Roz asked me to write about my experiences journaling during International Fake Journal Month (IFJM) -- Roz is the mastermind behind IFJM. I have participated the past two years.
For my first fake journal in 2009, I took on the persona of a Leonard Cohen groupie, journaling as "I" followed his North American tour. I repurposed a paperback of his collected poems - Stranger Music (Amazon aff) - that I had on hand.
In retrospect, I was overambitious. I kept at a fairly steady pace at first. It was inspiring to read a poem and then draw whatever came into my head flavored with where "I" was on the road. I experimented with materials to find I was drawn to colored pencils - they worked the best on the thin, cheap paper of the book. Things started getting difficult when Leonard went into Canada (territory I did not know) AND I hit some poems I didn't like. I remember using Google Maps to plot his route (and likely towns for "me" to overnight in). I used both the map view and the satellite view - to get an idea of terrain "I" was driving through. It became increasingly arduous -- like a bad road trip. (Last spread) "I" didn't journal about Canada. I did the mileage chart (I do that on real road trips too) made some comments and left it at that. (The pages in the 2009 April area are all fake journal. There were additional pages with some nudity which I later removed to open the blog up to a wider audience).
This year's experience went a lot better - many factors helped me in the process. I knew I wanted to try another fake journal, had been pondering what my fake persona would be and Spy Girl appeared under a bush outside my house. It was fate. In addition, ArtHouse (a collective in Brooklyn) sponsors journal projects and launched a "small monthly" project for March/April to go in a black moleskine and themed "this is where I live." I decided to combine the two projects. I used the Spy Girl drawing as fashion template and rendered what I wore. (I tend to dress especially wacky in the spring + summer). Because "I" was a spy, I would place paper evidence from the day in little manila envelopes stamped "CONFIDENTIAL." For media, I used Sharpies, markers and colored pencils - just as I did in my fashion designer days (94-84). I had a blast and the project also inspired me to dig deep into my closet so that I wouldn't repeat outfits too often.
Bonuses from both these projects are the additional blogs. Before April 09, I had one blog - Sketches and Impressions, where I post mostly sketches inspired by Danny Gregory's "Everyday Matters" book and group. The 2009 journal begat The Glutton's Progress which I now use for postings about travel and food. Spy Girl begat this blog which I will use for fashion musings and continued renderings of outfits. I also have a blog on cupcakes and one on surface design.
I am not a "hard core" journaler, indeed, I envy those who are. I tend to start out with the best intentions and then get distracted and fizzle out. I signed on to the fake journal project to help get me journaling in a focused manner ("If it's not really me, maybe I'll work on it more.") The results are mixed, but steadily improving. The IFJM experience is a lot of fun. Go ahead, give it a try next year. If it doesn't work out, it's not you that "failed" -- it's "you".