Do you journal?
Whether online as a blog, on a computer, in a little black book that you carry everywhere, in a secret notebook hidden from everyone, many people seem to partake in some way in the art of journaling. From what I've read, journaling is not exactly the same as keeping a diary. Writing in a diary seems to be completely about the day-to-day events of ME, only me, like a personal newspaper; it sounds dry and unappetizing. Journaling encompasses not only one's own tiny world but also expands to become ideas, questions, exclamations, meditations, expressions, scenes, and images of the greater universe all around us.
Artists and writers alike can benefit from journaling. Or, if you're a particularly absent-minded person like me, it's almost necessary to carry a notebook wherever you go, so that everything and anything can be written down at a moment's notice without being lost in transient memory! Here are some reasons in favor of journaling listed by a woman who has been doing so for over thirty years:
- A [journal is a] record of stories for all kinds or experiences. - It is very healthy to “get it out” and put in a book.
- For taking notes.
- Journals are a great referral system.
- In the front or back of a book, Deborah reserves a few pages for quotes or even recipes.
- You can press a flower in the journal.
- Notes when traveling (she uses a small book as a travel journal).
- Write down a poem that impressed her or a poem she wrote.
- To write down things that she was grateful for. Gratitude lists.
- Notes from a book she is reading.
- She is a writer. She will use her journals to write stories and to use in talks.
- We all go through different phases and changes in our lives. “A new phase in my life is a new journal.”
- Your journals will be a treasure for your family when you are gone.
- The journal will be a great help for you now as you record the things that are important in your life.
Frida Kahlo, a famous artist, kept a journal. It's fascinating to look through the pages she wrote and sketched to see who she was. The real her was colorful, deeply fascinating, and strange. What would people think of you if they saw what your journal looked like, many years after you were gone?
Some people use mixed media in their journals, a conglomeration of a craft project, freestyle writing, variations of art mediums, or pictures taken from other sources.
It can be as plain or as elegant as you want. And who says the writing has to be legible to anyone except you? As long as you can read it, that's all that matters.
Maybe you just have random thoughts to jot down. Lots of people doodle on the back of receipts, calenders, or any spare paper lying about. A journal allows you to keep these seemingly random "doodles" in one spot. Maybe looking back at what you wrote/drew later will bring some insight or a new thought!
It doesn't always have to be cheerful or uplifting. Here is another page from Frida Kahlo's journal. I don't know the translation of her words, but from the look of the accompanying art they don't appear to be positive. A journal may be the one place you don't feel like you have to lie. Hopefully you have friends who provide listening ears no matter what your mood, but a journal is another quiet friend whose pages wait to hear and see through your eyes.
You don't have to be an amazing artist or a talented writer, either. If it makes you happy, if it accomplishes the purpose you intend, then nobody can call your journaling method "wrong". Any age, any level of ability can start a journal.
I would encourage you to use both art and words in keeping a journal. This is far more possible if your journal is a physical book that you can take everywhere; computers are very handy in this age, but they are still very limiting. For more reasons as to why visual art is just as important as writing (even for those people who say that they are not artists, myself included!), check out this article about visual journals.
While I was researching journaling, I came across two websites that had fun ideas for journal art. Zentangle and The Doodle Game are creative ways to explore sketching for those who feel hesitant about leaping into the artistic circles or for people who like their hands moving while they think!
So what do you think? Interested in beginning a journal?
Edit: If you are wondering how to start a journal, check out this Journaling 101 article, which was recommended to me by a friend!