Very early in the life of The Storybox Project we realised that creating a journal to record and reflect upon our work would be a powerful way for us to ensure that our work remained responsive, relevant and innovative. Then, and now, this involves a basic journal format, which records the highs and lows of each activity or workshop, as well as making a note of particularly memorable moments in the journeys made by individuals and groups as a result of participation.
Our journal is simple and takes less than five minutes to complete. It asks the same questions every time:
- What did we do?
- What went well?
- What didn’t go so well?
- What moments were the highlights?
- Any other reflections…?
We have now documented our work in this way for over a decade and it is a unique record of the way that STORYBOX has developed and grown over the years.
If you would like to have a go at creating your own reflective journal here are some suggestions to get your started:
- KEEP IT QUICK – You are aiming for a snapshot of what has happened. Set a stopwatch for five minutes and be strict about not spending any longer than that on your reflections.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE – Three or four basic prompts are all that you need to capture the essence of what has gone on in an activity of workshop. It can be good to type out your questions and print a pile of them off so that you have an easy to use form to fill in as and when you need them.
- MAKE IT A HABIT – Make the time, then repeat after each activity or session so that your journaling becomes a habit and part of your routine.
- REFLECT DON’T WRITE – The reflection is for your benefit so simple note and bullets are enough to keep a record. You don’t need to be able to write to make this happen!
- DO IT NOW! – Complete your journal as part of the tidying up after an activity. In our experience if we leave it later the reality is that it doesn’t happen.
- KEEP IT TOGETHER AND USE IT – Get a nice file to keep your journal in and make sure you find time to look back and use your records to inform planning and development.
- DO IT TOGETHER – If you are working with somebody else bouncing ideas off each other makes the process much more fun. With some groups / participants it may even be possible to bounce ideas of them to record how they feel about what they have participated in.
- KEEP IT USEFUL – Don’t find it beneficial? Then stop! It’s only worth doing if it works for you. Though do try it for a couple of weeks to allow yourself to get into some kind of habit or routine before you decide to call it a day.