Keeping a Journal

journalLet’s say it’s been a long day.  You’re tired from the chaos of work/school, your brain feels like mush, and you’ve got about thirty problems to deal with tomorrow.  Annnnnd it’s 11:30 pm.

What do you do?  You crash into bed.

What do I do?  Pull out my journal and take command of words for half and hour, until it’s 12:00 and I’ve just lost half an hour of sleep.

Why?

I’m a writer.  I write.  I enjoy writing!  For me, keeping a journal is totally worth the half hour of sleep lost.  I don’t do it every day — but when I do write in my journal, I always come away refreshed.

It’s a special type of writing.  It allows me to pour raw thoughts and scenes onto a page without ever having to worry about someone else reading it.  It will forever be un-edited, flawed, imperfect.  And that’s part of the beauty.  I can lose myself journaling, no barrier between thoughts and words, nothing holding me back from spewing forth whatever the heck’s going on.

It’s a great way to keep my brain clear.  When life’s stressful, my journal listens.  When the cute boy texts me and I’m exuberant, my journal listens.  When I just want to melt into a puddle on the floor, my journal listens.  And it never judges.  And never talks back.  Never offers advice.  Never tries to fix my problems.  So when I’m done writing, I come away empty, yet fulfilled.  I’ve gotten everything off my chest, processed everything that’s happened, given myself some insight to my day, taken a step back from my issues to maybe get a glimpse of the bigger picture.

More than that, I’ve recorded my life for my future self.  I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy going back and reading old journal entries.  It allows me to see how God’s working in my life, to laugh about that old joke, to give myself a face palm because of my stupidity back then, to grimace at my poor handwriting (that’s when I go wayyyyy back), and maybe to learn a little bit from my own past mistakes.

So that’s why I journal.  It’s freedom to express myself wholly, to record actual history instead of made-up plots, to distance myself from my problems, to commit my plans to the Lord, to make sure inside jokes go down in history… to do something I enjoy.

I’m curious: who out there keeps a journal?  Why or why not?

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