How to make dreams come true

Is there anything better than a brand new notebook? I love the smell of the blank paper, the feel of the cover in my hand, the promise of all the ideas I’m going to catch and keep. Whenever I start a new project I like to treat myself to a new notebook (any excuse!) as a way to mark the beginning — I did this with my book and now have a battered Moleskine full of all the threads I wove together.

I use an A5 Filofax (an ochre Malden, for all you Filofanatics out there) for all my business notes as I like the flexibility the loose pages and dividers give me. I’ve tried using online calenders and note-catchers, but nothing beats paper and pen for fast notes and brainstorming — it just suits my brain better.

So it was at the end of last year when it occured to be me that I could use a similar system for my dreaming & scheming. I’ve taken one of Andrea Schroeder’s journalling courses and have always admired her daily journalling, and while I don’t have any painterly talents, i do like to get my crafty on once in a while. So I turned my spare A5 Filofax (aqua Finsbury) into my Creative Dream Journal. And by “creative dream journal” I mean the stuff I want to manifest and make happen. Because to do lists are how I organise my daily tasks, so why not try a to do journal?

It could work, right?

There are currently six sections I’m working with: Life, Love, Business, Home, Abundance and 2012. Rather than be too precious about it, I’m sticking in magazine tearings, using lots of coloured paper and blinging it all out with washi tape and Sharpies. I’ve also recently discovered the joys of blank paper. I always use lined Moleskines for journalling — there’s something about the orderliness of the lines that keeps my scrawly handwriting in check and helps the words flow — but in my CDJ i’m using coloured pens on blank paper and it seems to access a part of my brain that’s been wanting to play for a while. I’ve been yearning for COLOUR! and scribbles! and messy mindmaps!

(I’m sure all you creative journallers out there are nodding your heads, but it took me a while to figure all this out ;)

I work in each section when I have something to add — sometimes that’s daily, sometimes it’s weekly, but either way, having a turquoise binder near me helps to jog my memory. It feels like i’m more actively participating in my dream creation/wish fulfillment/possibility attraction.

The 2012 section has been well-thumbed as i work through my Unravelling workbook and sketch out plans for the new year. Life has a driving instructor’s card taped in as i plan to retake my test this year. Love is filling up with lists and letters. Home holds all the plans for my next move, including the adoption of a kitty.

Business is my space for dreaming up new ways to send my work out into the world. I’ve also been doing the Business Soul Sessions exercises in here and enjoying looking at my biz from different angles (including imagining my biz as a person, above.)

Meanwhile, I’m unpicking my ideas around income, relationships, possibility and the future in the Abundance section. This is curently the least used section of my CDJ — even though I whole-heartedly believe in abundance, I still struggle with it, if that makes sense, so i knew I needed to give it some space. Or perhaps it will be absorbed into the other sections — this is why using a Filofax (or any binder) works so well. It’s a perpetual work in progress that can be added to and edited as the whim takes me. It’s never finished, unlike a bound notebook. There’s something incredibly satisfying about working on all my plans in this way, and being able to reorder pages is helping me reorder my world too.

So there you have it. Operation Make Dreams Happen is a go.

How do you organise your dreaming and scheming?

27 responses
  1. Graciel

    Like you, Brave Woman, it always begins with paper and pen. A fresh notebook and colored folders to organize the dream. The folders right now are all orange; the color of joy. :)

    And the dream? It’s all about HOME. xo

  2. jane

    this is, like you, bloody gorgeous

  3. Lis

    Susannah, something’s up with your webpage I think, I can’t see anything newer than the January 9th post (ABCs of important things) when I go straight to But I get the new posts to my reader. Has something changed with the website, is it just me doing something weird? x

  4. Amy Palko

    I have been swithering over getting a filofax since xmas (John Lewis vouchers burning a hole in my pocket!) – the thought of a filofax entirely dedicated to manifesting my dreams? I am *so* sold!! Now I just need to pick a colour… ;-)

  5. Courtney Kirkland

    I’m always intrigued and inspired by creative journals. I’m a visual see & do kind of person as well, so no online or “tech” planner or organizer has ever worked for me. I need paper and multi-colored pens. I’ll have to give this idea a whirl! I like the idea of brainstorming and mind mapping multiple areas of my life at once, all in one place!

  6. Lindsay Drya

    Wauw, after having a bad mood… your blogpost and one of my other fav bloggers (Jill) my mood is much better now. Phoe damn.. you are both amazing. Just reading this… happy stuff, about dreams, these great pictures, whoohh.

    I have many journals but the one about inspiration and wishes I didn’t use for many months… but it’s new moon today and the right time to work on the new hopes and dreams so… I know what kind of homework I have to do this evening!

    Thanks for sharing this post Susannah. :)

  7. susannah

    thanks for letting me know, hon — i’ll look into it! x

  8. samantha

    This post really spoke to my spirit – I love notebooks/Sketchbooks/journals… I too am always armed with a reason to purchase a new one, {although I have so many…} I love the CDJ concept & pretty sure I now have excuse #543 for a new journal! xoxo Samantha

  9. Steven Andrew

    I love this and I’ve been dying to try it out. I’m trying to make my own journals but it’s not coming out well. I’d love a journal just like this! :)

  10. Barbara

    Oh my! I would kill for your washi tape collection!

  11. Tegan

    Same for me too, i thought I was doing something wrong! That didnt stop me though, I can stil get to them via the archives’ link :)

  12. Tegan

    Ahh i have this ‘disease’ too, I cannot go into a book store without buying a new journal! :D

  13. Tegan

    I have a shelf full of journals and notebooks, I always find a use for them, currently I have:

    – Ideas A4 notebook, which is overfilled and bursting, this houses every idea ive had in the last few years, whether that was business or creative project or just general ‘what if I did this…’

    – A grateful journal which is so gorgeous I just cant stop holding it! Its the smallest of my journals (almost half A5 size) and reading it makes me smile so much, I jot down things that ive been grateful for, some entries include snowball fights and bangers and mash :D

    – A ‘dream’ journal, in which I jot down the dreams I have each night, they make fascinating reading and im hoping to make some stories from some of them one day and maybe a film!

    – A personal journal, bit more like a diary, anything that been happening in my life goes in here, this is a new addition.

    – Another journal that started off as an exercise and fitnes journal but then I decided that was too boring to waste it on, currently in the undecided pile.

    – A fresh purchase today which will become my photography journal, as ive just bought my first polaroid camera and am bidding on an old pentax film camera im gonna need somewhere to store the prints. This journal is so lovely, its a ‘design’ journal so it has rules printed in the front and graphical paper dotted throughout, im itching to put something in it, its totally blank! ahhhh

    and finally I have my day to day diary which has the most luscious textured cover, its almost quilted, its slimline and fits perfectly in your hand, I sometimes just sit and stare at it :D

    I think i may have a journal fetish, didnt actually realise that until now :D

    Pics on my Flickr:

    Tegan xx

  14. susannah


  15. Helen

    I love the concept of a journal devoted entirely to dreams and wishes. You’ve inspired me!

    I’m a big believer in putting things out there and visualising your wishes, especially when it comes to love. Back in 2003, I’d just had my heart smashed and thought I’d never meet anyone again. My housemate encouraged me to read a book called Cosmic Love which was all about creative visualisation; writing down what you wanted from a partner, organising your life to make room for them, etc. I somewhat sceptically did the things suggested in the book (even down to cleansing my room with sage!) although I thought it was a load of old hokum. Not a month later, however, I met a man who was everything I’d described and more. Nine years later, he’s now my husband. Conclusion: visualisation is pretty powerful!

  16. EMC

    Beautiful. I always love journals but am somewhat resistant to them too. (Don’t ask, who knows). However, when you had that filofax link up for cheap filos I bought a couple – not as pretty as yours — but will repurpose accordingly…and hope I fill them in… Thanks for the inspiration. E.x

  17. Shannon

    Loved this post. I’m doing something similar with a Planner Pad thanks to Kimberly Wilson and am also including magazine tearings and am a bit obsessed with Washi tape. I actually found some brilliant ones that are photography themed! And I’m totally with you about actually writing things down when I’m brainstorming. Call me old skool but it’s the best way I scheme and dream. Here’s to a fabulous 2012!

  18. Christianne

    Oh my goodness! I just created a similar journal for myself a couple weeks ago for the very first time!

    Here’s a photo.

    And here’s a post I wrote (just last night!) about this process, complete with a photo and attribution to YOU, lovely, girl for the Unravelling 2012 exercise.


  19. Jessica

    Why haven’t you shared your doodle on the HSHB facebook page??

    I organize with various notebooks, but it all comes back to my agenda. The other day my brother was over to eat dinner and he looked at my open agenda and said “Wow, that’s so pretty.” I was flabergasted. My agenda? He said “You should take a picture of it.” And I thought…for who?? Then I read this the next day. Maybe you’ll appreciate it. I too am a pen to paper gal.

  20. susannah

    your brother is right :D

  21. susannah

    Love it! :)

  22. Kathryn

    I keep my ideas in different notebooks, one for story ideas, one for snippets, for shorter snippets, etc.
    But your journal looks amazing!

  23. Montse Grifol Roche

    Hi!! I recently discovered your blog and love it! Great tips and very intelligent quotes. Greetings from an almost 35 nowaday girl who also lives off rent. Best from Barcelona!!

  24. McKella

    I actually find Pinterest really useful for making vision boards, because I’m not limited to the photos in my magazine stash. I also journal, just because writing things out helps me clarify.

  25. ABCcreativity

    This is so juicy and magic Susannah! Yes – it will definitely work :)

  26. Alexis

    when i was little i had a cat named bingo.

  27. Ashley

    I have longed for a Filofax Organizer for years. Yes, I am a proud nerd. To see one being used for such beautiful dreamy journalling, I am more eager to get my hands on one.
    Your images and your journals are amazing and so inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

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