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How one influencer uses a journal to run her uber-successful brand

It's should come as no surprise that journaling is, well, downright amazing. The health bennies are endless, it gets your creative juices flowing and, maybe we're biased, but writing is v. fun. And did you know that journaling can also lead to major success? 

Just ask Carrie Berk. The 15-year-old high-schooler, blogger, author, influencer and No Bully advocate is what we like to call a power girl: She knows what she wants and she'll stop at nothing to get it. The foundation of her brand? Organization. And this babe uses Strong is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls to keep her life (mind, body, soul, etc.!) in order. 

ICYMI, the original Strong is the New Pretty by Kate T. Parker is an internationally best-selling book brimming with amazing photographs and *all* the inspiration—and it instantly struck a nerve when it dropped in March 2017. There's no shortage of girl power, positivity and real teens, just like you, between its pages.

The new iteration, Strong is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls, is an illustrated, guided companion released in October that serves to inspire girls as they embrace their independent, wild, silly, powerful selves—and that's exactly how Carrie uses it.

Between going to school, responding to Instagram comments, writing multiple books, attending industry events and working on her social media strategy (yes, we're exhausted just reading that sentence, too), Carrie uses her guided journal not only to organize and keep track of her life, but also to decompress from the craziness of it all.

"I use my journal to lay all my thoughts out on paper, helping me feel ultimately more organized and secure in my life goals," Carrie explains. "In the midst of a busy day, it’s hard to take a moment to breathe and get my thoughts together. I make it a point to schedule 'free' time for myself to journal so that I can let my mind wander and learn things about myself that I may not have noticed before."

But there are times when she cracks open her journal and doesn't even know where to begin—and in those cases, she lets the journal's prompts guide her. Each page is outfitted with a question, call to action or challenge. For example:

   + Draft a thank-you letter to a coach, teacher, or other adult who inspires you.
+ Draw a picture of yourself as a superhero.
+ Make a piece of clothing out of a clean garbage bag and put on your own garbage bag fashion show.
+ Do a good deed for someone. Surprise them with a note telling them how great they are,
draw them a picture, and/or help them out in some way.
   

With these prompts, not only can Carrie learn new things about herself, but she can also get a dose of life inspiration, challenge herself and ask herself important, though-provoking questions, like "What is my biggest dream?" and "What is my motto?"

We know what you're thinking and, yes, it *is* as fun as it sounds. Some prompts are silly, some are serious...and all of them are there to help you be your best self. 

We sat down with Carrie to learn more about her life as an inspirational Instagram It-girl, activist for inclusion and avid journaler. Read on for the full conversation—and more details about Strong is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls.

Girls' Life: Carrie, you’ve built such an inspirational and authentic brand on social media all while balancing myriad other projects. How did you do that?! 
Carrie Berk:
Journaling is a great way to keep track of your goals and plan what you hope to accomplish in the coming weeks, months...even years! Strong Is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls inspires me to keep working toward those goals by helping me look at the bigger picture. With the prompts "Twenty-two years from now I will be..." and "Eleven years from now I will be...," I'm able to fully map out my life in a creative, helpful and aspirational way. Even the "Who is your hero?" page helped me with my goals and my vision. On that page, I wrote about my mom—she's a writer and inspired me to become one, too. Journaling with that prompt reminded me why I picked up a pen in the first place. 

Girls' Life: That's so smart. But how do you step back from the madness and just...relax?
CB:
One of my favorite pages in the journal is the one where I drew my dream job. Not only did it allow me to ponder my future, but drawing and collaging was an enjoyable experience that allowed my creativity to soar. I also liked filling out the page where I wrote five phrases of advice for people who gossip. I have witnessed multiple accounts of bullying—and I've been bullied myself—and having those noted in my journal serve as a reminder to never engage in the negativity.

Girls' Life: Between your blog, your Instagram and the art you’ve created within your journal's pages, it's clear that you're a super creative person. Where do you find inspo?
CB:
I don’t try to search for inspiration, I just let it come to me naturally. People, places and objects all impact what I do, and a journal is the perfect place to keep track of whatever I find. I am often inspired by reading fashion magazines, and I love cutting out different sections and pasting them into my journal. In a way, these pages act as my own personal mood board. 

Girls' Life: How do you stay so on top of things? 
CB:
The journal prompts me to think about my future, which keeps me on my toes and helps me stay motivated. I loved filling out the page that asked “What are you good at? Like really good at.” It serves as a constant reminder of what I am passionate about: writing. If I ever feel uninspired and have a “writer’s block,” turning to that page just fires up my creativity. The journal is also filled with fun activities that are guaranteed to boost my spirits. For example, the page where I drew myself in my “silliest outfit” (a rainbow tutu) will never fail to make me smile!

Girls' Life: What other unique ways do you use your journal that are specific to your lifestyle?
CB:
This might sound strange, but I actually log my outfits! Let me explain: I work with a lot of brands on partnerships and collabs, so keeping track of the items that I need to photograph in a list in my journal helps me stay organized. I also like to write down which locations I’m shooting at, paste in an image of what that looks like, and jot down what clothing I should bring with me. This is the ultimate cheat-sheet for me on the day of the shoot. I'll consult it in the morning so that every shoot goes off without a hitch. And last but not least, Strong is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls is an excellent tool for me to write about happy moments in my life. As someone who is constantly growing and learning, I like to keep track of what's occurred in the past so I can look back and smile at the memories in the future.

Strong Is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls is available now from Workman Publishing and Kate T. Parker. Click here to shop it online or find it in bookstores everywhere. Pssst! Click through below to see more pages from Carrie's journal.

  • slideshow1.jpg

    Here, Carrie shares her go-to life motto—and one super silly outfit. 

  • slideshow2.jpg

    Don't be afraid to get creative in your journal. Carrie takes us through a day in her life and jazzes things up with stickers, cut outs, doodles and more.

  • slideshow3.jpg

    Friendly reminder to always be kind!

    "I have witnessed multiple accounts of bullying," Carrie says, "and I've been bullied myself. Having [these phrases] noted in my journal serve as a reminder to never engage in the negativity."

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by GL | 1/7/2019
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