September 3, 2013
I've been journaling since I was 13. Over the last ten years, I've filled up six journals of varying thickness and with varying consistency. Or rather, startlingly regular inconsistency. I'll start, write every day for about two weeks and then forget about the journal for two months.
Still, even though my consistency leaves much to be desired (yet one more point for blogging: there is that slight pressure to keep writing) when I do journal I reap wonderful benefit. Really, I count as journalling any time you put pen to paper to help sort out the tangle of your mental confusion. Thus, your journal need not be concentrated in one book (though it is convenient). I probably have three times the amount of writing found in my bound journals spread out over moleskins, school note books, random scraps of paper, backs of receipts.
But I really think the value of journaling is less in having a perfect record of your past years and more for the insight it allows the workings of your mind. My mind scatters and scrambles and flits from point to point like a berserk butterfly. I can't sit down and really think through an issue. But when a pen is forcing me to focus my thoughts, I can reach much deeper levels of comprehension because I don't get distracted by my nails, or what I'll wear tomorrow, or how so-and-so brushed me off, etc. Conclusions I couldn't have reached on my own can be found in journaling. And, if you're more consistent than me, trends longer than the memory can hold can be found. Reading back through past entries over the years, I realized that there was a certain two week period in the fall when I felt horribly down, depressed and exhausted. Now, rather than assuming this was because of classes or relationships, I know that it is just something that happens.
In short, you should journal. Journaling is good. Allows yourself insight. Lets you vent some emotion on paper. Gives you a record to look back on. And here are some tips I've found for journaling:
~ Don't assume that you need an hour. You can get through a lot in ten minutes- or even five. Take a bit each night before bed if you can.
~ Don't write for an audience. Swear. Say bad things about other people. Give vent for your true feelings. Don't worry about your future self reading it or how it will look to historians. This is about you. Right now.
~ Write what is on your mind and in your heart right then. Too often I feel compelled to catch myself up to how I'm feeling and spend a page describing all the past events. When I finally do get to the point I really want to journal, I'm bored of it. So skip the context and the pretext- just write what is on your mind.
~ Journal dreams when you wake up. They are great to analyze later.
~ Make references to conversations you had with other people. You can chart friendships or relationships and it's great to see the first time you mentioned someone and your initial reactions.
~ Make sure you like the medium you're writing with and what you're writing on. I need a broad expanse of page and if my pen skips it annoys me to pieces.
Do you journal? What tips or guidelines do you follow?
Posted by Lynette at Tuesday, September 03, 2013