Hello! I make YouTube videos about analogue living. The focus is on taking life slow and enjoying the simple moments. This includes my beloved Moleskine Journals and Midori Travelers Notebook! I am also an author, so I spend a lot of my time jotting down random thoughts that come to my mind (just in case they somehow make their way into or turn into a story later on).
I have always carried a sketchbook with me. In high school I bought so many cheap sketchbooks that I have lost count. I was convinced that the only way to perfect the things that I loved doing was to practice them unceasingly. While this holds somewhat true, I have discovered that I prefer to let my sketching stay a hobby because I enjoy it much more that way. I never really liked writing until I took a creative writing class in high school and discovered that I have the freedom to write about anything that I want. Until then, my writing had been about research and for class papers, never really for enjoyment. Shortly after I discovered Moleskine notebooks and had to own one. At the time I remember thinking that I was crazy for spending so much money on a notebook (around $15), but I cannot imagine going without my Moleskine notebooks now. I feel like I have tried so many tools for writing and sketching over the years in the pursuit of my ideal set of tools. I have added bits and pieces to my collection of pens, ink, notebooks, sketchbooks, etc. until I am pretty happy with the materials I use now.
The times that I find myself in my notebook the most are quite sporadic. When an idea pops into my head, no matter how silly it may seem at the time, I rush to my notebook and write it down. There is very little organization in my notebooks because most of my ideas don’t connect very well. I envy people who journal and have a method and organization to their thoughts. When I am somewhere without my notebook and I get an idea, I feel frightened because the idea cannot become a fragment of reality until I have written it down and there is the monumental risk of forgetting the thought before I am able to get to my notebook. I wish that I could say that I spend a certain amount of time each day writing in my notebooks, but for me it is different. I can go a week without writing in my notebook and then find myself spending an afternoon doing nothing but writing. I answer to inspirations call, and only then do I find myself writing.
Often times everyday life will inspire my writing. I will see something that I like and then think of a way to make it even more interesting. I mostly write fiction and fantasy, so the more outlandish the idea, the better. I also find that the more that I read and see the work of others, the more I am inspired to create original works of my own.
My favorite notebooks to use are the Moleskine Notebooks and my Midori Travelers Notebook. I love the Moleskine books because they are easy to find in stores to buy, the quality is fantastic, and they are very minimal. On the inside, my notebooks are madness, but on the outside they look just like any other notebook. The simple black cover with the elastic strap works for me visually and functionally. I love my Midori because of how easy it is to customize it! I have three sections in my setup. The first is for random thoughts and ideas. The second is a collection of stickers that I buy during my travels. The third is a sketchbook. My Travelers Notebook is the most versatile of my notebooks. For that it has become one of my favorites.
I take my notebooks on vacation and when I am in the process of writing a new book. I don’t take them with me everywhere, as much as I would like to. When I am traveling I always have them handy, and when I am writing a new book I find them essential
I tend to find my materials at many different places. I buy a lot of my brushes and ink pens from JetPens. I have never found a Midori for sell in-person, so I also have to shop for those supplies online. I buy my Moleskines from bookstores like Books-A-Million. The nearest craft store that I frequent is Hobby Lobby. I tend to find a great selection of watercolors and art supplies there!
For stationary I shop at Hobby Lobby. My travels have not led me to many stores that specialize in selling such items, but it’s always fantastic to visit a town or city that has shops that do. When I visit Asheville, NC I am always able to find something creative to incorporate into my notebooks somehow.
I think that one thing people would be surprised to know about me is that I am a vegetarian. It has been about a year and a half since I made the decision to stop eating meat and I feel better than ever! I find that when I go places or to events, it is assumed that everyone there eats meat, so it can lead to some awkward situations. It surprises most people to find that out about me.
My other hobbies are traveling, reading, watching independent movies, and trying foreign foods. The world is such a huge place and there is so much that I will never be able to experience even if I started trying to do it all right now! This is why I spend my free time traveling and trying to experience as much of the world as possible.
Do it because you love it. I have tried to force myself to be interested in so many things over the years simply because they were popular with everyone else. The only way to really find your creative passion is to do what you love. I understand wanting to follow in someone’s footsteps because you admire them, but that person got where they were by following their own passion, so you should do the same.
Thank you, James, for sharing your journalings and sketchbook with us!
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