Thoughts for Friday – 24th October 2014

journal_2I profess to be a writer (albeit not a published one); I like to write whether it be blog posts, short stories, massive novels that will probably never see the light of day, or personal journals.

Yes, I journal. Although, over here in the UK we tend to call it ‘keeping a diary’.

I can’t even remember the reason why I started scribbling my most private thoughts down in a lined notebook, but it’s been a habit that I have kept for more than four years now. A lot has happened in the last 50 months or so, much more than I ever could have imagined. I’ve lived through births, deaths, marriages and divorces (not all mine, you understand!) I’ve changed jobs, moved away from home and faced some pretty big trials, and I’ve detailed all of it in my journal.

I certainly don’t keep a journal in the hopes that, one day when I am either dead or dying, someone will chance upon them and discover that I was some kind of modern-day Virginia Woolf. So why do I keep a journal?

Well, the simple truth is that I don’t know.

Open-Book-Scrapbook-1Yes, that’s a lame answer, but it’s the only one I have. I only know that, because I’ve kept it up for this long, I have to keep writing down my thoughts each day and without fail. OK, so the ‘without fail’ bit is a lie – I’ve missed a few days here and there when I was either too drunk or too ill (perhaps even a combination of the two) to write anything.

I must have at least a dozen notebooks already filled with my thoughts for the last four years and I have to admit that I haven’t spent much time re-reading them either. I’m not sure it’s all that important to go back and discover how you might have seen things a few years ago, but it’s nice to have the option to be able to do that.

It’s long been said that keeping a journal is an ideal way to get one’s thoughts and feelings out into the open and to ‘put things to bed’, so to speak. I would tend to agree with that, I love a good bitch and a moan to my journal before I go to bed at night and it has probably helped me to reason things out rather than bottling it up and throwing a tantrum further down the line.

I’ve admitted things in my journal that I would be mortified for other people to read. My journal is a place where I can write whatever I want and know that the journal won’t judge me. I’ve written things that I would probably look back on and laugh and the childishness of it all, or feel the pain of losing something that I loved all over again.

Keeping a journal is also an excellent way of reminding yourself that life isn’t always a shit-sandwich. Granted, when things go belly-up and you feel as if the world is against you, it may seem like nothing in your life has ever gone right. Looking back over old journal entries proves that some pretty good things have happened to you and that life probably isn’t quite as crappy as you think it is. I’m sure that, if I counted all of the things that have happened to me over the last four years, there would be more good things than bad that I’ve written about.

76b1ab68318cc363f67fe383bb5cdf49My old journals currently sit in a drawer in my apartment, gathering dust and not being read, but I was determined that I would take them with me when I left home. Whether I read them again or not, they are a part of me and a part of my own personal history (and they way that I viewed things at the time.) My journals entries run from being happy, angry, devastated, amused to downright suicidal at times, yet they are me – raw and unedited.

I am planning to continue to journal for as many years as I can, the only problem being that I will probably have to move to a bigger place to house them all, that or digitize them!

I may never read anything that I’ve written but having my journals is proof enough that I was here and that I existed….and had a good bitch and moan along the way…..

Do you keep a journal? If so, how long have you been writing a journal for? Do you ever read parts of it back?


Filed under Thoughts for Friday

21 responses to “Thoughts for Friday – 24th October 2014

  1. Funnily enough i downloaded an app to keep an online Journal just yesterday. (I call it a journal because i write in it when i feel like it, not a diary which usually has dated pages. That’s my differentiation anyway.) I would keep one sporadically and without fail, someone would find it and read it. My mother, my flatmate, nosey visitors… As you said, there are things that get written in Journals that you would never actually admit to people i know. Maybe not even to strangers. Knowing someone was reading my most private thoughts mortified me and i promptly destroyed them and stopped. This app is private and password protected.

    I always seem to try again whenever i have too much going on to be able to keep it all in my head. It’s like a muggle’s pensieve. I have to write it down to get it out of my head otherwise i just wouldn’t be able to function. On the odd occasion i have read them back, they have made me feel kinda sad, (mostly because i tend to document the bad stuff, then stop writing.) so i don’t tend to read back. Its purely just to get some stuff out of my head so i can move past it.

    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Naomi.

      I guess one of the risks of keeping a diary or journal is that someone may find them and read them but I have fortunately never had that happen to me. When I lived at home, my mother knew that I kept a diary and she was great in the fact that she never once gave into the temptation to look at it and for that I am very grateful.

      Some of the things I write in those books would probably shock some people but I think we all need an outlet for thoughts and feelings that might be inappropriate to air in front of other people. At least with a book you know that they will never pass judgement on the things you say (write) and I think there is something quite liberating about that.

      I’ve found that keeping a journal is an ideal way for me to decompress and let go of certain emotions by writing them down instead of holding it in and stewing on it. I haven’t read much back of what I’ve written but no doubt I see things differently now than I did back then.

  2. I would love to write a journal, but just don’t have the dedication for it! πŸ˜€ My sister is a great one for writing journals, she has tons bursting with photos, notes, and memories!

    • I think I must have about 9 or 10 at the moment that cover the last four years or so and apart from a handful of days when I was too ill to complete an entry I have written in it every single day.

      Sometimes I only write a few lines and other days I write pages and pages, it all depends on what has happened to me on that day. I suppose that when I am grey and old that I can read them back and relive the raucous tales of my youth! πŸ™‚

  3. I’ve never kept a journal. I guess its too much like having a conversation, which I’m horrible at, Heather. I surround myself with talkers so I just have to listen and laugh. However, I do think a journal is terribly important. My poetry is a little like a journal, I guess. Have a fantastic weekend, Love. xx

    • Thanks Audrey, I hope you have a fantastic weekend too! πŸ™‚

      I found it odd and a little awkward to write a journal at first because, as you say, it felt like I was having a conversation (and with myself!) I guess it has become a habit to write in my journal each day and something that, because I have done it for so long, I would be disappointed with myself if I stopped.

  4. I do keep a journal and I find, like yourself, that it helps me to ‘put things to bed’. I can get them off my chest without telling them to the person they involved, I can sort out what I’m thinking when it’s all jumbled up in my head and I can let feelings go. It’s so helpful though, like yourself, I don’t always go back and re-read it. Thanks for this lovely post! I really enjoyed it!

    • Thanks so much for reading, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed my post! πŸ™‚

      I am sure that I read somewhere that putting one’s thoughts down onto paper is actually a very healthy way of decompressing after a long and stressful day and to enable us to get those thoughts and feelings out in the open but without actually verbalising them to anyone else.

      Sometimes it is just not appropriate to tell another person what is going on in your head but a journal doesn’t judge you or tell you what you should do, it just listens and allows you to say what you want without fear of recrimination and I think there is something quite liberating about that.

      I think it might be fun to go back to my journals ten years from now and realise how age and wisdom help us to react to situations and issues differently. I would hope that my journals would show how I have grown as a person (or perhaps how much I have regressed into being a child again!) πŸ™‚

      • Absolutely. I agree with the decompressing idea and you’re right, we can’t always tell someone what happened but a journal always listens. It’s also a great way to see how we’ve (hopefully) grown! πŸ˜€

  5. Come this Monday, I will have posted on my blog at least once every day for a whole year. When I started the mission, Heather B, I said to myself, let’s see if I can write something every day for a whole month. And I did. A whole two months. Yes! I was writing two things some days. Three, sure …

    It feels very diary-like in many ways, when I write about the little home I share with my dear wife Karen and our Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle and our garden battles of getting out the gopher and the skunk … And then there are the comments I pour my beliefs into on other people’s blogs every day. So yes, I consider the WordPress world my journal, my diary, so to speak. Does this count in your eyes, Heather B?

    • Of course it counts, Mark! And I have to say that I think it is a wonderfully brave thing for you to use your WP blog as an online journal and to share so many of you thoughts and feelings with the rest of us ❀

      When I started my journal I wasn't even sure that I would keep it up for very long, but it became one of those things that, once I got into the habit of doing it, it became a part of my normal, everyday life.

      A journal doesn't have to be a handwritten book, there are so many different ways that one can record their day to day life and I think it is wonderful that so many people do.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing, Mark! ❀

  6. i have never kept a journal. I’m not sure why since you’d think as a writer I might, but I never was very interested in writing down my thoughts each day. I have several years of scrapbooks, so I suppose you might consider that a selective journal. If I go on a trip, I take a small notebook with me and I do write down what we’ve done each day.

    I think what I tend to keep track of are the books I read. I developed a spreadsheet for them and I list each book, the author, and a few comments about the story, and perhaps a rating. I like seeing how many books I’ve read in a given period of time – and, because I read so much, I like going back and checking the titles to make sure I don’t end up re-reading a book! πŸ˜€

    Famous people throughout history have kept journals, Heather. Maybe you’ll be one of them! ❀

    • Oh Kate, I hope you’re right about the last part! πŸ™‚

      I think scrapbooks definitely count as a valid form of journalling as I don’t think recording one’s thoughts can should be defined through the written word alone. A picture can say a thousand words, as they say….

      I love the idea of the spreadsheet to keep track of books read, I think that’s fantastic idea! I have to admit that I only keep track of books read through Goodreads. Also, I need to curb my love of the spreadsheet as I’d record every element of my life in spreadsheets if I could! πŸ˜†

  7. I’ve tried keeping a journal, but it has never stuck. I am, however thinking of starting some art journaling, but more because I get thoughts that come into my mind of topics I want to write a poem about. Something that really impacts me, or that I feel passionate about. Plus, I’ve really been wanting to branch out into a more artsy area lately. With mixed media, and photography. We’ll see. I’ve bought some art supplies and have been watching tons of Youtube tutorials and all.
    Hope you’re doing well Heather.

    • Hi Staci!

      One of the main things that I have taken from writing this post and reading the thoughts of others is that journaling can take on many forms and isn’t just restricted to writing in some sort of notebook. Journalling cam be done through the written word, through art or even in the form of some sort of video journal so I would definitely say go for it and let your creativeness run where it wants to.

      I am doing pretty well Staci, although I have to admit that there have been a few bumps in the road lately, but things seem to be looking up again now. I hope that you and you’re family are all happy and well ❀

      • Hi Heather. Yes, actually I have been considering doing a bit of art journalling. I write little things that come to my head all the time, and I love the whole mixed media idea. I just think it’s too darn expensive though. I still want to see about it though.
        We’re all doing great here. I don’t know if I mentioned it to you or not, but we’ve decided to pull Caue out of the school system and will be homeschooling him. The regular school system just isn’t working for him.
        πŸ™‚ ❀

      • Hi Staci. I wasn’t aware that you’d taken Caue out of the school system but if it didn’t fit with his education requirements then you did the the right thing for him. Not all children with conditions such as Caue’s can integrate into the standard school system and that is no reflection on him as every child (just as every adult) is different and have different needs and requirments.

        I have no doubt that Caue will flourish with homeschooling as you’ll be able to tailor his education to his needs. I hope everything continues to go well for you and your family ❀ ❀

      • Thank you so much Heather. It will be a bit of a challenge, but I’m up for it. He has a real tough time at school. Everyday he complains and freaks out about having to go. He hates it. Imagine, he has hyper-sensitive hearing and very little ability to focus. He’s in a classroom of 30 children and it’s too much for him to handle. They finally hired someone to be with just him and that seems to be working, however he still hates school. I want to try a totally untraditional approach with him. I’ve found an online curriculum that many parents have used with their Asperger’s and High Functioning Autistic kids. It’s very interactive and fun. I’ve tried it out on him already and he loved it. Plus I want to incorporate Montessori type of techniques and things that grab his interest.
        Thanks a ton Heather. Wish me the best.
        πŸ™‚ ❀

      • I am wishing you all the best Staci, I know you’ll do great with him ❀ ❀

      • Thanks Heather.
        πŸ™‚ ❀

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