The Joys of Journal Writing

If you’ve followed this blog, you know I am a journal writer. A the end of the past year, I decided to gather my journals from the various shelves, nooks, and crannies where they’re tucked and put them all into a plastic container. I want to store them under my bed, an easy place to get to them and begin taking them out one at a time for re-reading.

Tonight I discovered that I had vastly underestimated the size of container needed. I have approximately thirty-five years of journals, and the container I bought that fits under the bed will only hold ten years worth.

Ten years worth of journals, two a year.

I began journal writing in my early twenties. There were no journal writing teachers or classes or gurus like there are now. Nor, as far as I knew, the term journal writer. I thought more in terms of diary, until I read about the journals kept by one of my favorite authors, Catherine Marshall. Mrs. Marshall used simple spiral bound notebooks, and this simple idea inspired me. I had no idea that my compulsive journal writing was a clue to my being a writer.

Day after day, year after year I have written my heart on lined pages. In the first writing course that I took, mystery writer and teacher Carolyn Hart required the class to keep a journal, and to turn it in. There were moans from the younger students around me, but I smiled, eager to do something that came naturally to me. I wasn’t about to turn in my real journal, of course, so I kept a second, far less intimate one.

Sometime in the late 1980s, A friend gave me The Artist Way, by Julia Cameron. Morning pages is Cameron’s famous tool for connecting to creativity. I wanted to keep a second notebook, or just write on legal tablets what was likely to be an abundance of gibberish flowing out, and best thrown away. Yet mostly I wrote in my journals. I discovered that I had pretty much been letting my thoughts flow for years into my journals– my thoughts, my struggles, frustrations, heartaches, and, more and more, my hopes, dreams, and joys. And I never have thrown them away.

If you are a journal writer, you might find interesting the video below, by Christian Baldwin, author and journal writer. She offers some intriguing suggestions to get you started and deepen your journal writing.

Blessings,
CurtissAnn