The Art Biz ep. 51: Imperfect Journaling for Artists with Cynthia Morris

Peeking at artists' journals is my definition of heaven. I love to see how ideas develop and change—how creative thought processes evolve.

Cynthia Morris stack of journals
Cynthia Morris's stack of journals.

The illustrations that often punctuate artists' journals are a bonus that can't be found in the journals of those less visual.

But don't keep a journal to satisfy my whims. Keep one for yourself. Write things down in order to remember and reflect. And keep writing because it contributes to your art marketing. It builds your confidence so that you have no problem introducing yourself as an artist.

I mentioned journaling last week as a vital part of writing your artist statement. In this latest episode of the podcast, I talk with author/coach/artist Cynthia Morris about journaling. It was recorded over Facebook Live.

Cynthia and I give you a framework to help you commit to a journaling practice and discuss how we use journals for our businesses.

We discuss the types of journals we think are best for this process, why it’s important to write by hand before moving to the computer, a structure for your journaling process, and how to use prompts to get your ideas down.

Remember that we recorded this as a video conversation with one another. Some things might not translate. For example, we did show and tell about our journals. That's why I'm sharing the video here as well.

Here it is … my conversation with Cynthia Morris about an imperfect journaling practice for artists.

Listen Now

Music by Wildermiss.


4:45 How I met Cynthia 15 years ago.

6:15 Why it's not a good idea to write important documents under pressure.

8:00 Writing is about having a relationship with yourself and making sense of your world.

8:51 Brainstorm 50 ideas instead of 10.

9:39 How I rebooted my journaling practice.

11:15 “The answers are in your ink.”

11:50 Why we call it, and why it must be, an imperfect practice.

14:02 The specific journals we prefer and why.

17:09 Your journal has to fit into your life.

17:40 The notebook from artist Mary Martin that I use for a very special purpose.

18:00 How I use a notebook with magnetic pages.

19:31 The various notebooks Cynthia keeps at all times.

20:35 Why we refer to precious or leather-covered journals as dust collectors.

23:17 The difference between writing by hand and typing on the computer.

25:45 Using “free writing” and writing prompts to collect words.

29:08 Get daily prompts and write for 3 months in Cynthia's Devoted Writer course.

30:00 How my Magnetic You program complements Cynthia's Devoted Writer course.

34:09 A writing prompt for you to start with.

37:10 I dreamed I had a Chihuahua.

38:35 You have our permission to be imperfectly messy with your practice.


The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Journals mentioned and that we like:

About My Guest

Cynthia Morris helps writers, artists and entrepreneurs make their big dreams a powerful reality. Cynthia is a certified coach, teacher, author and artist. In 1999, she founded Original Impulse, a boutique coaching company that empowers creative people to focus, follow through and finish projects that matter.

The author of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Writing a World-Changing Book, Cynthia has published seven e-books on writing and creative travel as well as the Paris historical novel, Chasing Sylvia Beach. She is a watercolor artist and visual journal keeper who uses art as a way to express joy and consistently access inspiration.

Follow Cynthia on Instagram.

Music by Wildermiss.

Recommended: the Art Career Success System

If you are ready to dive deeper into journaling and have or want to find the time now, please look at the Art Career Success System. In particular, check out the course titled Magnetic You. You’ll not only be following a structured journaling process, you’ll also be part of our community of ambitious artists who support one another—something our members have found critical during this time. All of the details are at

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Recognition of our accomplishments
is fuel for future goals.


4 thoughts on “The Art Biz ep. 51: Imperfect Journaling for Artists with Cynthia Morris”

  1. Thank you for this! It was a much needed listen. I found my old composition journal, I last wrote in 2002. Half of it is still blank. I decided to continue using it and when it’s filled, I will find something
    Better sized for my use.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Lynn: That’s perfect! I love using up what you already have. Let me know how it goes.

  2. Very useful information. Alyson and Cynthia encouraged me and other artists to start a Gratitude Journal over two years ago. I was never able to keep up with it in the past, but somehow with their encouragement and just doing it, I have become so much more appreciative and thankful. I may not have a chance to write it down everyday, but will go back and fill in blank days. I plan to continue this and to now add a journaling my thoughts on my artwork. Thanks Alyson & Cynthia!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Kathy: This is so great to hear. I completely understand. It becomes a habit and that acknowledgement of gratitude is more important than writing it down. So happy you’ll be journaling about your work.

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