Candy Gourlay: Be Happy, Make Your Diary

Candy Gourlay is the author of Bone Talk, which was shortlisted for the Costa Prize and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. She is self isolating with five pots of giant sleeping plantain lilies and can't wait until they wake up and show their leaves. Candy says:

Making things gives you a break from the anxious world, alleviates stress, lifts your spirits and rewards you with something tangible.

When we were asked to self isolate, I thought, how had can that be? I mean, as an author, self isolation is my job. All I do all day long is sit at a desk with my laptop imagining things.

But when the whole isolation/social distancing thing became real, it was tougher than I thought – what with all my children far away and, as an asthma sufferer, I have had to leave it to my husband to do the shopping ... worst of all, Mother's Day came and went and I didn't get one hug. Boo.

Working on the Our Corona Diary project has really made a difference though. Reaching out to other authors to participate, planning, creating my own videos has made a huge difference to my mental wellbeing. Making things can help give you a break from the anxious world, alleviate stress, lift your spirits and, when you're done, reward you with something tangible. So how about making your own diary? Not just writing it, but creating the journal you going to use?

I found this wonderful video by the crafty Joanna Clough, a YouTuber who is all about diaries (or journalling as some folks call it). Joanna makes her own journals ... here she demonstrates how she does that using breakfast packets!

Do check out Joanna's other videos – this one about starting a new journal, her favourite ways to create journals, and how to make a no-sew journal. So much inspiration!

There are a lot of tutorials on how to create journals on YouTube. If you get a lot of post for example, why not recycle the envelopes by creating a journal out of envelopes? See this one by I'm a Cool Mom.

Or this one, using envelopes with cellophane windows by Natasha of Treasure Books:

If you're a bit stressed about the HOW of the actual journalling, check out the work of another YouTube journal maker, Katherine Karas, who has shared her journals on her channel through the years. Here's her 2017 journal flip through – so many ideas for anyone just starting out:

I hope this post gives everyone lots of ideas. When you make things, your body releases a hormone that increases your sense of well being. So off you go ... MAKE AND BE HAPPY!