On Journals

Ah, the journal. Alternately a savior and the embarrassing bane of my existence.

I’ll admit right here and now that I’ve never been good at journaling. I’ve given it a go, numerous times, and basically what happens goes along the same formula:

The journal is acquired in one of two ways:

1) It is gifted to me by someone who knows my love of writing.

2) I decide (on a whim) that I should start journaling again, and purchase a really pretty, ohmigosh, isn’t it just beautiful?? one.

Very rarely do I ever find myself picking up a years-old journal and opening it back up to the next empty page. I must always have a shiny new one. Why? Neurosis? I don’t know. Let’s go with that.

Sometimes, I even get a shiny new pen. Yeah, I love a good pen.

I will proceed to write in the new, beautiful journal for days, sometimes weeks, and on the rare occasion, multiple months. 

Not every day, of course. Not necessarily every week either, but for sure some progress is made over time. I will write about my joys and sorrows, I will write about random things that pop into my head, I will remember how much I love putting a real pen to real paper. How satisfying is the sound of the pen, gently scratching against the grain of the paper? How fulfilling is it to watch blank pages fill up with the record of my life?

Sometimes, I think about the person who might find my journal, 100 years from now. I try to mind that imaginary person as I write, I attempt to sound more educated, more pensieve, more interesting than I actually am. If I’m honest, it probably just makes me sound pretentious.

I’ve given up on writing exclusively for me, which is what “they” say you should do, as a writer. I’ve done this because I am my harshest critic. Literally nothing I write is good enough for my own reading pleasure. I know all the stuff that I’m going to do in writing. I’m not going to give myself a shock with a plot twist or anything, lets just face it. 

Which makes it hard for me to keep up interest in a journal. If I’m not writing it for me, who am I writing it for? I certainly don’t want anyone in my personal life reading through my journal, even though its not like I’ve got anything to hide. Its just that my writing in there isn’t polished enough for you to see, Jeeze. It’ll sound better in 100 years, I’m pretty sure of it.

But then of course I lose interest, or forget, or decide that I sound like a whiney/giddy/insert annoying verb here little girl, who is overly-concerned with unimportant things. There’s a bigger picture, self, and you’re just not seeing it. Quit the narcissistic rambling.

So in all honesty, I guess I’m a phase journaler. I chronicle my life in short bursts, with years of nothing between.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not an optimist about it. I still believe I can be a good journaler, even after multiple failed attempts.

I’m a glass half full kinda gal.

Speaking of which, I got a journal last Christmas, and I stopped writing in it back in March, I think.

You know what? I’m going to pick that baby up and write in it, tonight, or maybe this weekend some time. Maybe it’ll break the cycle. Or maybe it won’t.

I think the point, though, is that I try.

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