journal at Flavorwire

“Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it?”  - Joan Didion

Keeping a Journal Can Change Your Life at The Change Blog

“You will get better if you practice, and your journal is an ideal place to do so – no-one will laugh at clumsy phrases or failed experimental pieces, and you can write about whatever topics inspire you the most.”

The Paper Project Week 2: Your Chance to Sample 3 Different Blank Papers

Clairefontaine Triomphe

The Paper Project is our way to offer a variety of Exaclair paper samples to 50 (FIFTY! We’ve increased it to Fifty!) people each week. Every Monday, we will be offering paper samples from 1-4 products to 50 people on a first come, first served basis. (There is no limit to how many weeks you can participate!) Samples will be mailed once we reach 50 participants and recipients will be notified via e-mail.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST – WE HAVE REACHED 50 PARTICIPANTS FOR THIS WEEK. TUNE IN NEXT MONDAY FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT OF THE PAPER PROJECT 

Week 2 samples will include 1 sheet each of these 3 6×8″blank Exaclair products:

  • Clairefontaine Graf It 
  • G Lalo Stationery (white) 
  • Clairefontaine Triomphe

If you have been chosen to receive samples in any given week, please come back and leave comments on the corresponding week’s page. We welcome you to blog or share to your favorite social media sites about your experiences.

Tag #rhodiapaperproject on Instagram and Pinterest. If you’d like us to see your Paper Project blog posts, post your links in the comment section on corresponding week’s page OR to our Rhodia Drive Facebook page.

What kind of comments are we looking for?

  • Tell us what you like/don’t like about the paper.
  • How do you like using pencil/pen/fountain pen on it.
  • Would you use it to write/draw/doodle/sketch etc.?
  • - and anything else you think we should know.

If you are viewing this post via e-mail or on a mobile device, you may need to visit Rhodia Drive directly to see the entry form. (Entries must be received through the form – please do not post your name and address in the comment section of this post  to receive samples. Thank you!) 

 

Noteworthy: Guest blogger Ron Manwaring from Pen Chalet

Pen Chalet Ron Manwaring

Today’s Noteworthy guest blogger is Ron Manwaring from Pen Chalet. Welcome Ron! 

I was first introduced to Rhodia because of my passion for fountain pens. Designing, building and maintaining the website for Pen Chalet has also helped, since we sell Rhodia pads and notebooks online.  I like to keep a small Rhodia pad at my desk or with me wherever I go, so I can jot down a quick idea or sketch out a new design. I also keep a short task list of thing to do so I don’t forget them and I can prioritize my goals. I find if I don’t write things down as they come, I may forget them later.  I am a big believer of the Chinese proverb, “The palest ink is better than the best memory”.

the_fountain_pen

I recently created an infographic on the fountain pen. When the idea came to me, I immediately grabbed a Rhodia pad and began to sketch out the idea. (Since Rhodia pads come in a wide range of sizes, it is easy to find a small notepad to carry with me at all times.) The infographic shows basic elements of the fountain pen; from the anatomy of the pen, to the nib and feed sections. It also shows a brief history of fountain pens, common brands and more.

In the fountain pen community, there are few notebooks that are “fountain pen friendly”. Rhodia is accepted by the community as one of those and considered one of the top choices by fountain pen users across the globe. I have found that I can lay down a lot of ink on the paper and it will not feather or bleed through. Many cheaper papers will soak in fountain pen ink, causing the writing to feather and bleed. The 80g Rhodia paper is smooth and durable, and the cover is coated- making it waterproof yet flexible, which makes the top staple bound pads ideal for carrying.

I enjoy what I do! I have been in web design and development now for over 10 years for various companies. Creating websites and digital images such as infographics gives me a sense of accomplishment. To be able to watch an idea take shape and then to implement it on the web and share with others is a lot of fun.

Many thanks for sharing your story Ron! Stay tuned for additional Noteworthy guest bloggers each weekend here on Rhodia Drive. 

NEW: The Art of Journaling – PLUS Anniversary Contest Winners!

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The Art of Journaling is a new weekly segment on Rhodia Drive where you can expect to read about the who, what, where, when & why of journaling. How is journaling defined? We see it as an individual’s record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept for (primarily) private use.

We will be offering various how-to’s and also be talking about the overall benefits of keeping a journal. Whether written by hand or filled with art, the possibilities are endless and we hope you will join us in the weeks to come.

I myself am a huge fan of  the stream-of-consciousness style of journaling. It’s the same kind of writing that Julia Cameron encourages doing as part of her “Morning Pages” routine in her bestseller, The Artist’s Way(PS – The Artist’s Way isn’t just for artists. It’s for anyone interested in personal development.)

*There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages* they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

And now on to our next order of business – Announcing the winners of our Rhodia Anniversary Giveaway!

Elizabeth H.
Lisavi
Sherry Cohen
Max J
Janet A
Daniel Setareh
Chris D.
Eddie from Raleigh
S Burch
Dan from Mount Morris
Alexander Gruber
Vicki Nishioka
David Molitor
Ray Ambrosini
Kurt H

The prizes will be mailed out tomorrow (Friday) and you should all expect to receive them in the week ahead. Thanks to all who took the time to enter!

Tuesday Talk Back: Time it takes for ink to dry on the page – Important to you?

Herbin Ink in Clairefontaine

Clairefontaine and Rhodia papers are often cherished by fountain pen users because their water based inks typically do not bleed through or feather on our papers. How does this work? Clairefontaine manufactures the papers in a such a way that it resists more ink rather than it absorbs. (Want to learn more about paper manufacturing processes? Check out Clairefontaine’s Paper Vocabulary here.)

HERBIN Blotter paperDownsides to this process? For some, depending on the size of the nib, type of ink used, and or relative humidity, ink might take longer to dry on the page. (This is why blotting paper was invented. J. Herbin makes blotting paper)

Is the length of time it takes for ink to dry on the page important to you? Have you ever switched to a different paper because of it? Do you use blotter paper?

Tuesday Talk Back: The Benefits of a Consistent Source of Paper Manufacturing

clairefontaine_mill

The Clairefontaine company in France is now managed by sixth generation family members and is currently the only European manufacturer making its own paper for its own products. This guarantees consistent quality and better control over the environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

If you will, please tell us which of these things  is most important to you as a consumer:

  • Clairefontaine paper is made from pulp and wood by-products from forests independently certified by PEFC or FSC as sustainably managed.
  • Clairefontaine has reduced its water consumption through an advanced recycling method. The water is returned to the River Meurthe cleaner than when it arrived at the mill. The water is so clean when it is returned to the river people can swim, boat and fish downstream within sight of the mill.
  • Our paper is chlorine-free. A gift of nature, a mineral called calcium carbonate gives Clairefontaine paper its famous trademark qualities of extra white and ultra smooth.
  • The ink used in all Clairefontaine and Rhodia products abides by the most stringent European environmental standards. The inks are water-based and made from vegetable oil pigments.
  • We supply most of our own energy as Clairefontaine operates a dual power generation system (electricity and steam) which supplies 80% of the mill’s needs.
  • Through a plan for improving sorting at source and recycling/transforming, Clairefontaine has reduced the quantity of solid waste produced by the plant by over two-thirds. Packaging is designed to produce the least waste (returnable containers, bulk packaging, etc.) The waste from the water treatment plant is converted into agricultural compost. This is a first for the paper industry.

Who would like to see fountain pen friendly Rhodia Engineering paper?

Engineer Paper

We received a recent letter from Michael Marchesan asking us to develop an fountain pen friendly engineer’s pad. When Karen Doherty asked why engineers couldn’t use the standard grid, Michael responded as follows:

I used to do all of my math/science on graph paper for years until I began engineering study and realized the beauty of engineering paper. 

Engineering paper has it’s grid on the backside, which you do not actually write on. The grid shows through to the front of the paper which is blank, so you can have the benefits of writing on gridded paper, without actually writing on a grid.

When you tear your sheet off the glued-top-bound pad, it appears as if though you wrote in perfectly straight lines and did all your calculations, figures and measurements with incredible precision on a blank sheet without the distraction of a grid on your work.

The other benefit to this is that the grid does not show up when your work is photocopied from engineering paper.

Each grid on engineering paper is 0.2″x0.2″, with bold grid-lines forming 1″x1″ squares every 5 grids–great for scaling and doing precise engineering calculations and figures.

So who else out there would like to see Rhodia produce a fountain pen friendly version of this specialized paper? Spread the word and tell people to comment on this post.

European Paper Company: Ltd. Edition Rhodia ICE – Coupon code inside

European Paper Company

Boulder Colorado based online retailer European Paper Company is now stocking the Ltd. Edition Rhodia ICE products and is offering a coupon for $5 off an $85 purchase by using the coupon code ICE5 before 10/15.

Five sizes are available in this special edition of a customer favorite:

No. 11 –  3 x 4″
No. 12 – 3.375 x 4.75″
No. 13 – 4 x 6″
No. 16 – 6 x 8.25″
No. 18 – 8.25 x 11.75″

Tuesday Talk Back: Ivory paper with grey lines – your thoughts?

Ivory Rhodia Paper

The new Rhodia Anniversary notepad set contains the same ivory paper as in the Webbie (Webnotebook) and the R by Rhodia premium pads – 90g with grey graph ruling.

How do you like the 90g ivory Rhodia paper? Do you prefer it over the white? Prefer the grey ruling over the blue? We’ve heard a few people talk about fountain pen ink colors on white vs. ivory – what are your thoughts on that? Are there any other Rhodia products that you’d like to see use the ivory paper?

Tuesday Talk Back: You don’t like the notebook you started… Now what?

Notebooks

Question: What do you do with the journal or notebook that you started, but ended up not liking?

Before I started writing for Rhodia Drive, I used to do a lot of product reviews on my personal blog in search of the perfect pen, ink and journal. At that time, the perfect notebook for me was one that was first and foremost friendly to fountain pen inks. Other preferred features included being able to both open and lie flat, pages with rounded corners, and a rigid cover so that I could write with the book propped on my knee. I ended up testing many, many journals.

(Some people use the words journal and notebook interchangeably. I tend to use “journal” when describing a notebook whose pages are not removable.)

If I really didn’t like the book, I’d either give it away or recycle it. If I liked it, I’d obviously use it – but there were one or two that while I didn’t love them, I thought had a few redeeming qualities. These ended up hanging around on the shelf a lot longer than I’d intended.

Case in point – I just finished a book that I’d started in July of 2010. I didn’t love the book when I first bought it, mostly because it wasn’t fountain pen friendly and the pages had noticeable grain. Four years ago I decided to turn it into a mixed media art journal and had started drawing on the first few pages but once again, I quickly abandoned it.

I came upon the book once again this past April, when I decided that I either had to use it or get rid of it. Knowing that I’d created art in it, I didn’t really want to let it go and so I tried again. Five months later, it was filled with a combination of writing and sketches, all done in pencil and it felt good to have finally finished something that I’d started so long ago- even if it was just a simple journal.

So if I may ask, what do YOU do once you’ve started working in a journal or notebook, then decide you don’t like it?

(Once in a blue moon, if I’ve been in a journal for too long sometimes I get antsy and want to move on even if it is a journal that I do really like. In which case I’ll either finish the last pages with collage, sketches, poems, affirmations, intentions, prayers and/or overall positive words of encouragement.)

Creative Prompt: Take a grounding walk in nature

Forest

What does it mean to be “grounded?”

The simplest way to describe it, is being fully present in your life as opposed to being distracted by past or future events. When we are “in our heads” and thinking about anything but the current moment, we lose the ability to operate from or with, our fullest mental capacities. You can think about this like the RAM on a computer. Whether it’s a computer or our brain, give it too many tasks to process at the same time and it will ultimately grow sluggish.

You don’t need to take a lengthy or expensive vacation to a remote island or mountain top to do this. One of the easiest ways to reconnect with your full creative self is just by taking a quiet walk in nature.

Try this: First find a quiet place to take a walk. If you have to get in the car or on a bus to get to such a place, do it – it will be worth it.

Next, turn off technology for at least an hour.

Then, start walking. Try to be fully aware of placing one foot in front of the other and not thinking about anything else. Breathe deeply. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. If your to-do list pops into your head, gently place it to the back burner while you bring your awareness back to one foot in front of the other.

If you have the opportunity, try taking your shoes off and allowing your bare feet to touch the earth – if only for a moment.

Retailer Spotlight: Fountain Pen Hospital in New York City

Fountain Pen Hospital

Image by fountainpenhospital on Instagram

Look at all that Rhodia in the beautiful new showcases at the Fountain Pen Hospital, located at 10 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007. The Fountain Pen Hospital is a retailer of fine writing instruments, ink & stationery and has also been repairing pens since 1946- an era when the only types of pens being used were fountain pens!

Fountain Pen Hospital

Image by RW Sinclair on Flickr

FOUNTAIN PEN HOSPITAL was founded in 1946 by Phil Wiederlight and Al Wiederlight (the father and grandfather, respectively, of today’s proprietors – Terry and Steve Wiederlight). Terry and Steve have a combined 60 years experience in all phases of vintage and modern writing instruments. Joining them in January of 1997 as Director of Operations, was Ed Fingerman who brought an additional 20+ years experience in fine writing instruments to the firm. Ed is a former President of Pen Collectors of America, a regular contributor to The Pennant, and has contributed to Pen World and numerous vintage pen books. (from the Fountain Pen Hospital website. Be sure to check them out online as well as in person when visiting the city.) 

Rhodia Anniversary Video! Take a look into the Rhodia factory

manufacturing3_750

Rhodia is celebrating its 80th birthday! Take a look at the video below for a behind the scenes look at the Rhodia factory. See below the video for an English translation of the French.

Here is the newest Rhodia product, with its white color and metallic logo – offering a nod of recognition to the technology (cell phones) of today. For 80 years, the Rhodia brand has stood resilient- watching change after change in the way people communicate with one another, proving that nothing beats a great pad of paper. 

Geraldine Muller product manager: “The Rhodia pad is timeless. – which is the way Rhodia founders wanted it from the beginning.  The Rhodia logo and characteristics have remained the same. The only changes have been the introduction of the black cover in 2007 and now this year in white for its 80th birthday with a silver logo. It is a sort of wink to the digital with whom it gets along very well.”

40 people at the plant have produced 10 millions pads, and other than the color of the cover, the pads have not really changed since 1934 when two brothers from Lyon started with this simple orange pad with 80 sheets, and 80g paper, staple bound at top, To this day, it remains 100% made in France.

Patrick Sartre, plant manager: “We have both the people formed and ‘faithful’ to the company as well as the tools specialized for this product. With this winning combination there is no need to move away in order to stay abreast of the competition.”

Finally the 5000 tons of paper we use are guaranteed to protect the environment and the socio-conomic role of the forests.  Knowing that 11% of forests are harvested for paper, it is a very respectable accomplishment.

More Rhodia Yellow?

Yellow Rhodia

We have started to receive requests for the yellow Rhodia paper to be available in additional options. Is there a particular format or ruling that you’d like to see filled with the yellow paper? dotYellow? Or yellow paper in the Meeting Book?

We are always very appreciative of your feedback regarding the design of our products.

It’s Anniversary time! Five years as your Rhodia Driver!

Stephanie Smith Rhodia Driver

It was five years ago this month that I first started writing for Rhodia Drive, and it will be 6 years in November that I made the overall decision to become self-employed. Aside from penning the Rhodia Drive blog, I make and sell art from my private studio at The Banana Factory – an arts and education center located in Bethlehem, PA. (Contact me if you’d like to visit!) I teach private students, offer workshops and do motivational speaking engagements on creativity.  Continue Readering »

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In Your Bag

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Rhodia Customization Module

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Grab Your Camera and Show us Where You Buy Your Rhodia!

Target? Dick Blick? Borders? Art Brown? We want you to show us where you buy your Rhodia... The next time you are out and about,  snap us a picture of where you buy your Rhodia products so we can assemble an online gallery of local retailers. To... Read on »

Favorite Pens

Will you show us yours? Send us a photo of your favorite pen: stephanie@rhodiadrive.com so I can add it to the page. ... Read on »

David Allen of GTD on Rhodia

David Allen is a productivity consultant who is best known as the creator of the time management method known as “Getting Things Done”. David comments on the Rhodia Meeting Book: “I love this Rhodia pad. First, the paper stands... Read on »

Chef Hosea Rosenberg on Rhodia

Season 5 (Bravo Network) Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, originally from Taos, New Mexico, was always good at math. After graduating 3rd in his class at Taos High School, he moved to Boulder, CO to study at the University of Colorado. His dream... Read on »

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Would you like to be a guest blogger on Rhodia Drive?

If so, contact me via e-mail at stephanie at rhodiadrive dot com with your proposed subject matter. We are looking for posts ranging in length from 100-500 words. Photos to accompany the article are a welcome bonus. If you have been reading... Read on »

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Click here to read the story behind this video.


About

Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.