I’ve previously explained the general idea and layout of the observation journal (Observation Journal: Werewolf Conferences and Colour Treatments — the posts are collected under Observation Journal).
Although a bit of reflection was built into those pages, I found I wasn’t really noticing overall patterns or catching ideas — something I wanted the students using it to be doing.
So I began introducing Lessons Learned and Things To Do Next pages at the end of every week (not a major burden, since I was only doing the journal on weekdays).
Background: I started doing Lessons Learned pages a few years ago: after conferences and travel, mostly. In those cases, they remind me what not to do next time, and that I prefer to sit in cafes and watch the world go by, and that portable luggage scales are worth their weight, and of instances when panic is just part of the process and should be scheduled in, and approaches to home furnishings that I’d like to use when I get home.
Left page: This approach has proven useful in the case of the observation journal, too — not just for summarising and recording specific reflections from the week’s pages, but also for noting new preoccupations and shifting interests. The notes on the left are everything from epiphanies about process to complaints about my handwriting, amusement about the recurring themes of dinosaurs, and appreciation for accidental page composition. Also a time-keeping spider.
Right page: I’m not rigorous about doing everything on the action page — sometimes I decide not to, or carry an idea forward for a few weeks until it dovetails with another project, or I’ll move it onto a list of ideas for future activities, in case I’m stuck for things to do. “The Art of Making Things Manifest” was a line in a conversation I was having while painting pages (related blog post: Making Things Manifest: Mock-ups and Outlines).
(I also don’t always illustrate these pages, although I’ve come to appreciate the texture of pages-as-object — I was just doing a lot of painting that week).
Note: For context, these pages are from late January. I’ve been uploading full weeks’ worth to Patreon, for the unvarnished version — slightly more selective posts here!