My Journey Through Journaling
While going through troubling times in the past, it was often suggested to me to journal. Whether it be from family members, friends, or the media. I listened to what was said about the benefits of journaling. Even though I heard what was said — and even believed what was told to me — I couldn’t get it to work for me.
“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” Mina Murray
I would write a paragraph, spilling out life’s difficulties onto the paper. I didn’t feel any relief. As a matter of fact, I ended up feeling rather discouraged. It seemed like all I said in my writing was that I felt sorry for myself. Many sheets of paper were crumpled up and thrown in the waste basket back then.
Creativity comes from who we are, not who we want to be . . .
On top of that, like many people, I have Bipolar Disorder. I have mood swings. Twice I entered into the beginning of a manic phase and began writing . . . gibberish. The thing is, the BP seemed like it was hanging over my head. It scared me. I didn’t want to go there again.
I beat myself up for not being successful at writing a worthwhile paragraph. I had written a newsletter and a couple of short stories over the years so I knew I could do it. It felt just outside my grasp.
When, finally, parts of my life fell into place, I had a spiritual experience and put a pen to paper once again. The results this time, however, were pleasing to me. The more I wrote, the better I felt. I began to see myself emerge from a dark place.
“Documenting little details of your everyday life becomes a celebration of who you are.” Carolyn V. Hamilton
You do not have to have a spiritual experience in order to journal well. Mine came about from having the terrible loss of my son. Don’t worry, you don’t have to suffer a traumatic occurrence either. You may choose to begin writing to celebrate a happy occasion. Maybe you’re becoming a mother or father. Or grandmother. How about writing about a high school graduation and the journey into adulthood? There are an unending number of beginnings when it comes to journaling.
I don’t believe there is any real trick to it. I will say, one should be willing to be honest. Brutally honest if need be. Remember, nobody else needs to read your journal. A journal is your safe place.
Just grab a piece of paper and start writing. If you can’t think of anything, start with the weather. Is there a dense fog that day? How does the fog make you feel? Does it hinder you in any way? The most important thing is to start. Don’t wait until you are necessarily “in the mood.” Pick up a pen, or as I prefer, a pencil, and write.
By the way, I still throw away crumpled up pieces of paper. I think it comes with the territory.
© Doris Clark, March 2019