Sometime around October of last year (weird to say that about 2019 already, right?) I started journaling on any day that I planned to write. For the most part, this meant that I would journal 6 days a week, sometimes 7, sometimes 8 (don’t ask it’s this whole complicated time travel thing).
I was pretty unsure about it at first – I didn’t want to add yet another task to my list of things to do, but I thought: F*** it, why not give it a try? Everyone and their mother who offers writing advice says to keep a journal.
And the rules? There are no rules. You can journal about your life, your writing, your weird hobbies, the things you observe, your weird obsession with bricks, your mulch collection, whatever.
After I few months I found that journaling wasn’t just another daily task to take up time in my day, but an extremely comforting, motivating activity that helped me get more writing done.
I don’t journal about anything in particular – usually just what’s on my mind at the time, how the writing is going, what I want to do with the story next, what hopes/fears I might have. Sometimes I journal about having nothing to journal about. Here’s a recent entry:
“Oooohhhh journal. What to write in the journal… Lovely Sunday. Lots of football watching to come. But first, brainstorming for the book. So… What to say, what to say? Well, I’m here. And I have a coffee. So that’s it? I guess? Cool! Time to go!”
That’s taken verbatim from my notebook. No dramatizations, I swear.
Other times I’ll fill up 1-2 entire pages with an untidy handwritten scrawl (takes me about 10 minutes). The point is that how much I write doesn’t actually matter. So why do I do it?
Well, for one it brings me comfort. It makes me happier and more productive. It’s a way to ease into working on my book. I can write anything! It doesn’t have to be good. It can be gibberish – gobbledegook! flargenblargen! bralingalam!
Just string together some random words and boom, you’ve got a journal entry. That lowers the barrier to entry. It helps me not think things like: Man I’m not in the right mindset to write, so I should procrastinate until I am, otherwise it’ll be crap. Once I’ve gotten those random words down, stringing real sentences together doesn’t seem like as big of a leap. Reason to skip writing today defeated.
For another thing it keeps me grounded in what I want to accomplish whenever life gets crazy with travel, friends, etc. When I hold the physical pen in my hand everything slows down (because it has to – I literally cannot write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts – *hand cramp!*). This forces me to calmly think about what I should do next. Only the things I subconsciously feel are worth the time and effort it takes to write out end up on the page. Then, voilà, it’s all there right in front of me.
I guess everyone has their own unique reasons for wanting to write in a journal. Those are mine. And with everything I want to accomplish in 2020, I get the feeling that my journal is going to be my best friend.
(**Apologies to Sara and Maisey, who will both be very angry and claim that they are in fact my best friends. Woof.**)
Do any of you journal? By hand or on the computer? How often? What do you like about it?