Thursday, 10 July 2014

What I learned from a journal round robin

This is the journal that went around the world. 

I'd like to share some of the things I have learned from this adventure. 

1. No matter how well you plan, something will always go awry. 
I'm a planner. I like to be organised. This means that for this round robin/circle journal I had a schedule. Normally these things would be simple: each person would just send the journal they had finished working on to the next person on the list. However, as this was an international endeavour, I didn't feel that it was fair to land one person with the large costs of always sending to me, in Australia, while someone else might always be sending in-country. (This group included 2 participants from Canada, 1 east coast USA, 1 west coast USA, 1 from Holland, 1 from Germany, and me in Australia.) However, things quickly went wrong when one of the journals took 12 weeks to arrive at the first person. Also, as the schedule went over Christmas, there were delays. What should have finished in March has taken until July to complete. 

2. Keep in touch.
Make sure that you keep in touch with everyone involved and that everyone has shared their email address. When you post a journal on to the next person, let them know. When you receive a new journal, let the person who sent it know that it has arrived safely. If things seem to be off-schedule, contact everyone to see how they are doing.

3. Pack well and be aware of how much postage might cost. 
The journals need to be properly packaged so that they aren't damaged. Placing the journal in a plastic bag, using bubblewrap, and placing waxed paper between the pages to stop them sticking together are all good. Whether you use an envelope or a box can mean the difference between a $20 parcel and a $40 one, especially when posting to another country, so weigh the parcel before you go to the post office. 

4. Make sure that everyone knows how many pages/spreads they can do.
If you allow for each person to have two goes at a theme, it can be a bit disappointing if your journal comes back only half-filled because people only did one page.

5. The first moment of working in someone else's journal doesn't get any easier!
It is always a moment of trepidation when you first put colour in someone else's journal. There is always that feeling that you don't want to 'mess up' because it isn't your journal. And it feels the same when you reach the last journal as it felt in the first. You just have to jump in and go for it :)

I was amazed at the range of journals that came through my hands - a leather-bound, hardback book with removable signatures; spiral bound books; a book in a slipcase; a concertina journal; journals with black pages; journals with pristine white pages; journals with pages that already had some colour and pattern on them; journals with flaps.

I would definitely do this again, if anyone is up for it.

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