The Journal Project

Sharing lives through the process and art of journal keeping.

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Location: Lubbock, TX

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Game Plan

So here it is guys. I feel like I've written this post at least a dozen times because of all the thinking and talking that has gone into this. This is what I have in mind. Please know nothing is set in stone. This is what I've been thinking and it is certainly open to change and discussion. I throw it out here so that you will have an opportunity to pass along suggestions and ask questions before we actually begin (which I hope will be next week!) Recently I did have an e-mail or two wondering if we were each going to have an individual journal to send around to all the participants. That is not what I had originally planned but we can certainly do that if that's what you all want. This is OUR project. I'm flexible. The reason I had not thought of the project in those terms is because I think the final cost on shipping all the journals around would be overwhelming. With over 60 participants, receiving each journal and then mailing it to the next person (if shipping were about $5 a journal) would end up costing each of us over $300 apiece. I know the concern is wanting to be able to have a final/complete copy of the project for yourself. I want everyone to have a final copy. I don't know how to accomplish that yet but surely with this many participants we can brainstorm and come up with some kind of plan. Who knows, maybe one of you has a friend, or a friend of a friend, who has the ability to copy and bind books for each person. If you have thoughts on this let me know. Now for the plan:

When I originally conceived of this idea I had planned to purchase one journal, make an entry, then mail it to the next participant, who would then make an entry and mail it to the next participant, and so on and so forth. At the time I had no idea we'd have over 60 participants. Wow! It quickly became obvious that that wouldn't work so well. It was a possibility that the people towards the bottom of the list wouldn't even see the journal for a year. I didn't want them to have to wait so long to participate. My next thought was to break the group up into 2 or more groups. Well I wasn't too fond of that idea because I really did want everyone's journal entries all together, not as separate groups. So after tossing my thoughts around with family and friends I think I have come up with an alternative that will satisfy all of us.

There will in fact be two journals but the group will not be broken up. Everyone will have chance to make entries into both of the journals. Let me break it down:

I have purchased 2 journals--red and black. I'm the first one on the list so I will make an entry in the red journal then mail it on to the next participant who happens to be Melba. Melba will then make an entry and then mail it on to the next participant, and so on and so forth. In the meantime, I will send the black journal to Corey (whose at the bottom of the list--excluding Ali who we are going to work in somewhere once we know a little bit more about her mailing status). Corey will make the first entry into the black journal then mail it to the next participant, who is Meg, and so on and so forth. In other words the red journal will be making its way down the list while the black journal is making its way up the list. I like this idea for two reasons: 1.) It means the people at the bottom won't have to wait so long to get the journal in their eager little hands. 2.) With only one journal the participants at the top wouldn't ever get the full effect of receiving a journal that they could flip through and read the thoughts of others. There wouldn't be very many entries. Now they have that opportunity because they will end up with the black journal--and the bottom will end up with the red. I will start and finish the red journal while Corey starts and finsishes the black journal.

Now wait a minute, you may say. I didn't sign up for two journals. I only wanted to participate once. No problem. Once you've seen the first journal simply e-mail me letting me know you don't want to make an entry in the second journal. I'll remove your name from the participant list so the second journal will bi-pass you.

How do we know where to send the journal after we've made our entry? You will contact the next person on the list (for the red journal it will be the person below you, for the black journal it will be the person above you). Most people have a blog which has e-mail information. Simply make contact with the person letting them know you're ready to send on the journal and they can tell you where to send it. For those participants without a blog link you will e-mail me and I'll get you in contact with them through their e-mail address. (NOTE: If you don't have a blog please make sure I have your e-mail address.) This is the ideal scenario however I understand that handing out your address to a stranger is a very sensitive matter. For those of you who don't want to do that I have another option. You will e-mail me with your address. When the person contacts you about sending on the journal simply let them know to contact me instead. I'll have the person send the journal back to me and then I'll mail it on to you. The only person who will ever see your address is me. I hope that most people will be okay with giving their address to the participants below and above them but I do understand the sensitive nature of this and want to offer a second option.

Cost of shipping? I don't know. I haven't taken the journals to the post office to find out. I will say that with this many participants I did have to get fairly large journals. I didn't want to run out of pages. However I don't want shipping to be an issue for anyone, possibly preventing someone from participating, especially since now there will be two journals instead of the original one. Believe me I completely understand. The first two years of Britton's life I was a single-mother with very little assistance. I know what it's like to get to the final week or two of the month and wonder what you're going to eat, just praying someone will have mercy on you. I wanted to provide some type of postage assistance plan. I propose a postage kitty. But I don't want anyone sending me money and then find myself trying to keep up with it and responsible for getting it to the person who needs it. I had this in mind: When I send off both the red and the black journals I will also include a pre-paid envelope. If anyone needs the envelope USE IT. Don't be embarrassed. That' what it's there for. Let me reiterate--I've been there. I know what it's like. If anyone else would like to contribute to the postage kitty you'd do the same thing--insert another pre-paid envelope before you mail it off. If the journal makes its way to the end of the list and there are some pre-paid envelopes still available please use them. I don't want a lot of pre-paid envelopes coming back to me. Please let me know what you think of the postage kitty idea: is there a better way to do this? Do you think it won't even be an issue so I shouldn't worry about it? Thoughts and opinions are appreciated.

Eventually both of the journals will make their way back to me. I do want anyone who wants completed copies to receive one. Please send your thoughts and ideas on this to me. We have plenty of time to decide how to go about this but we might as well start thinking about it now. And like I said, if the group would rather do an individual journal type thing that is an option. Please give me your thoughts on this. In the long run I think it will be much less expensive to go this route, but this is OUR project so let me know what you want to do.

This is your chance! Please give me feedback, ask questions, offer suggestions. This is just a game plan. There is still time for any tweaking that needs to be done. There are a couple of other minor things I will add to the instructions once we finally get going but I don't want to touch on those things tonight. For tonight I just want to throw this out there and see what you think.

And finally, if you have e-mailed me within the past couple of days I have not had a chance to add you to the list or make the necessary changes. My computer crashed so I've been posting/reading blogs when I have a computer available. Please pray for my computer's sad, sad, sad. I will get all this done before the weekend is over so please be patient with me. And if you have not read the previous post with the requests I made please do so. It's necessary in order to make the participant list work as it needs to. Thank you for choosing to participate in this project. I am so excited about it and can't wait to hear your suggestions and to actually get this underway!

So, that's the plan Stan! Whaddaya think?


Blogger deirdre said...

This sounds good to me. In terms of everyone getting a copy of the finished product, I may have an idea. I don't know much about this yet, but I came across a website called that publishes for a reasonable cost per book. Since we're not going for the open market, but for individual copies, it might be an avenue. I'm so excited about this. And I really believe magic might happen. Michelle, your heart is huge.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Stef said...

everything sounds good to me; i like the idea of the 2 journals and the idea of postage just in case someone has an issue. all good here!

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Way to go, with all that strategizing. I can't wait!!!!

9:30 PM  
Blogger Turquoise CRO said...

sounds Sweet to me kiddo! Go Girlys, GO!!!

9:51 PM  
Blogger liz elayne said...

this is wondrous! i love all of the thought you have put into this my dear. i cannot wait until we get started!!!

9:53 PM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

I think this sounds like a very sound plan -- I can't wait to get my mitts on a journal. And while I wish I would be getting it soon, I'm glad I'll be getting it with plenty to read! And your postage kitty plan is very thoughtful. Everything sounds good to me!

11:49 PM  
Anonymous hundredandone said...

It all sounds good to me. I can't wait to get started!Thank you for doing this Michelle.

1:58 AM  
Blogger catherine james said...

I'm in favor of the two journal/top and bottom of the list proposals, as well as the postage kitty - definitely understand that the cost of mailing/shipping could be an inconvenience.

Perhaps we could divide the costs of printing the journals amoung everyone who wishes to receive a copy - and also search in our respective "regions" to compare prices - we know in certain areas, things can be more or less costly - or (as you suggested Michelle) maybe someone knows a printer who might be willing to give our group a deal...?

2:02 AM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

I'm game and I'm happy there will be 2 journals. I'm also completely fine with giving my address....I can't WAIT!!!!

4:13 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

this is sounding like so much
and so far,
it sounds like you
have all bases covered,
things i never would have
dreamed of doing to fix it...

good for you,

4:33 AM  
Blogger mayseek life said...

great idea-2 journals....(add some people see me as clever and creative beyond belief!)this will be magical.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Fantastic idea! Creative solutions! I love it all. The 2 journal idea is BRILLIANT! The postage-paid envelope idea is INSPIRED! I'm believing that someone will have some brilliant and inspired ideas and connections for a final copy!

5:21 AM  
Anonymous samantha said...

I love it all - love the 2 journal idea, especially as I'm near the top, and the mail kitty idea. Now all I have to do is start worrying over what I'm going to WRITE in the journal - have we talked about that? Are we going to have some sort of topic or just write off the top of our heads?

And I am sending up fervent prayers for your computer.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Star said...

I appreciate all the thought you have put into making the project work with the 2 journals, and your postage kitty plan is brilliant!

It will be like waiting for Santa to come, knowing that he will be bringing the thing at the top of your wish list.

Thanks, Michelle.

6:45 AM  
Blogger melba said...

This sounds like a great plan. I love the 2 journal idea. Especially because I will be getting the journal so soon.
I see Krista is next on the list. I know she is from Canada...that is fine with me to send it to her next. I have sent my postcards all over the world and the postage to Canada isn't that big of a difference.
You might have covered this already, but are there going to be themes or writing prompts to the journal? and if poeple are planning to make this more of an "art journal" we definately need to set up some product guidelines because I know my art journal pages stick together and bleed through and I would hate for that to happen over someone's entry.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

Giddy giggly and going to start first! Michelle, I can send you my address...I will be in California for the next two months, so PLEASE mail me the journal to my USA address.
Wonderful, I promise not to write in French!!

9:27 AM  
Blogger M said...

Michelle, this sounds brilliant! I cannot wait! I love the two journal idea, maybe each one can have a theme or something?
The pre-paid envelopes are a great idea. I had an idea about people not wanting to give out their address and which will mean less work for you too- they can send it "Post Restante" to the town or city where the next person on the list is. All you have to do to pick it up is bring ID to your post office where it's held. Keeps things confidential then. Just a thought.
Maybe there is a way to scan and make a virtual copy of the finished product?? Then again, would be nice to have a copy in our hands.
Let me know if you need any help!

9:49 AM  
Anonymous fringes said...

You've thought this through very well and it shows. I like the plans and all the little plans that are coming along with it. I think I'll start camping out near my mailbox this weekend. I'm very excited. Thanks for bringing us all together.

10:37 AM  
Blogger my pink sky said...

michelle, i can't wait to see this project take off and fly! you've put so much of yourself into this. it's truley amazing!(((applause)))

8:11 PM  
Blogger Ali la Loca said...

Michelle -

I think the 2 journals idea is great and I am eager to participate.

I have a suggestion, though. My greatest fear about the reliability of mail here in Mozambique is that someone would post me a journal already half-full of beautiful words and images, only to have it never arrive here.

You suggested that the second journal start with Corey, but I was thinking...and I think it would make the most sense actually to start with ME. That way, if for some reason the journal never arrives, the loss would only be that of the actual blank book (not that it wouldn't be a loss) instead of all the efforts of prior participants.

In the case the journal (blank) doesn't ever arrive, I will be happy to provide a replacement or you can go back to the original plan and start with Corey, leaving me for an unidentified point in the future when I might have access to mail.

I think SENDING things in the mail from Mozambique to other countries is much more reliable than me actually RECEIVING mail. Because of this, for my participation in the second journal, I see two alternatives:

1. Time it so that I receive the journal while I am in the US on holiday or in Brazil. This could be if-y due to timing. If there are any delays, I won't receive the journal and my family will have to post it to Mozambique anyway.

2. (the one I am increasingly leaning towards). Identify the person ahead of me in line that will be responsible for passing the journal along to me. I can arrange to reimburse this person via Pay-Pal or something similar for the cost of a DHL package (minus whatever the average charge is to send the journal to an address in the US or Canada). That way, whoever is in front of me pays the same average thing as everyone else.

Unfortunately I can't take advantage of the postage kitty to offset the mailing costs because the prepaid envelopes will be for US mail, I'm assuming.

Just thoughts, Michelle. No offense taken if you don't want to start the second journal with me.

Much love to all from a very excited Ali!

12:16 AM  
Blogger baylor said...

I think this is so exciting and you have done a wonderful idea at getting this all together!


6:12 AM  
Blogger vicci said...

This also sounds very good to me! You are so generous...and I know everything will work out! Can't wait!

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


So brilliant and I can't believe I am so giddy to be apart of this!

Thank you, Michelle!!


8:00 AM  
Blogger Rrramone said...

Michelle, just stumbled across this wonderful plan, and am tempted to join in, but I understand if you have all you can say grace over. :-)

Great idea!

9:31 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

This all sounds fab to me... i'm ready and waiting for lift off :-)

1:36 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Can't wait, it all sounds good.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Lunarmusings said...

I love this!!! Please include me if there is still room!

11:58 AM  
Blogger J's Mommy said...

Sounds good. I like the idea of 2 journals floating around. I may have missed this but once we get the journal, what should we write about? Anything?

6:57 PM  
Blogger anni said...

Job well done! It is evident you put a lot of thought into this. Great stategy plan to use 2 journals to coordinate both ends of the list. This way, no one is waiting too long for their entries. Besides, you give everyone a second chance to improve on their first entry.
I am curious if there is a "theme" for our writing or will it be free creative boundaries?
Based on my position on the list, I get to have the pleasure of some good reading.
I'm excited to see where this leads us...I love synergy!

Anni :-)

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

I can't believe it's taken me nearly two weeks to see this post (I'm horribly behind in blog reading) question...and I'm sorry if it's a lame one...but what sort of expectations are there about what each person will add to the journal? Is it one page per person? Is it two (facing pages)? Is it writing/journaling? Artwork? Collage? Is it any or all of the above? Reading this last post I'm suddenly feeling stressed that by the time they reach me, I'll be letting down the team by not knowing what to add...ha! Any guidelines?

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I love the ideas you have for the traveling journals project. I really like the idea of the two, so no one has to wait too long. I would also like to join this group and participate in the traveling journal group. I live in Albuquerque, NM. Please just let me know what I need to do and send me anything I might need to catch up to speed with this group. This is only if you are able to add me to the group. I have no blog and so here is my e-mail address and you may share it with who needs it in the chain of journal passing. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you about my status in this special group. Barb,

9:42 PM  
Blogger Kelly L. Watson said...

This is such a great idea! Is it too late to join?

You might want to add Dan Eldon's journal to your list (he actually has two out now). It's called The Journey is the Destination, and it's truly amazing... especially for those experiencing wanderlust :)

6:25 AM  
Blogger megg said...

I've come here quite late in the commenting and I am laughing OUT LOUD at all of these fabulous crazy artist-creatives. What a wonderous, nutty bunch we are - wondering if there are rules and guidelines and ways we are supposed to do this. We are all so nervous about wrecking it or doing the wrong thing - wildness and abandon is so scary!

I participated in the 1000 journals project (unfortunately the journal disappeared into the wild blue yonder right after I sent it on...) so this way will be so much better. I hope that no one minds shipping to the UK... but I guess it works out because I am also going to ship to them. I think that one tip I learned from the 1000 j's project might be that once we have done our pages if we have a scanner we scan them into the computer - sending them to you so you can update this site once in a while. That way if the dreadful happens and the books get lost we still have pictures of the pages. It's just a thought.

Oh Michelle you dear sweet soul - this is a wonderful idea and I CAN'T WAIT to get my mitts on both of these books - no matter what the rules and guidelines are!!!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Ali la Loca said...

Update to all, especially Michelle:

The verdict is in.

The Mozambican postal system is worthless and non-functional and receives a heartfelt two-thumbs-down from me.

My mom sent a test package of bath bubbles and creams in May and it still hasn't arrived. I have lost all hope of ever seeing the package here in Moz.

I think I should try and fit in on this project during one of my vacations to the US. Everything will have to be well-planned to get the journal to me, but at least it will arrive.

Keep me posted on the game plan.

7:55 AM  

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