On keeping a journal

I’m trying to journal again. I think. I’m reading a book about keeping a journal, anyway. Now I have many thoughts about it, so I just want to sort them out on paper. Well, not really sort them out, but just have them written, no matter how random, inconsistent, far-off or not-really-well-thought-of they may be. This is how a journal should be, anyway, right? Un-censored, not a showcase for one’s writing skill, rather simply a way for one to capture life’s little and big moments, thoughts, feelings.

I’ve attempted at least half a dozen times in the course of my 37 years to keep a diary or journal of sorts. The most successful I’ve been was in late college, when I lived in a dormitory. I suppose it’s because I had lots of late nights and idle moments there, plus one feels most emotionally volatile and has his/her most brooding instants around that age, when on the brink of having a glimpse of who one might really be and where he/she might actually be headed.

It was a hard-bound, spiral notebook bought from a specialty stationery/gift shop (Tickles, if I remember correctly). I wrote ferociously, stuck notes and letters and photos in between the pages, composed awful poems and copied lyrics of corny love songs dedicated to objects of my young, bursting affection. Then busy-ness took over, I guess, or…I don’t know what, really, but I just stopped writing there, and even neglected to secure it, only finding it again years later buried in piles of books and old school stuff. I suppose that time that I found it I still had self-esteem issues (then again, I still do, to some degree), so I ended up finding entries that were too embarrassing to bear, and I actually got rid of several pages.

Some time later I started blogging and got into the world of journal writing for public consumption. Now that I’m thinking about it, that blog was actually my most successful journal, spanning a number of years. I stopped when very painful things started happening in my private life, and I couldn’t get myself either to be a sham and just keep writing about nice things knowing that people are reading, or to over-share and parade my so-called dirty linen for the world to see.

Now I have this writing blog, and a more public blog that promotes stuff I like and advocate, and bits and pieces of encouragement and inspiration for others. I also have a few entries in a very private blog about a personal issue I’m dealing with. Are these to be considered journals? Perhaps. Still I’m not sure that I’m okay with just these.

I tried to keep a prayer journal, a blessings journal and a quiet time journal, but I failed miserably to maintain them. Perhaps I’m trying to have too many things. How should I proceed? “The answer is to write,” as Richard Rhodes says. Maybe I’ll have a clearer direction by the time I finish reading this book.


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