I gave away a pretty journal on my author Facebook page last week and asked readers if they had ever journaled before. The comments were interesting and got me thinking about my own experiences with journal writing.
I can’t imagine what prompted me to start writing in my first diary when I was in third grade, but I do remember my very messily written entry about a sleepover at a friend’s house. I drew a diagram of where my bed was in relation to the rest of the room, starting a trend that I continued well into high school for providing visual aids. Spatial relationships must have been important to me that I felt compelled to draw them. Fast forward five years and there is a diagram of who sat at what desk in an eighth grade class so readers could better appreciate the juicy rumors overheard and the significance of a cute boy’s “look” my way.
Some years I wrote less entries and some years there were more. When I was at my most committed to journaling, there were lots of details about everyday things. Mostly though, those old diary entries were full of excess passion and excitability. There are exclamation points galore. I think that vehemence of emotion reveals an important function of diary writing—an emotional outlet.
On my Facebook page last week, many of the comments referenced this for a reason to journal. To help stay focused on a goal, or to let off steam, or to better understand messy emotions. Then again, a diary can be just that—a safe spot to vent and keep those messy emotions so they don’t trip us up in our relationships with friends and family. That caught my attention as I hadn’t ever employed a diary for that specific purpose.
But how cool would it be if I skipped an argument with my husband in real life because I’d sufficiently vented on paper? Or if I was able to limit the time spent in tears after a hurtful life event because I had found some consolation from writing out my sadness? It’s almost laughable that—as a writer—I would neglect to employ this powerful tool in my own life. Or, at least, I neglected to use
So I am still giving away that pretty journal to a winner. But I’m going back to the store next week to buy a nice, shiny new one for me. It’s been too long since I had a good chat with a diary, and no matter the cool, calm and collected writerly exterior I show to the world, I’m still that girl who is full of exclamation points inside. I’m anxious to chat with her again J.
What about you? Have you ever tried keeping a journal or diary? If you had a pretty book like one of the above, what would you write in those blank pages? Chat with me this week on the blog and I'll give one random commenter the prize pictured, including book #4 in my Heartache, TN series, Whispers Under a Southern Sky.