I don’t doodle enough. What’s even worse though is that paper has taken a back seat to my computers. And this is bad.
I’ve been keeping paper journals since I was about 15. Within those pages are traumas of teenage years, a whole load of angst and some inappropriate-ness. That’s over 15 years of my life documented. The more recent ones contain a mix of novel planning and scribbles about life. The older ones contain scripts and really awful fan fiction, plus tales of crushes, young love and the journey into the beginnings of a tortured soul. Ok, maybe not the tortured soul thing, but even back then I was a broken romantic and tried my hardest to get what I wanted without being a complete idiot about it. Sometimes with catastrophic results.
The lastest one is a chronicle of my depression and family – things I can’t put on any blogs because they are too close to my heart. They’re like my innermost thoughts leaking out on to the paper. There’s something about having a pen in my hand that makes me want to write it all, say everything, not hide behind the distance of the screen. It also contains planning, a few poems and some truths I would never admit out loud.
I’ve always been worried about other people reading my journals (not that I should be worried about this – I can barely read my writing at the best of times, let alone expect someone else to be able to decipher my emotion-addled scribbles!) but as far as I know apart from those I let read them, no one has ever braved sticking their nose in. Good job too. A lot of it makes me cringe. A lot of it provokes old memories, both good and bad.
Journal keeping seems to happen by accident. I love notebooks. I have a huge collection of them (fifty or sixty probably and I love them all dearly.) I never intend to write myself into oblivion but I start, get commited and have to finish.
It’s a great creative outlet. I find that I can flow a bit better after I’ve written all the crap out of my head. There are a couple of caveats:
Every now and again I do fall into the feedback loop of solidifying whatever is pissing me off by writing it out and then can’t get rid of it for days. It’ll bug me until I can’t take it any more. At this point, I tend to abandon the journal for a week or so.
Also, if I do planning in my journals I find it hard to keep up with what I’ve said because I can’t take them everywhere with me and I tend to write stuff on the spur of the moment. I’m still in the process of fixing this problem.
I always thought I would like my kids to read my journals. This is before I had kids, of course. Now, I’m not so sure. I don’t really want them to be able to delve in my head like that. I definitely don’t want them to ever feel the way I felt during most of my formative years so I’m not sure encouraging those thoughts is a good idea. Maybe I’ll clean some of it up and publish it some day.
My favourite journal lives in the loft. It’s unfinished and is the journal spanning ten years of sporadic writing. It’s definitely one to keep locked away since it contains some very dark secrets about my life. (Or lists of boys I fancied many years ago. Maybe both.)
Journal writing is something both my daughter and I enjoy doing. We like to sit down and write together, sharing notes and words (obviously I don’t let her read the more sweary parts!)
Have you ever thought about keeping a journal?
Linking up to the Wonderful World of Writing at Virtually All Sorts