For a long time, I’ve been keeping a morning journal. Originally, I did it as a necessity and it’s been my constant, true friend. Perhaps it’s self-indulging, as some might say, but as far as I can tell, it has helped me throughout my days and provided an anchor when I felt astray. I’ve been keeping a journal for many years – let’s just say for as long as some of you readers have been alive…egats.
When I first started to write I didn’t realize how beneficial it would be. Journaling was simply the place where I could speak uninterrupted, freely, openly and air out my grievances with family, friends, school, work and most of all, myself. Sometimes it was a little “massaging the missing” but most often it was “massaging the misery” out. I think this developed in me the ability to self-reflect, express my thoughts and let feelings go.
Keeping a diary (to be old-fashioned) was my choose-your-own-adventure and therapy all warmly wrapped up into one delicious turnover. I’ve tried to write strictly, a gratitude journal, but it’s not the same. All I ended up doing was limiting how I wrote, pretending I was fine when I wasn’t, and basically feeling miserable.
I think it’s really important to free write. Now, Julia Cameron thinks it’s best to write non-stop, without thinking, just sprinting on the page nonsense to possibly get at the good stuff. But I prefer to write whatever I like without the pressure of a time limit and or the rule of never stopping. I’m a fan of pauses. Thinking, writing what I need to do, what I dreamed about, what happened yesterday, what’s irritating me, whatever, ideas, I write for enjoyment. I think morning writing will be a bit of a regurgitation and recapitulation without forcing it.
Sometimes I write a little and sometimes I write a lot. I suppose the ball point is getting into the habit so that it comes easily and naturally. People tell me I’m a good writer. I have a strong voice. It has to be because I’ve been journaling for so long. Reading helps, so does paying attention and having a quiet mind, but I have to attribute any talent I might have to writing consistently and honestly for myself.
Discipline, self-discipline, of course, can’t be overlooked. Writing is a discipline, too.
I do look back at my entries from time to time. They serve as records of what I did, how I was thinking, ideas I jotted down. Journaling is also a form of time traveling. Yes, I’m alive. See I wrote it down here.
Do you journal?