Everything You Need to Know for International Fake Journal Month

. . . .which, in case you haven’t kept track, begins tomorrow. And that’s most assuredly *not* an April Fool’s Day joke.

Freeman-Zachery IFJM 2

from Roz’s fake journal in 2013

Here’s the last installment of Roz’s information about IFJM, and remember: you don’t have to start tomorrow. It’s fun if you do, but if you just can’t quite get ready in time, you can still join in and participate.

IFJM 2014 logo

IFJM 2014 Logo

Roz writes:

I’ve had some incredible blow out years where the project expanded beyond what I would suggest most people attempt. My 2011 fake journal was like that and people can read about it here.

I ended up having a character with 2 pen names, and of course her fake name, and she had blogs she was posting on and it got pretty involved.  I was responding to a particularly stressful time in my life so I blew things up to cram in as much as possible.

A similar thing happened in 2013. Through a rather basic math error I decided I had to do more pages than I really needed to do to fill a book before the end of the month, and I ended up finishing it on the 18th or something like that. The flip through is here.

The text is here.


I’m not sure exactly how many people participate each year, but since it went on the internet in 2009 it’s grown from somewhere in the 20s to over a hundred people who write in sometime during the month of April and tell me that they are participating.


Some people participate in the public celebration and post their pages as the month goes along. I list those people in lists on the blog, so that people can follow along. I think this is a great aspect of the celebration as these people are fearlessly putting their work out there and it encourages other folks, and in turn people see what they are up to.

Freeman-Zachery IFJM 1

from Roz’s fake journal in 2013

I realize it’s sort of a niche group in that not everyone who can understand the concept and the benefits is going to want to participate.  Most folks would rather just keep their regular journal. But it has been fun to watch it grow.


There are so many cool stories that I hear from people I can’t think of just one to share. What’s gratifying is that people write and tell me that it has helped their regular journaling.


In part they are able to point to ways in which it has because I ask that people write a “debriefing” after April is over and consider what happened as they worked on the project. I’m really big on doing assessments and I think this is a crucial part of the learning experience.  We call these “wrap-ups” and they can be found in the category list.


Perhaps the most startling have been the notes from people who wrote from a vantage point that allowed them to look at some difficult issue in their life. I don’t start out by suggesting that to folks, but it doesn’t surprise me that it’s been adapted for that. My own 2009 fake journal was a way for me to grieve over the death of a friend.


One other gratifying thing is the number of people who repeat each year. Some keep the same character, others create new characters.



People interested in getting started (after they’ve read what it is and what the basics entail) might want to look at this. I’ve got specific tips in that post.

Then on the fake journal blog I have categories for tips as well. And here.

In each of those they’ll find posts where I write about my process in deciding on a type of book, media, and character. I think people find those process oriented posts helpful.


Telling a story Pros and Cons.

Keeping your momentum going 


Perhaps the best thing for people is to follow the simple guidelines stated in paragraph 2 of this document

1. be yourself but have the journal will contain fake happenings and events; 2. be yourself in another universe; or 3. be someone else. It’s what you want to do. Once you settle on an author that same persona creates all the entries.

Keeping it simple is always the best—something that you can do in 15 to 30 minutes a day. If you don’t keep it to that it’s not going to get done. Or it’s going to impinge on your real life in a negative way.


In short, there’s really nothing to keep you from jumping in, even though IFJM begins tomorrow. Your fake journal can be whatever you want it to be, and the month can be more fun than you thought it was possible for Tax Month ever to be!


See more of Roz’s journal (and other fascinating stuff) on her website and blog.

Sketchbook Confidential 2_160Find art journaling inspiration in Sketchbook Confidential 2.






Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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