Saturday, September 18, 2010

What (and How) I Write in My Journal

On any given day, any number of things could piss me off, make me smile, cause a gut-wrenching laugh or make me think WTF? These are the things I write about in my personal journal. Sometimes it’s something stupid that I do or something silly that I say that makes me grab my computer and type, type, type away about the experience. That’s one form or journaling.
Other times, I’m reflecting about something that happened in my past that I’m still dealing with. We all know it takes time to get over stuff. So, I write out how I feel, recalling how the initial incident made me feel way back then, and I contemplate how far I’ve come -- oh Lord, I hope I’ve made SOME progress! That’s a great emptying technique. This too, is a form of journaling.
Chillin' in a quiet villa in Barbados
People often think that journaling is the “Dear Diary” entries of our youth. Back when we wrote about a boy we liked who didn’t seem to notice us, or how mean we thought our parent were because they wouldn’t allow us to stay out past dark on a weeknight, or similar juvenile entries that worked back then, but just don’t quite hit the mark of an adult mentality. Life can be complicated as an adult -- it doesn’t have to be, but it often is. So what the heck, write about it!
There are any number of things to journal about from your daily life. You could write about your career, your family, a phone call you received, a movie that touched you, something you hope will happen, a new business venture, a conversation with a friend, the woman who backed into your car at the supermarket, a success you achieved, money woes, children, spouses, pets, parents ... whatever you want. The best part is that you can use whatever language you wish, describe things however you want, fudge on the details and even blame other people. Okay, I don’t recommend these last two. One of the benefits of journaling is that it’s healing; and truth is a huge part of healing. So, as much as possible, tell the truth to yourself in your journal. But hey, it’s your journal; you can do what you want. 
My point is ... write it down. Don’t worry about proper grammar, punctuation and spelling ... or what I call GPS. Just write ... or, if you prefer, type. In fact, I don’t even use capital letters in my electronic journal these days. That’s one less key I have to hit when I’m typing. When I journal, I’m pouring out a thought or an emotion and I don’t want to interrupt it with having to cap everything that needs to be capped. Oftentimes, I don’t even go back and correct errors. I like the rawness of my entries, so I sometimes keep those mistakes.
So tell me, what have you been journaling lately?

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