What No One Tells You About Journaling
This is Julia signing on for a blog post. Let me just say that I'm a pretty blunt person and don't hedge what I say. In this post, I'm not commanding that you do anything. You do you beautiful!
Why do you journal? To stay sane? To reflect? There are a million reasons.
No one tells you about the struggle. So many of us feel intimidated by the price, leather and the idea of spilling your guts into a notebook. Keep reading to see what I do about these feelings.
Lately, I've fallen out of journaling, I just... stopped. I've been trying to get back into it. I've put reminders on my calendar and bit by bit I've been wading my way through the pages and letting loose the toroids of multi-colored ink. I used to journal to vent about the issues I had, I was kinda depressed when I was younger. I found school soul-crushing and journaling almost every day gave me some solace, but, it also ended up feeding the beast; I was dwelling on the awful and the horrible emotions I was feeling.
I remember once I was writing. I was on the cusp of tears that day and I don't even remember why. I got completely in the writing zone, and the rest of the world was dead to me. I can look back on that exact passage and remember that time.
Back then, I journaled to stay sane. Most of it wasn't even real, not everything I wrote about actually happened, some of it I wanted to happen. Most of it was just short stories and fiction. I used my journal less like a logbook of daily life and more like a boundless creative space where I could just... be.
Maybe I should be happy I stopped journaling that way, I'm happier now than I ever was then.
A lot of people see journaling as this intimidating thing, they want it to be beautiful like an Instagram or YouTube video, and there's all this pressure that if it's a beautiful leather notebook then the inside should be just as beautiful.
Flipping through some of my old spiral-bound notebooks and sewn inserts now, none of them where spectacular to look at, just colored ink on paper. I've been experimenting with drawing headings and making my journals look pretty, but only because it's something fun to do, not because I want to brag to everyone or show it off. Producing something beautiful purely for the sake of getting attention was never really something that interested me. Producing something to get interaction is something I don't mind doing but it doesn't need to be beautiful.
So... How have I been trying to get back into it? I sit down, say to myself '10 minutes at least', then, I just do anything. Sometimes I don't even write in it I just doodle and play. I'm not intimidated by it. I don't care if I cross out a misspelled word, although people like Natalie Goldberg would say that you shouldn't cross anything out because by not crossing things out you're letting your creative voice speak freely. I don't want my journal perfect it's not true to life or myself if it is.
What's the biggest thing no one tells you? Making journaling a habit is a struggle. Everyone gets overwhelmed and intimidated sometimes but the big secret is, just keep going. Push past those feelings and keep writing. Don't overthink it. It won't be perfect or beautiful on the first try anyway.
Goldberg says in her book Writing Down the Bones to just keep your hand moving, don't stop. I end up writing really beautiful things when I just stop thinking. I'm hoping to keep journaling as a habit, I always feel refreshed after a writing session.