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?

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  • I used to get overwhelmed by all the blank pages of a journal and was confronted also with, as you put it , the “What the hell can I say to fill that?” fear. Using a theme journal, writing prompts, or some sort of guided journal to assist is the best way to resurrect one’s innate journaling and self-expression desire, or at least that has been my experience.

    There is no doubt in my mind that a travel journal will thrill you to pieces, maybe not at the moment you are writing in it but certainly during those moments when you are reflecting upon it and recalling the sweet, lovely memories that would have been lost for good had you not written them down.

    Happy journaling!!!

  • I’m 25 & I still write in my journal..I’ve been writing in one since I was 14 (11yrs). I used to write every night but the older I got the harder that was to do. I did notice as an adult I usually tend to only write in my journal when I’m sad, which is not good because I don’t want to look back in them & think that my whole like has been sad. I try to write in it now, when I’m happy as well as sad.

    For me writing is therapy & I enjoy it, no one should force themselves to write. I love to read back & see how I’ve grown or NOT lol. And I don’t have the best memory so sometimes when I read things, I have no recollection of what I’m talking about, its almost like reading someone elses diary…scary. But I love it…I hope I write in it until I’m an old lady.

    I have a blog also & to me its not the same. My blog is an outlet to share what I choose, but my journal is my deep personal thoughts.

  • Simone

    I started over 15 years ago and continue to this day. It’s interesting to look back to see what you wrote. I encourage everyone to do it….and also to write letters to loved ones or anyone! The art of writing is just…..awesome.

  • I don’t have a physical journal but I do “write” on my laptop quite a bit and I’ve been trying to make myself do it more lately because I’m going to be majoring in journalism so I want to get my writing skills up. Sometimes I feel like you, like I don’t have anything to write about. Then other times I have one thing I need to get off my chest and it turns into seven pages worth of things I didn’t realize I was even thinking! It’s refreshing. Some of the things I write, I post them on Facebook to get other opinions on a certain topic so I purposely write like I’m always talking to someone regardless of if someone will actually read it or not. I think it’s easier that way, to write as though you’re having a conversation then it won’t feel so empty.