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Learning how to use a journal

The subject is probably a bit confusing; how to use a journal? Easy, write in it! Allow me to take you on a journey through my mind.

To me, a journal has always been a continuous flow of text. Regardless of my age, that’s what my mind pictured when I heard the word “journal”. A 14 yr old girl sitting in her room writing in her journal/diary? In my mind I saw that to mean sentence after sentence of how she’s in love with (insert kid at school here) and nothing more. Someone of a bit more experience in the world who journals? I figured they must be writing about their day or taking notes on ideas they have floating in their head. A journal held a massive amount of words and nothing more.

About 2 years ago I discovered fountain pens and was suddenly plunged into a world of creative folk who used their pens for more than just scribbling notes on a 79 cent notebook. These are the people I always imagined would use a journal. I imagined them wielding a fountain pen and writing their innermost secrets on creamy ivory pages of their expensive leather bound journal. They spent their time chronicling their every move so they’d be able to look back on it in years to come and see the a portrait of their mind at the time, frozen in place on paper.

Then I started noticing people who weren’t using their journals as a boring line by line record of their life, they were writing poems, doodling, drawing, and painting.  Everything on their pages reflected something, whether it be a moment in their life or a picture in their head, they were journaling in a way completely foreign to me. I myself stayed locked in the line by line idea of the journal and, try as I might, could never get away from it.

I simply must experience this form of journaling. If you were to sit down and read my current notebook/journal, you would see a progression over 2 years (yes, one notebook in 2 years.. sad isn’t it?) where I fill the pages with sentences and paragraphs don’t deviate from that style. Then you’ll see a page from last week where I filled a page with nothing but random thoughts. It sounds simple yet it was oddly invigorating. I was breaking the “rules” of journaling in my mind and it was a whole lot of fun. I can’t seem to switch myself over to that method yet, but I’m trying.

I’d like my journals to be a collection of my current mood, feelings, pictures in my head,  etc..  I don’t want only sentences,  I want something visual that does more than bore you to death with poor grammar and spelling. I want my journal to be full of spontaneity and feeling, and one day I’d like to be able to sit down with my journal and doodle on it. I don’t know why that’s so hard to do, perhaps I fear the finality of ink on paper and not being able to correct the thing I’ve written or drawn. It’s as if my mind has set up a fence at the edge of boring journal entries and demanded I not cross it for fear of failure.

But what can I fail at? It’s my journal, it’s my paper, it’s by my hand. There should be no fear involved here, it should be organic and free, it should flow from my brain uninhibited by these crazy thoughts of failure. If you don’t want someone to see it, lock it up. If you’re afraid of what might come out, perhaps you shouldn’t worry until that happens and just let your brain go free!

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go try to climb this wall my mind has put in my way. See you on the other side!

Any suggestions on how to make this transition would be greatly appreciated!