Since I was 9, I have been collecting Journals. All kinds of Journals. Leather, spiral bound, paperback, vintage, new, interactive, etc. However, in the past year I have felt more connected to journaling than I ever have before. Usually, I would buy a journal, write a few story ideas in it, then move on to a new journal without ever actually finishing my ideas or filling the journal.
But then my mom got me this beautiful, Italian leather journal from Barnes and Noble for Christmas last year [by last year I mean 2011]. At first, I would look at it, trying to decide what I wanted to write in it because I knew I wanted it to be my actual, true journal that I would use for a very long time. Finally, upon graduating high school in May 2012, I decided I would write my thoughts in it about moving, starting fresh, my experiences in college, and so on. This made me excited, but I had never been a consistent journal-er [please see the piles of journals in the storage closets in my house].
The thing with a journal, though, is that it is not a person. It will not randomly get mad at you, it will not judge the thoughts you pour into it, and it will always be there for you waiting for you to open your soul to its blank pages.
For those of you wondering how to get into journaling, I have found a few things that help me.
1) Journal when you have something to say. Don’t make writing in your journal a chore. Make sure that you write when you have something you are dying to say, but don’t know how to say what you want to say to a person. Make sure that what you’re writing is what you really want to say. Don’t write to please anyone but yourself. When you journal, you should be writing things that will make you reflect, feel free-er after putting on the page, or that have no effect on you other than making you smile.
2) Make your journal your closest friend. I know it sounds cheesy to do this, but really. Your journal should be an extension of your soul, it should be something you respect, love, cherish, and yearn to be with. If you find just writing page after page of nonsense in your journal, try adding photos of your family, yourself, magazine cutouts, inspirational quotes, or even reading lists, bucket lists, etc.
3) Let your pen be your mind. When journaling, don’t just write exactly what you are trying to say, don’t reread each line to make sure it sounds good. Simply let your thoughts flow directly from your mind to the page without any discrimination, analysis, or criticism. You should not feel that your journal needs to be perfect. In fact, often times in my own journal I explore the parts of myself I dislike, and attempt to figure out how to embrace those parts. Want your journal to be the most imperfect perfect version of yourself.
I hope what I have said either encourages you to go buy a journal and a good pen, or encourages you to pick up a journal you may have set down a few years ago and never picked back up.