Wednesday, May 13, 2015

To Journal or Not to Journal?



Having so many journals, now numbering in the fourties, that I have been writing for over thirty years, I am faced ever now and then, with a question. What the heck am I going to do with these? For a long time I thought about compiling all of them into a book of sorts, not necessarily for others, but maybe. I did attempt to edit each one but the task was just too daunting, and frankly mostly painful to read, as much of the writing was day to day, stream of consciousness, mundane gobbledygook. However, keeping journals gives you a kind of immortality. I have no children to pass them onto, but who knows, perhaps the world might be interested one day! Laugh out loud!

At some point, hopefully sooner than later, I am going to maybe have some kind of ceremony, or perhaps just throw them out with the trash to unburden myself from years of all these thoughts on paper, collecting dust. I am not so sure what the point of hanging on to them would be. In spite of this, my emotional reaction is, the thought of getting rid of them, is rather like letting go of a big part of myself, kind of like a death. This is an extreme thought I know. These journals are simply my thoughts, not my life. I have internalized all of these journals and so disposing of them doesn't necessarily make them gone.

It has been documented, researched and studied, how journaling can enrich our lives, help us to make sense of our inner world, figure things out, and just provide a cheap form of therapy.

I am not sure if one can know just how journaling can change and improve your life, if one has never  practiced this daily discipline, over a lengthy period of time. I can attest, journaling certainly changed mine. I was able to fulfill many life long dreams, work through much grief and change, decrease my many character defects, and greatly improve upon my strengths and capacities.

I especially got really serious about journaling in 1994, after reading Julia Cameron's book The Artist Way, which was recommended to me by an Art Therapist. My journaling increased my creativity as an artist, and became an essential part of my creative process, and continues to be to this day.

Journaling lead me to start this blog in 2008, and to my interest in Tarot reading and my second blog, Apple River Tarot Readings. Journaling also resulted in fulfilling my life long dream of learning how to ride horses. At the age of 40 I enrolled in an Equestrian Coaching Preparation program for almost two years, living on a working horse farm.  Sixteen years later I returned to University to finish my Bachelor of Fine Arts at the age of 56, graduating in 2012. I definitely attribute both these accomplishments to regular journaling.

I understand, not every one has an interest in writing, and I think this is probably what determines why an individual would or would not keep a journal. However many well known successful individuals, writers, artists, musicians, poets and presidents through out history kept journals. Journaling dates back to the 10th century.

As a young girl like many others girls my age, I kept a dairy. You know the ones, with flowers on the cover, and the little key, to ensure no prying eyes would ever read your inner most thoughts about the boy you had a big crush on, or how you'd written swear words about your stupid brother etc. My interest in writing started at a young age, and into my teens I would write poetry and essays, but it wasn't until I became a young adult, that I was even more drawn to writing, and in particular, journaling.

Blogging is certainly a great form of journaling, minus all the mundane goobledygook, and the naughty bits. But virtual online writing will never replace the hard copy, with a putting a good writing pen to paper, into a beautiful new journal. I get excited just thinking about it! I hope I will never stop journaling!

Here is a list of how journaling can help you, and some links to explore further, the benefits of keeping a regular daily journal.



4 comments:

woley said...

This resonated with me. I've often dabbled in art journals but nearly three years ago, a naturopath got me using a regular written journal, and I find it quite life changing, helpful.

During bouts of insomnia I write in my journal, and I remember the solitude, the quiet, a happy thing. I recently got using fountain pens again and now i really love my written journal. Connecting to my handwriting again was a revelation, like coming home.

I am just finishing my first written one and wondered what the heck I should do with it. I can't let it go yet, but maybe there is some time you can let these things go?

I also made myself another art journal. Perhaps it's a natural cycle? I bought a new journal for writing from Peter Pauper Press, and would have made my own but I couldn't find lined paper that was suitable to bind.

thesycamoretree said...

One year, when I felt my heart was being ripped apart, I wrote poems in a journal. My emotions and thoughts were stripped bare in those pages. And although I enjoy blogging, there is some inner stuff that doesn't need to be shared with the public. This private soul searching is best reserved for pen and paper, I think.
Of course the plus side of blogging is that you don't need to worry about what to do with all those notebooks when you fill them up!

Catherine Meyers said...

Woley thanks so much for your great comment. It made me really happy! Many people don't want to bother with journaling because they don't know what to write or it is too much of a chore. Doesn't matter what you write.

If I go any more then a week without it, I really don't feel right, I'm off base, and get back to it, because it is has become such a habit, a good one.

I saw an item about making your own journal with a cover made from an old antique book. I love this idea.

If you can find someone to leave your journals too, if you want to keep them, I think this is lovely.

Handwriting I can't say enough positive about. Oooo fountain pens I SO love them. I had a beauty of a Parker pen once, a real old fashioned one. Sadly I lost it. I must try to get another. Fountain pens really make writing such a pleasure.

I love the art of book binding and learned how to make one in University.

Catherine Meyers said...

Thanks so much for sharing you heart felt comment. Writing poetry is a profound powerful tool to use for working through deep painful emotion.

Yes, I agree the inner stuff is usually reserved for private. I sometimes wonder about those many of those writers and artists who now have there very personal journals on display now for the world to see and how they would feel sharing these? But on the other hand for those of us who love them, they are really wonderful to read.