Monday, March 24, 2014

The lost art of journaling

Recently I started journaling again.

I used to journal constantly, from the time I was 10 or 11 on into my teenage years and my 20s.  I wrote about everything that was on my mind, and some days would fill 10 or 15 pages with my ruminations.  I got away from it in my mid-20s, when I had my first job and was writing for a living, and then once I made the transition to blogging I stopped journaling entirely.

Lately, though, I miss journaling.  My blogs have become more focused as I've developed as a writer, and no longer replace the therapeutic process of journaling.  So that's one reason why I've decided to go back to it.

The other reason is that I feel like getting into the habit of journaling on a daily or almost-daily basis might assist in my quest to be a writer again.  Since I've been freelancing less and less over the last couple years, and especially since I stopped writing almost entirely -- even working on my novel -- the last few months, I've felt like I need to make some changes to my day-to-day life and habits if I am going to be productive as a writer again.

I started out by trying to journal on my computer.  I haven't journaled regularly in almost ten years, and since then I've migrated to doing almost everything on the computer.  I thought that journaling there on the computer too would be okay, maybe even better, because that's where I will be doing the rest of the writing I'm trying to encourage myself to do, right?

It turns out that journaling on the computer feels just a little too impersonal to me.  I like the relationship between my pen and the paper when I journal; I like watching my handwriting fill the page.  It's soothing, and feels like it inspires deeper reflection.  So I abandoned my journaling app.

The good news: I found a use for that beautiful blank book I bought some time ago, even though I didn't know what I was going to do with it.

What about you?  Do you journal, either on the computer or by hand?  Do you feel it helps you as a writer, or just takes you away from your work?

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