JB Journals

The Art of Writing



Morning, afternoon or evening pages…

fashion woman notebook pen
Photo by Negative Space on

Just over 6 years ago I worked in the Community Development sector running a Neighbourhood House.  I remember one of the ladies from the local Art group telling me about a book called “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron.  Initially I assumed it was about Art, then after further discussion realised it was a book about self care and personal growth. At the time I purchased a copy but was too busy to look any further into it and lent it out never to return.

Fast forward to now, following the breakdown of my marriage, learning to live alone (when my children are not at home with me) and navigating the challenges of daily life, I remembered this book.  During my lunch break one day I checked out the local bookstore and decided to purchase a new copy.

Now I am first to admit, I am not very good at sticking to instructions, and this book had a bit of a program I needed to follow…. easy to say the only part I have so far followed is Julia’s advice to write three pages every day with a pen and journal.  Three pages no one will ever see and that you don’t go back to read over, just let the words flow out of you.

You might ask, what on earth would I write about?  It is not really about the content, rather the process and the habit.  At first it is difficult to know where to begin, but once you get going it becomes very easy to write and let all the things sitting at the back, middle and front of your mind flow onto the paper.

I find that I prefer sometimes to write during my lunch break, it gets me out of work mode and allows me to be present.  You can find your own time that suits, the evening can also be good as it provides a brain dump at the end of the day, you may even find you get a better night’s sleep as a result of writing before bed.

At least two benefits I have felt from this daily practice are:

  1. The act of writing brings you into the present moment.
  2. Writing without self judgement or worrying that someone else will read it creates a feeling of having shared a problem with a friend/colleague/counsellor and can lighten the mental load providing clarity to make decisions or reduce worries.

If you feel you are always in your head, worrying and thinking, I would highly recommend giving this daily practice a go!

Julie Barrow owner of JB Journals


A little secret…..

bali jb journalsI have a little secret to share…… I absolutely love the smell of bookshops and freshly brewed coffee!  In fact I have always dreamt of owning my own book and coffee shop.  Amazing coffee, a world of books and beautiful journals as far as the eye can see.

Imagine being surrounded by knowledge, fiction and fantasy all in a welcoming , cosy nook to sit and read for hours.  A place to getaway, to sit and enjoy the complex aromas of chocolate and vanilla notes extending from the freshly ground coffee and mixture of new and old vintage books carefully displayed on the shelves.

Somewhere to meet with a friend, a place for mother’s to gather for coffee while their children enjoy story time in the reading room where they can come dressed as their favourite fairy tale characters.   All dreams begin somewhere and this is how JB Journals was created……

The first step was research and brainstorming where I decided on a business to produce specialty designed notebooks that reflect my love for paper products.  I was keen to start a little trial of my dream in our local vintage market where I purchased my own small space to trade.  From there I created the brand JB Journals and my first design was crafted with a leather style soft cover embossed with the mandala logo of the JB Journals brand.  I sourced a manufacturer to provide the options for dotted and lined journals.   The dotted journals proved to be extremely popular selling out not long after hitting the market.  JB Journals current products provide an option between a blank (lined) notebook and a self-care version that comes with prompts to get you started on your self care journey.  The vision behind the first journal design was one of love and self care, a journal that is not like the mass produced replicas found in mainstream stores.

JB Journals are designed with quality and unique style in mind.

The next step on this journey is the development of new journal colours, styles and functions to add value to your daily life.  I plan increase the JB Journals brand across new markets while maintaining quality products.  I am excited to continue working on this amazing venture and incredibly grateful for your support along the way.

Books & Beans may still be a dream however “it is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope for today and the reality of tomorrow” Robert H Goddard.



The magic bullet!

Over the last 10 years we have witnessed a significant development in technology and in particular, the use of smartphones.  We are contactable 24/7 and just about have apps to organise our apps.  We struggle to resist the urge to look at our screens and easily become distracted, all of a sudden clocking up 1/2 hour on Facebook or YouTube without even realising it.  I have tried a number of strategies to reduce my “online time” including an app that plays relaxation music while working for 25 minutes blocks.  I must admit I felt I did make some achievements with Tide.  But to be honest, I feel like I have a reduced attention span due to the ease of “googling” any question I may have or snap chats from friends that coincide with the “googling”, then back and forth with Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, you get the idea!

How can we achieve our goals and plan our days these constant distractions?  I have recently stumbled upon a system which I believe could contain the answer.  Added to the fact that I have a fetish for books/journals (sorry Kindle) – there’s nothing better than the smell of a new book shop (well, except if its a book and coffee shop – heaven!). JB Journals index pic

The system I speak of is called “The Bullet Journal” and was created by Ryder Carroll, a New York based designer who struggled with a learning disability which resulted in short bursts of intense focus.  He had to work out a way to capture his thoughts quickly and in a way that could track the past, organise the present and prepare for the future.  He described looking at a blank page or lots of confusing notes and not knowing where to begin.  We’ve all been there, sticky notes across the desk, two different notebooks on the go at once.  This system brings it all together, in one convenient and inspiring location.

The Bullet Journal system works as a process:

1. Key – list of bullet icons to enable quick recording of notes

2. Index  – lists the pages/contents of your journal

3. Rapid Logging – using the bullet icons to take quick notes in an organised manner

4. Monthly Log – brings together your monthly calendar and task list

5. Migration – this is the key to successful bullet journaling, you decide which items are important enough to transfer to the next week/month and scrap those distractions that may have seemed important at the time.

The most exciting and attractive part of bullet journaling is the choice that you can either begin with the basics – a notebook and pen or find inspiration from many individuals and communities (online) see boho berry that have taken the basic idea and transformed it into a form of art therapy – brilliant colours, headings, borders. You don’t even have to be a gifted artists, there are also templates, stencils and stickers you can use.  This system is universal and once you get the idea easy to transform into your own unique system.  Bullet journals are usually created on dotted pages for ease of use.  Check out my Etsy Store JBJournals to get started!

written by Julie Barrow



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