Written by contributing blogger, Daniela Forte.
As far back as I can remember I have always kept a journal. I can still remember exactly where I was when I bought my first one – I was under 10 years old, still learning how to form sentences. I found my first one in a mom and pop toy store. I still have it. I remember being so excited to talk about my day, even if it was only to myself.
I guess it was journaling that started my love for writing. I wanted to share my thoughts that were always running around in my head. It was my outlet, my way of expressing myself without having to verbally say what I feel.
I think throughout my whole life, I have about 7 or 8 journals total. When I was much younger I recorded every detail about my day, from all of my experiences to the people I spent time with. My teenage years was when heavy journaling took place, so much was changing, there was so much angst going on around me.
My last journal was never completed. It spanned about 12-13 years of my life. I didn’t write everyday, I let go of the notion that in order to be a true journal writer, you had to write everyday, you don’t. I didn’t, my life wasn’t that exciting to record anyway. This particular journal had seen too many years or chapters in my life, and I knew it was time to close it.
I stopped journaling for a number of years because I just didn’t have it in me. I am not sure if my young adult life as a news reporter took away any other time to write freely or I just didn’t feel like it, but I knew I just wasn’t feeling it.
Recently however, I began again. For a number of years on my birthday people would buy me journals, I have a ton of empty ones I have yet to fill, some have been turned into dream journals, daily inspiration journals and even a vacation journal.
And so here I am with my new (not so new) journal. This time, my entries are far different. They are about expressing gratitude, love letters to myself intention-driven entries and goal setting. It’s not about the latest boy I have a crush on or how my family and/or friends have upset me. That’s not in there this time.
Let me say however, your journal can be anything you want it to be. There are no parameters around what you can and cannot write. You like writing poetry? Write poetry! You want to write a screenplay, go ahead. The point of a journal is to get out what is going on in your mind.
You don’t have to show anyone, this is for you and no one else. I have also done meditative writing (I can’t go into explanation here about it, … I am still trying to work out the kinks of that). Google it!
Some of the most prolific writers of our time have kept a journal with them at all times, some of their most treasured works have come out of journal writing. It is definitely worth a try.
If I haven’t convinced you to start journaling yet, here are some more reasons:
It’s Calming: Who doesn’t want to be calm? After a long day, sometimes it’s all you need. Light a candle, have a glass of wine and start writing. Side note: grammar and spelling aren’t important… so don’t worry about that. I write because it calms me, it always has, it’s the way I know how to say what I feel. It’s a great form of meditation.
It’s Creative: It’s a creative outlet. If other creative outlets like painting, singing, drawing or coloring doesn’t tickle your fancy, this just might. It’s a chance to express who you are, express your darkest secrets.
It’s Not Just about Writing: My journals have not only been about writing, it’s also been a place where I kept some of my most treasured keepsakes. Like letters, pictures, ticket stubs, that kind of stuff. I’ve created collages in them, I have drawn pictures in them, I have professed my undying love to Leonardo DiCaprio (my high school journal…I promise!)
It’s Not an Expensive Hobby: When I started to journal seriously, I used to go to my nearest bookstore and buy these big canvas bound journals for $5. They still exist today; stores like Barnes and Noble probably have them. Get a journal that represents you, that speaks to who you are, because after all this is about you.
I pretty much owe my career as a journalist to journaling. I always loved to write and still do, so I cannot say enough about why I think it’s a great hobby to start.