Wednesday, August 6, 2014


(Writing Wednesdays is when I talk about anything related to writing at all. Today, it's about the great act of journaling)

I used to think writing in a journal was not for me. Why would I? Write by hand? Waste of time, I told myself, when I can just type on a computer. It's faster, easier to edit, and I don't have to transfer the writing from the journal to the computer. Much more efficient, I told myself. I was a fool. I told myself I didn't need a journal, why cramp up my hand for a less efficient form of writing? It didn't make sense to me.

Over a vacation to cape cod, I spotted a journal in a quaint little store and made the decision to purchase it. The thing is, it's not always practical to write on a laptop. Say, on the beach or next to a slumbering significant other, it just doesn't make sense. Know what does make sense? Pencil and paper. I figured I'd try it out, see what the big deal is. One of my first entries was about why I got the journal in the first place, which I have replicated here.

'Why get a journal? I'm not sure why I find it so difficult to write. A new journal forces my hand. Noting down the day's activities forces my hand. Maybe it's not difficult to write, it's just so easy to not-write. So many distractions, reasons and excuses. So that's why. The journal caught my eye, inspired my hand, excited my interest. In a journal you can write about anything and you can write about nothing. I can jot down ideas, quotes, lines, poems, limericks, etc.

There's also something about writing by hand, I'm not sure what. I know I prefer typing. It's clear, faster and easier. So what, then? I suppose I can hand write anywhere, on the beach with a beer at my side, like I am now, with an incredible view in front of me and my lovely significant other by my side.

There's also something I find appealing about my "chickenscratch" handwriting. It's personal, unique, my own, my signature. It's dirty and crazy and disorganized, much like my mind. It's completely different from the distilled, generic words on the screen. My handwriting is awful and gross and unappealing and for some reason, I love it because of that.

The next question is "why this journal?" The title caught my eye at once. "Remember, ideas become things." So simple, yet so important for a writer to know and learn. Ideas become things, if you make them. The simple typewriter illustration, the tiny pencils within, the various quotes and doodles, the imperfect green lines all combined to make the perfect journal for me.

I don't know how to write in a journal. My style is to act as if I have an audience even though I may be the only person to ever read this. How do others write in journals? In this highly connected digital age, perhaps it is always in my mind that someone somewhere will read this eventually and I write as if to them. Should I write as if to myself? Is that what others do? Saying "I had a good day today, I went to the beach and it was warm." I don't know. I write as if writing a blog post because my blog is a journal, of sorts, an open one. Will these entries make their way to my blog? Perhaps, if I find them interesting enough. And when this is filled, what then? Will I buy another journal? We will see when I get that far.'

Not a bad journal entry, if I do say so myself. Those questions still linger, though. Do any of you keep journals and if so, how do you write in them? Do you write to yourself? To an invisible or nonexistent audience? To your dog? Let me know!

Who knows. Not me. I'm a journal newbie, but I'm finding it incredibly useful. It's handy to be able to write in at night or in the morning, on the beach on vacation or on the train going to work. It's freeing to simply write without thinking about other people reading it or what they may think. If you are a writer, I would suggest getting a journal and trying it out. See how it works for you. And if you're not a writer, maybe you should get a journal anyways. Writing out your thoughts and emotions can help keep you grounded. Or something. Sure. Sounds good.

Until next time, write first and ask questions later.

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