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Years ago, my good friend Liz Engstrom (see her great tips for writers) turned me on to a terrific book about travel journaling, “Writing Away,” by Lavinia Spaulding. That book helped me start adding images to my journals, and while I am not and never will be a great artist, there are a few things, like trees, that I am getting better at. But what is more important, from a writer’s point of view, is that taking the time to draw what I see has improved my observation skills. Also valuable, when I take the time to draw what I’m seeing, the memory of what I’ve seen is more strongly embedded in my brain. I also like the experience of “beginner’s mind” that tackling a new skill provides.

Many of my journal pages now often have small thumbnails in them, and the pages make me happy in a way that straight text doesn’t.