Wreck This Journal: Week 1 – Playing with Fire


The Next Chapter book club starts up again this week with Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal.  Thanks, Jamie for a great pick!

As I mentioned in my Juicy Pens and Thirsy Paper post last year, I don’t write in my books.  I don’t dog ear.  If I do for some odd reason need to markup a book, I’ll do it very lightly… in pencil.  It goes without saying that Wreck This Journal poses a challenge for me!  Author and artist Keri Smith urges us to roll up our sleeves and get messy with challenges like take the book in the shower with you (are you kidding me?!) or cut through several layers of the book (yikes!) or lick the page (gross).  Hmm, I may need to ease myself in with more innocuous activities like writing on the grocery list page or tracing my hand.

Fortunately, my intuitive painting classes encourage me to get messy, make ugly art and just be in the creative process.  I’ll definitely be tapping into that as I work my way through Wreck This Journal.

I did give myself a head start by buying a used version. It’s still blank inside, but it’s already a little run down and it’s got a black remainder mark on the edge.  I needed to have it broken in rather than cracking open a pristine copy.  Perhaps that’s cheating a bit, but it’s what worked for me! 😉  I even loved how the envelope it came in has seen better days.


Given that during the 12 Secrets Next Chapter adventure, I shared that I could use more fire in my life, I chose to kick off wrecking my journal by doing the “burn this page” page.  Here’s a video of my first attempt.

After I got the hang of it and wasn’t worried that the whole book would go up in flame, I got bolder and played around more with the burnt edges.  I actually like the effect.


I’m looking forward to meeting other Next Chapter wreckers this summer and playing together!  Here’s to wrecking!

38 thoughts on “Wreck This Journal: Week 1 – Playing with Fire”

  1. o.k., how awesome are you? I love that you’re already tackling your fears. I’m thinking this book is going to be one incredibly fun project!! yay!

  2. Way to dive into the fire head on! I too am a worshiper of books. All the books in my bookshelf look like they have never been touched, let alone read. Oh is this going to be FUN! 🙂

  3. Oh, that’s too funny!! I’m a LOT terrified of the burning bit…thanks for the inspiration and the dose of courage!!

    I belong to the book worshipping club myself….highlighting textbooks would make me break out into a cold sweat and I could only do it if I didn’t really like the subject material…;)

  4. Hahaha!! Fabulous!!
    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! Been going around blog land checking out how people are introducing day 1 of the book……and girl – you totally rocked it!!
    How fun you are!!!…..Me….I opened the book and wrote about the first page with WRECKLESS ABANDON…..sheesh!

    I’m not a chicken anymore after seeing your vlog!!
    Awesome first day!

  5. I loved your video!! Way to go for diving in with FIRE! I decided I was going to open a book to a random page and do that one first – and got the one that challenges me the most: dirtying up with book with food – GROSS! But plans are in the works to do that today.

    And what a great strategy for taking the edge of the book.

  6. I think I’m okay with wrecking it… although there are instructions that I find yuck, also… but I’m fighting with my desire to “make art.”

    Not just wreck, but create an aesthetically pleasing end point. I just don’t see the point in just WRECKING.

    I suppose it will be a personal challenge.

  7. I love that you took a leap and burned that page. Awesome. Now all kind of juicy creativity can come tumbling out.

  8. Ohh I’m excited to get to the page-burning part! It’s not like I’m a pyro or anything, but I like looking at the colors in the fire, and the way the paper crumples up.

  9. Love that you started with burning the page. I also love that you put up a video of it. It’s given me an urge to do some burned pages somewhere even though I’m not wrecking this journal with the rest of you this time around.

  10. You are so cute!! I’m totally the opposite..and actually wish I could be more like you, so that I could then pass my books on and be more environmental friendly. I write, draw, and even dabble down random notes in my books. My books are of various shapes and sizes due to numerous falls into the bathtub or sink, or constant spills of tea–that’s a big one!! But, I think its so great that you faced your fear and on video none the less-for all of us to witness. You rock Jenn.

    Peace & Love.

  11. Oh what fun!
    I have had my WTJ since late last year, and I had no idea so many people knew about it!
    Gave it as christmas gifts to a lucky few, and was going strong w/mine til maybe 2 months ago, must go get it and re-start my wrecking!

    My problem page is the “chew this page” ewww.

    How about we set up a WTJ show when we’re all done? That would be so fun!

  12. Wow, you are so brave to have already burned a page! I’m excited to really get started…all I’ve done so far is put some fruit stickers in mine. 🙂 Happy journalling!

  13. Hi Jenn. I love that you confronted your fear of fire. I have the same one. I decided not to burn the page this morning. Now I am gonna muster up the courage and follow your lead. I love the video. That’s what made me say I can do it. Wreck the journal!

  14. Wow what a firy start! Loved the video. That will be one I take a bit of working up to.

  15. Way to go tackling your fear of fire right away! I’m not looking forward to wreckng it up with food because I’m afraid it will smell after a while. Hopefully, I can tackle that fear the way you tackled yours! 🙂

  16. I love the video of you being brave fire girl…. scared but doing it anyhow!!! You are an inspiration and beyond totally adorable!

  17. LOVE watching you burn it! And that you chose to do that page first because it was the scariest — very cooool. 🙂 Soooo looking forward to wrecking in partnership with all of you this summer… miracles, k-

  18. I love that you posted a video for your burning! Before I even opened the book yesterday I decided I might try burning a page, so I was happy to see there was a page giving me full permission to do so.

  19. loved your video!! glad to see you burn (and go back and burn some more)!! looking forward to sharing in the rest of the wrecking journey with you 🙂

  20. Oooh – burning on the first day! I love it! and all the color that you have added. You have inspired me to be bolder…I started with circles but I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and have some fun!

  21. hehe…I’ve totally been avoiding “burn this page”! I love it. Very brave to start there. For some reason I’m picturing the whole book blowing up in my hand, me throwing the book in fear, and then setting my house on fire.

    I really absorbed those safety lessons in elementary school. 🙂

    Thanks for going first!

  22. Burn, Baby, Burn!!! 🙂 ha! I love it! I love seeing you! I love seeing flame! I love seeing your environment! I love every last little bit of this!

    heehee! This book group is going to be hellaciously fun! 🙂

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