Have you ever wanted to be a hero? Well, you are one already, according to the makers of the Hero’s Journal and its new sequel Istoria Magic Academy running from now until March 16, 2021.
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I love planners, journals, and all matters of productivity enhancers. I also love coloring. I’ve introduced my children to some productivity tools and coloring, but I’ve never had any luck with encouraging interest in journaling. The Hero’s Journal, however, changed the story for all of us. The Hero’s Journal promised to deliver planning, journaling, and coloring all in one package, and it follows through with that promise in spades. Their newest offering, Istoria Magic Academy, is the next evolution of a system that is ideal for parents and kids.
The Hero’s Journal is more than a planner or a journal. It’s a story, with you as the protagonist. The introductory pages help you define a quest to set upon. Somehow, a quest seems way cooler than a mere goal, right? Every part of this journal has been thoughtfully crafted with you, a hero, in mind. The journal came about as two college friends, Nick and Kyle, discovered overlapping needs for something that could help them manage their time, organize their thoughts and assignments, and reframe their own stories in a more positive light. Self-identified nerds, these heroes eventually worked together to Kickstart the original Hero’s Journal in 2019 and have since helped over 20,000 heroes do the same.
The Hero’s Journal employs a multitude of science based techniques to support you on your quest with their journals. Planners have been useful for many people to stay organized, particularly students and humans with deadlines (also known as everyone). Coloring is a fantastic stress reliever for many people and can encourage mindfulness. Journaling is a widely touted method for clarifying your own thoughts and feelings, activating both sides of your brain, problem solving, and reducing those intrusive thoughts I like to call brain hamsters.
What makes the Hero’s Journal and Istoria Magic Academy different is their commitment to supporting you throughout your mission—quest—thing. Many journals get you started, but it can be a chore to find one that truly helps you see your quest’s story to the end. In addition, the creators designed the Hero’s Journal and Istoria Magic Academy to be kind, first and foremost. The pages aren’t dated, giving you the space to miss a day or two (or, in my case, I once missed two months) without guilt. You’re encouraged to pick your story back up right where you left it.
Throughout your quest, there are pages set aside for reflection on the previous several days’ worth of pages. Questions prompt you to consider how you’re doing on your quest, and how you’re fighting the villains and threats facing you on it. The Hero’s Journal takes you on a high fantasy journey, while the newer Istoria Magic Academy on Kickstarter will enroll you as a student at the Academy. According to the creators, the Hero’s Journal is “all about setting out and meeting allies and overcoming obstacles and threats; whereas, the Istoria Magic Academy is a story about failure and perseverance.”
Alongside your own quest, these journals offer scenes that may correlate to your place in the story. In the Hero’s Journal, pages are static between each reflection; however, Istoria Magic Academy touts different artwork on every page. Between each reflection, you’ll watch a scene play out from day to day, with characters you’ll come to love.
Do your kids love magic and fantasy? Do they struggle to see themselves as a hero, even though they are the star of their own story? Are you kids living through a pandemic while trying to navigate school, a new way of interacting with the world, and the stressors of everyday life? Have you ever considered handing your kid a diary, but they tried it once and gave up? If you answered yes to any of these questions, for your children or yourself, the Hero’s Journal or Istoria Magic Academy is probably worth a shot. The structure of guidance with the freedom of making your story your own is an absolute delight.
One thing is certain about the Hero’s Journal. Those who buy and use it love it, parents included. In addition to my own family’s experiences, I’ve spoken with other parents with children as young as seven utilizing the Hero’s Journal. Sometimes, it starts as a coloring book with pages printed from the digital version of the journal that is included with most purchases. Parents with older kids mention that they graduated to the hardback physical journal and carry it everywhere. Not only can the journal be a healthy and mindful way to help your children navigate this stressful world, but it can also help you learn about their hopes and dreams, the threats they perceive, and the many things they’re grateful for. Our family has started making journaling a blissfully quiet togetherness activity, where we have some time to pause and reflect and think about what really matters to us. When we’re done with our journaling, we can share whatever we’re comfortable with.
For many geeklings, the idea of being invited to a magical school is a little less threatening than being called to a great quest to defeat a scary villain. As is standard with a Kickstarter, backing gives you the opportunity to get bonus material as well. If you have younger kids who love younger magicians, Istoria Magic Academy just might be the perfect starter journal for them.
If you’re not sure about this journaling thing, and just want to try something out for a shorter period of time, you’re in luck. In 2020, during the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Hero’s Journal released a Quarantine Quest in their Facebook group, The Hero’s Quarters. That file helped grow the unusually supportive community from a mere 40 members to over 20,000 in a few months, and is still available.
Downloading the file does require that you be a member of the Facebook group, but just a few hours in the group and you’ll find a community that is truly one of the most supportive and united on the platform.
While The Hero’s Journal web store will be closed at the beginning of the Kickstarter, Nick and Kyle have confirmed that they hope to open it again for shipping out original Hero’s Journals sometime during the month-long campaign.
I’ve always wanted to be a journaler, knowing the many benefits of the process. The Hero’s Journal has given me a chance to make journaling something that I not only enjoy, but look forward to. Whenever I make strides toward my personal quest, I grin knowing I’ll be able to log it in my journal. And as I color my Hero’s Journal friends and allies, I know I’m never alone on the journey, no matter how much it may seem that way on the darkest days. My family looks to their journals as a friendly sidekick, and I can’t imagine any better endorsement.
The Kickstarter is open until March 16th. You can read more about The Hero’s Journal on their website.
To join the Facebook group, visit The Hero’s Quarters.