Journaling: A Love Story

Picture by Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the word commitment is RELATIONSHIPS, committing yourself to someone in one way or another. When I really get thinking, there are tons of things you can be committed to: a job, a lifestyle, a hair colour. When you sit down and think of what the word commitment really means (a dedication to, well, anything), there are a WHOLE TON of things in your life you are committed to right at this moment.

The closest and most personal commitment I have made in my life is to journaling. Reading through my journal can bring about tears or laughter, memories I want to treasure and some I’d rather forget, and through the years I’ve kept numerous journals and always had trouble committing to actually writing in them. The last three journals I’ve kept (from February 2012 to now) have been the longest I’ve actually committed to journaling. Before that, I had a long stretch of time where I didn’t journal at all; I journaled my entire grade 9 year and promptly burned it in a bonfire at the end of the school year as a sort of therapy session.

You may ask HOW? How do you commit yourself to keeping a journal and not having weeks or months or years of gaps in between entries? As a lifelong journaler both successful and unsuccessful, I have a simple answer and a few tips. The simple answer: take the pressure off. If there are weeks or months or years where you don’t think anything you’ve experienced is worth writing down, maybe you need to change your focus. I used to think the point of a journal was to record every single thing that happened to you, and I found there were more and more pages that included I went to school and less and less interest in journaling. As a result, I have pages and pages of journals where I don’t reference a single thing that’s actually happened to me.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR COMMITMENT Stop thinking about the WHAT. It’ll make you go crazy to write down the tiny mundane things you do throughout the day Think instead about how you felt, the emotions you had, your lack of interest in what you did, why you don’t think it’s noteworthy Write when you want. This is so important, because if you force yourself to write down everything you might actually go crazy. And if you don’t feel like writing for days or weeks or months, don’t. It’s supposed to be enjoyable, after all, not a chore Think about what you want to remember in 10, 20, 30 years. It might seem like a long time away, but if you think What does the future me want to know about the present me, you’ll have a lot more fun journaling Don’t even journal about yourself. Keep a journal about the movies you’ve watched, the books you’ve read, the music you’ve listened to, the bands you’ve seen live. Become a critic. Write down what you would have changed, quotes you liked, emotions you felt. Rate it on a scale of 1-10 Don’t limit yourself. It’s not about setting rigid guidelines or having everything be perfect. You don’t have to make your writing uniform or pretty. You don’t have to use the same pen. You don’t even have to write. Draw pictures, make mind maps, create a piece of art. Your “pen” is however the thoughts get out of your head. Your “paper” is wherever they go, whether it’s your computer, a video, a notebook, the back of a menu, a scrapbook. Use glitter gel pen, crayon, paint, a keyboard, decorative paper, a scrapbook of business cards of places you’ve been, anything. Make it part of your routine. If you know you won’t remember to write in it, consciously think about writing every time you finish a book, see your best friend, or feel really sad. Do it at the same time every day until it comes naturally. Soon the first thing you’ll want to do when you feel a strong emotion or do something exciting is not only tell your mom and your BFF, but write in your journal Keep a few journals at a time. Right now I have two journals: my personal journal where I write everything, and my Five Year Journal (where I answer a simple question every day on a cue card, seeing how the answer to each question changes throughout the years. Idea and prompts from http://debbiehodge.com/2012/01/5-year-journal-01/). I used to keep a reading journal where I would write down when I started and finished each book I read, rated and critiqued it, and wrote my favourite quotes, too. Figure out which kind you like keeping the best and which one works for you

The most important thing about journaling is that you enjoy it. Journals can be a collection of thoughts, a keepsake of memories, a catalogue of what you’ve read, watched, seen, listened to, or done, a piece of art, a scrapbook, a blog. It’s FOR YOU.

Look at how many journals or diaries are referenced in pop culture. A quick search for “diary references in movies” gives me 2,650,000 results. Rebel Wilson’s character in Super Fun Night keeps a video diary; Cecelia Lisbon’s diary is read in The Virgin Suicides; titles from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to The Vampire Diaries; the journal is the Quintessential Teen Girl thing to have.

So get out there, start journaling! Think about it as a commitment, something you’re dedicated to just like a relationship. Because when it comes down to it, it is a sort of relationship. Your journal can be as close to you as your best friend. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and start writing: ANYTHING. And congratulations to the new happy couple.

By Summer

3 Comments

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  1. SUMMER YOU ARE SO FLAWLESS. I’m so inspired to finish the last three pages of the journal i started in TWO THOUSAND NINE. WHEN I WAS IN 8TH GRADE.

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