Last week I wrote a post about How to Start the New Year off Right. My method was to write in a journal. I mentioned how I’ve been journaling for years and how it’s a very therapeutic exercise. Well, today I’m going to tell you more about why I write and when I started.
As a child I wasn’t much of a writer, that was more my sibling’s talent. They were very good at writing and painting and I just liked to read. So, I kept diaries every now and then because it was “the cool thing to do” as a little girl. However, I didn’t get my first journal until I was 11 years old. It was a present from one of my mother’s friends. She gave it to me after my mother’s death. Her thought was that I could write down my feelings and be better able to deal with my grief. I didn’t realize what a gift it was that she gave me until years later. In a way that journal helped me to find the voice that I have today. I’ll always remember that journal, it was a sort of theme journal. It had breaks every so often with inspirational sayings and the theme was that song “I Hope You Dance.” As an 11 year old, I thought it was the coolest little book ever and I treasured it. It took me a while to fill up all of the pages, but eventually I did. After that I was hooked.
For the first several years that I journaled, I looked at it as a way to preserve memories. I figured that some day I would want to look back on the way my life used to be and I didn’t want my memories to be all fuzzy. So, that was what I told myself as I wrote and most of the time I recorded events that happened in my life. As I grew older though, I started to look at my journal differently. My view really started changing when I was a Senior in high school, the semester I took a creative writing class. That was when I realized that I didn’t have to write a specific genre. My journal was mine and I could write whatever I pleased in it. So, I started adding in more creative aspects like songs and poems.
Then, after I graduated college my sibling and I embarked on The Artist’s Way. This led to the latest evolution of my writing. Like I said in my post on this book before, you are supposed to write 3 pages a day every day. You can only write about events in your life so long before you get bored of the repetition and start writing about your feelings. This latest evolution of my journaling led me to the conclusion that to write in a journal is the best way for me to come to grips with my feelings. So, my mom’s friend finally accomplished what she wanted. I knowingly journal about my feelings now, it only took me 12 years to get here. That’s not to say I don’t write about other things, sometimes I just write about how tired I am or what I need to do for the day. But, every day I write. After a while, it’s hard to escape that little voice in the back of your head whispering what’s wrong. Eventually it’ll come out on the paper before you can stop it. This has truly changed my life and I know now why journaling is so important to me. It’s not just to record what happens in my life. It’s to figure out how to make the most of what will happen.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, one reason is because of two bloggers that I admire: Nikki at View From In Here and Anne at Love the Here and Now. A few months ago, they showed me how important it can be to write about the more serious and unpleasant topics. Everything isn’t perfect recipes and DIYs in the blogosphere. So, this year I’m getting down to the truth more with my writing. This is the beginning of my new series, The Things We Hide. Every week on Friday, I’ll write about a topic that I normally wouldn’t. It’ll be a topic that I’ve tried to hide. So, by bringing myself into the light on here, I can come to accept myself more in real life. The second reason is because I want you to journal too. I know that everyone is busy and doesn’t have extra time. But, writing in a journal however much you can manage every day can completely change your life. I know because it changed mine.
Do you journal?