Hello, I’m Jen: creator, wordsmith and wanderer on the road less travelled, using my creative powers for GOOD (fun, self-expression and wellbeing) not EVIL (perfectionism, comparison or competition – yuck).
The short story
I began making scrappy, artsy things from the moment I could hold a paint brush. When I discovered pencils, I began writing stories. I’ve been combining the two ever since — through art journaling*.
The first thing I remember making was a tiny picture book, using plain copy paper, staples and crayons. It was about a rebellious Princess with a wand that looked like a Christmas sparkler. She set out on a quest through faraway lands to find a medieval castle, where she would rule with all her mighty girl power. And she always made time to play with cute little forest animals along the way.
Later, I moved on to writing murder mysteries, travel dramas and supernatural horrors featuring a cast of my closest friends. I’ve never stopped creating stories — in my mind and on paper. I’ve tried many formats: script writing, short stories, creative nonfiction, journaling, interactive games… through to scrapbooking, card making, zines**, letter writing, art journaling, and so much more. I discovered that the magic ingredient they all have in common is STORY.
Creative art journaling saved my life.
Like most Gen Xers, I grew up believing that playtime was just for kids, and artists starved. But I couldn’t ignore that flicker of rebellion, knowing in my heart that I was a creator.
Adulthood tried its best to conquer me. My story includes extreme stress, accidents, infertility, grief, toxic workplaces, digital addiction, manipulative ‘friends’, self-judgement, job losses, social media anxiety, perfectionism, writer’s block, self doubt, and good old fashioned burnout. Yet, during one of those rollercoaster dips, I discovered Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. From the exercises in this incredible book, I began to understand the powerful healing benefits and pure joy of creative play. It guided me on a slow shuffle towards self-healing. As I made creativity a priority, I found myself on a new road, and I was calling the shots. Everything changed.
Why am I here?
Creative art doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive or time consuming. My style of scrap art journaling and creative writing is simple, inexpensive (unless you are a stationery addict) and draws on other forms of entertainment — movies, music, books… anything with words, images and STORY.
Since I made the conscious decision to reconnect with my inner wild child, I’m more “Me” as an adult than I have ever been. Sure, I still feel the confusion and upheaval of the adulting loop, but I wield an armour carved from my imagination, my intuition is firing and I have swag of creative techniques to support me. Now I seek creativity in every opportunity, and like a good rebel Princess, I can’t keep quiet about it. It’s time to share the adventure with you.
That is why I’m here — I’m starting a Paper Revival.
Did you notice a couple of little stars next to some key words up there? Cool – here’s the explanations for you:
*Art journaling is also known as visual journaling, creative art journaling, scrap art journaling – whatever you want to call it, really. The first rule of art journaling (er… club) is: There are no actual rules, besides using a journal (obviously) or D.I.Y.-ing a journal using various kinds of papers bound into a book-like structure; then go to town in your journal with images (found or created) and words — hey presto! It’s a simple, fun form of self-expression.
**A zine is a small, home-made magazine devoted to a particular niche, or unconventional topic. Historically, they were photocopied – not mass printed – for trading and collecting. They are super fun to make and – again, few rules – can be constructed out of one sheet of A4 paper (folded in a particular way) or a bunch of pages, folded, stapled and ‘gone to town on’ with whatever your creative heart desires.
Credit: Filmstrip container designed by Freepik