I adore the written word. Ever since I was a little girl, I have preferred to communicate through writing. I was a shy kid who grew into a socially anxious young adult, so it was difficult to just talk to people, particularly if they were strangers. Writing gave me the space and time to think about what I wanted to say, see it plainly in front of me, and then modify if it came out wrong without the pressure of someone standing in front of me waiting for me to speak.
As a more-or-less well-adjusted adult, I’ve developed stronger verbal communication skills, but I still love writing (obviously). Crafting the perfect sentence is an art form to me. I geek out over grammar and how a simple comma can completely change your message.
I wouldn’t call myself the grammar police though. If you’re a wordsmith yourself, then you’ve probably noticed when I’ve bent the rules. Always with purpose though. Just like with ballroom, I don’t rebel just to rebel. Knowing when to bend the rules is part of the art.
A side effect of my love affair with the written word is my obsession with journals. I’ve journaled since I was a child and still have countless, half-filled journals taking up space in my apartment. There’s nothing quite like a new journal with a cover that sparks imagination and pages that feel fresh and crisp, just waiting to absorb the ink of your pen. The last time I bought a journal at Barnes and Noble, I lost track of time exploring the options and changing my mind at least five times about which one would finally come home with me. So many possibilities, so many adventures we could go on together.
There was a period of time in my adult life when I stopped writing. My creative spark had been smothered by the daily grind and me putting others’ desires above my own. Then came ballroom.
As you know, ballroom dancing triggered a phoenix-like rising of my creativity, leading me to finally complete my tree tattoo idea, get it inked, and start writing creatively again. This time, I was writing as The Girl with the Tree Tattoo.
Fast forward to today and writing has become an essential part of my life, intertwined with my dancing. It’s also become my mission to use my love of writing to improve and enhance the journey for ballroom dancers regardless of when they started dancing, why they started dancing, what they look like, how old they are, or how much financial support they have.
The Girl with the Tree Tattoo blog was the first place I began providing insights and inspiration around the journey of the adult ballroom dance student (i.e., the ProAm dancer). I knew I couldn’t be the only one experiencing the emotional ups and downs and the unique challenges that accompany this journey. As I used the blog to process my personal experiences, I became a voice for those like me.
I blogged about all of my experiences as a ProAm ballroom dancer, including the good, the bad and the awkward. I shined a light on topics rarely addressed or swept under the rug by others. I was open and honest about my triumphs and my struggles. I wanted everyone else to know that they weren’t alone.
I achieved a lifelong dream when I went beyond the blog to become a published author (as in the kind who gets paid!). I authored three books that covered specific aspects of the ProAm dance journey, including what you need to know when you’re first starting out (Dance Diaries: Learning Ballroom Dance), how to budget for the exorbitant costs of ballroom (Dance Diaries: Ballroom Budgeting), and finally how to keep up your dance training in between lessons with your teacher or coach (The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing). I showed my fellow dancers how to handle all of the non-dance variables affecting their dance journey and shine as their authentic selves on the dance floor.
Today, I get to check another item off my bucket list. Like so many, I had multiple notebooks and loose papers documenting pieces of my dance journey including showcase ideas, workshop notes and personal reflections. There are a million different journals in the world, but I started imagining a dance journal to rule all dance journals. A singular place where all of our precious dance notes could be stored and easily referenced. A place to record our whole dance journey.
What if The Girl with the Tree Tattoo was the one to create this resource?
Ladies and gents, I’m proud to present my latest creation designed specifically for you – A Journal for the Whole Dance Journey!
Just like a dancer has to be flexible yet firm, this 150-page journal is flexible enough to fit nearly anyone’s note-taking style, but structured enough to keep notes organized and easily referenced at a later date. In this journal, you can record notes from your private lessons, group classes, solo practice, workshops and anything else. All of your notes in one place. It includes features specifically requested by dancers, such as a way to index your notes so you can find them easily three months later, structured space to set goals and intentions, and open space to take notes however you best take notes.
I admit that I allowed one exception to the one journal that would rule them all. My experience writing out my Open routines led me to feel that choreography required a special place of its own where it wouldn’t get mixed in with group class routines or workshop drills.
So I created a second journal – The Choreography Journal.
This journal is also 150 pages and has enough space for you to record up to 10 of your master routines for competitions, shows and more. The design elements of this journal were inspired by dancers like you, such as the dance floor diagram for people who prefer to sketch or draw, the free space for character and story development, and the specific line formatting on the lined pages that allows you to write out timing either horizontally or vertically. However you prefer to notate your dances, this journal provides the structure and space for it.
For years, I documented my own dance journey for the benefit of myself and then for others. With these journals, I am now able to provide a way for others to document their own dance journey! Instead of coming full circle, it’s like climbing to the next peak.
Preorders are available for the Journal for the Whole Dance Journey and Choreography Journal. Order between now and October 12, and you’ll get free shipping! Check out the product page for more information and for sneak peeks at the strategically designed interior pages.