Some of the best people I know keep journals. Whether it’s for documenting their global travel or simply capturing the fleeting moments of everyday life, you can always find a journal right by their side. Now as great as I think I am, I can’t journal. Odd for me to say as a writer, but I honestly can’t.
The art of journaling was lost to me a long, long time ago. When I was in elementary school I had a cute little purple diary that I carried everywhere. I wrote all the little silly things a girl my age should write about. How mean my dad was for making me eat veggies, how much fun I had with my Cabbage Patch Kid Chester, how annoying my step-brother was and of course my “boyfriend” Oliver and crush Corey Patterson. I spilled my little heart out in this diary and it was my escape to a different world. Then my meanie step-brother somehow got hold of my precious diary and read it over the phone to all his friends and his cousin. Devastated wasn’t the word for how I felt. My entire life was in that book! My every thought and emotion just laid bare for strangers to see, dissect, judge and poke fun of. I never felt so vulnerable, I also never wrote in a journal again.
From that day to this one my mind became my journal. I may write down a brief blurb on a calendar, but my memory is where the events of my life truly live. I remember events in my life with stunningly vivid clarity. I can remember things in great detail, from smells and sounds to outfits, hand gestures and entire conversations word for word. I don’t forget a thing! Having such a sharp memory has certainly helped me in many areas of my life, but if my life depended on writing things down, I would be the subject of a sad song at a funeral because my mind goes completely blank.
My problem with journaling is after not doing it for so long I don’t know where to start or what to write. My mind knows what details need to be captured, but translating that to paper keeps me perplexed. I know people will say “Just write, write anything,” but oddly enough as much as I remember, I never feel like I have anything to write. I don’t think my everyday life and random thoughts are much to write home about so when I look at these journals with hundreds of pages my first thought is always “What the hell can I say to fill that?” But lately I’ve been thinking about journaling again. After years of keeping the thoughts and memories in, maybe it’s finally time to let them out. I was thinking since I travel quite a bit maybe keeping a travel journal would be a good place to start, just to get me used to writing my experiences and dreams down again. Maybe having a specific topic will take some of the pressure off. Still not sure exactly what I would say to the blank pages staring back at me, but I think it would bring some kind of therapeutic release and help me reconnect with the passion that I lost.
Do you write in a journal? How did you get started, what do you write about?