And so we come to the end of this tale...

One day while driving home from work after finding and researching yet another planner online that I thought could maybe be the one but of course was not, it suddenly hit me like a bolt of lightning:

I could just make it….

I have those skills. And I know what I need it to include. And at the same time as the idea to make it arrived in my head, I also had a flash of design inspiration. The minute I walked in the door I grabbed paper and a pencil and just spent an hour sketching out each template page. It was, frankly, magical. It was divine inspiration. Now I had a plan.

The sketches from that very first night...

The sketches from that very first night...

The weekly spread from the Creative Life Planner! I still use this basic format to this day! 

The weekly spread from the Creative Life Planner! I still use this basic format to this day! 

Over the following few months I designed the templates and began researching printing options (and discovered that THAT process was 12x more complicated than I expected). I began designing the interior spreads, all beautifully and intentionally, and it was taking me longer than I wanted (hi, I’m Elise, and I’m pretty impatient, especially when I’m excited!), I was still making steady progress on this massive project.

And then, life happened. My lease was up, my roommate was moving out to get married, I wasn’t having any luck finding another roommate or another place to live, and my manager had basically just informed me that the salary I was currently receiving was the highest I was ever going to receive at the company, so I was already at the “top” financially speaking and it wasn’t enough to cover my bills. Something had to be done. Something drastic.

So, I moved in with family to cut costs, and I left the job to go out on my own as a freelancer. And those two things meant that my plan for what I was at the time calling “the creative life planner” was officially moved to the back burner and basically turned off.


Fast forward a year and a half to the fall of 2017, and I was in a dip of freelance creative life that basically became one giant panic attack of overwhelm- simultaneously zero options and all the options and I was questioning everything. So I sat down and wrote out everything that I *wanted* to be working on and doing with my life instead of panicking about how I was going to pay rent for the umpteenth time. The Creative Life Planner was towards the top of the list. I showed that list to a friend and he said basically “you’ve been slow burning on this for years now. It’s too long. Just finish it and move on already.” And I agreed with him.

But the catch was that I still had neither the time nor the money to do it the way I had always been picturing. In order to do it “properly,” it had to be fully illustrated, fully designed for a full year (or two 6 month books), and it had to be hard cover and spiral bound. Because it was an illustrated planner, damnit, and if I was ever going to hope to market and sell it at a comparable price, it had to be perfect. And those specifics were the things I had neither the time or money to create. So I was still stuck.


Then, it was Christmas time, and I was shopping for gifts. One of my best friends has a gorgeous  Tarot deck that we both love, and I was shopping for Christmas presents and also just looking up that deck and contemplating getting one for myself, when I noticed that in the “related products” section on Amazon was something called a “Tarot Journal,” by the same artist and meant to accompany the deck. So, voila, Christmas present found! I ordered it promptly.

When it arrived I was flipping through it because I thought it was just so neat! It was a blank journal, soft cover, but had illustrations from the Tarot cards scattered throughout the blank journal pages….and then it hit me. I could do this with my planner. I could do an illustrated journal. And that could be printed and sold on demand, and if it was a bullet journal instead of a lined journal, it could be versatile enough and still incorporate all of the things that I originally wanted. It was brilliant. It was another stroke of lightning.

Suddenly I was inspired and excited again! And it was almost January, so I was determined to get it designed and finished and up on Amazon’s createspace by January. Well, that was clearly unrealistic, but it was good motivation. I storyboarded the entire thing in a day, and then began putting together the InDesign file.

Of course, life continued to get in the way, and everything creative takes 100x longer than we think it will, because this creative work often has a mind of it’s own. But, the bulk of the work was finished up in just a few short months. The first proof copy was finally ordered in early June.

Sadly it did not measure up quality wise to the demands of this specific book. So after torturing myself and many friends agonizing over what to do about that, I went back to the drawing board and began searching for a way to print it at the quality I wanted. Eventually I found a factory that claimed to be able to do everything I wanted at a reasonable price, and so here we are.

We have launched pre-orders months in advance because, frankly, this is sort of an unofficial Kickstarter. I’m determined to do it anyways, no matter how long it takes. But, until we pre-sell 111 copies, I cannot afford to place the order with the factory at all. But we’re throwing a launch party in November, one way or another. And I’m hoping that the quality and value of the journal will more than incentivize at least 100 people to jump on board and help me make this dream a reality. To make this balance a reality. And I haven’t been disappointed yet by everyone else’s enthusiasm!

I’m confident that this is going to be amazing-- the launch party as well as the physical journals. It’s going to be magical, I’m sure. And luckily, I have my first proof copy of the Starlight Journal to keep me on track while I balance all of the demands of this launch and my regular freelance career. I literally don’t know what I would do without it.


Thanks, as ever, for listening to the long and windy story of how this journal came to be! I hope you enjoyed it! 

Order your own copy here ----->


The three different iterations of this project over the years. 

The three different iterations of this project over the years.