Liminal Luminous

a wandering, wondering space of devotion, creativity and freedom.
Living well Mental health

To write or not to write

Like most people at this time of year I spend a lot of time reflecting on the past year, which for me means re-reading my journals.

As I was reading, I realised how dull my journals were and I started to question the point of actually doing them in the first place. I spend a lot of time working in my journals and I fill up quite a few over the years, this year it’s four A5 notebooks.

After several days thinking, I realised this is about the process, my journals are not about a finished product. I don’t write my journals to share them with anyone – in fact I’d be horrified if I knew that other people read them. My husband is under strict instructions to burn all of them on my death. At one point I considered giving a close friend of mine a key and giving her the instructions to burn them all. But the point is, these journals help me think, they allow me to process my thoughts without boring everyone else around me. They allow me to vent without hurting anyone, allow me to wrestle out silly ideas that quite frankly no one needs to know about.

So many things these days have to be justified as to what they deliver, what difference they make to life, well my journals don’t. They cost me a lot of time and a lot of money. Yes I could use cheap notebooks aimed at children and I could write with a pencil, however I get pleasure from tactile aspects of my journalling from running fountain pens over the smooth paper and having a selection of inks to choose from.

I will scan through journals from last year, as is quite useful to see the patterns, like how I am obsessed about fitting everything into my day. To counteract this I have bought a weekly planner which breaks up each day by hour, allowing me to break up the day like a school day and I use a timer to stick to the work schedule. This is far too structured most people, but I find that from me to become much more in control about everything I need to do, as well as showing me that I don’t have time to take on any new projects!

Yes, my journals take a lot of time there is nothing of interest in them whatsoever, however it really is the process that is useful not the product.

H/T Pen Wilcock for her post a few weeks ago which has been spinning around my head, and Austin Kleon who is a big advocate of the humble notebook, although he doesn’t call it a journal and he is a lot more visual that I am. I am certainly someone who defaults to words as my first and last response…

2 Comment

  1. I’ve kept a diary for about thirty years now, it’s dull and largely unreadable but it helps me unpack my head – as you say, it doesn’t have to be about an end product.

    1. I like ‘unpacking your head’, that’s a good metaphor and a good example of what it is to me. I just have to take re-reading it a bit at a time, because there is some useful gems in there, it is just buried under a lot of dirt!

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