Thursday, March 12, 2015

Writing, Recording and Processing

A collection of some of my journals - all filled to the last page with writing

I was inspired to write a post today based upon reading one of my favorite bloggers, Mary Ann Moss, yesterday.  She referenced going back through some of her journals to reread them, catalogue them and even...good God...throwing some out (which I am actually all for, btw).

In my youth, I collected blank books.  I did not know what I was going to do with them, but I always felt the need to buy blank books and fancy stationery.  The stationery I used, but the blank books remained dusty, but always in a special place.

Some journals I made and are falling apart - I love that

The only times I started journaling in college were during break-ups or during some other depressing situation in my life. Rereading those feeble attempts at journal writing were painful.  Quite frankly, who wants to reread/relive all that?  This is when I developed the habit of tearing pages out and retrying the whole thing.  And for years, I think that some of these journals started like this, only to be resurrected again and again with the same attempt the next time some difficult situation presented itself.

Those poor blank books.  They wanted to be full of poignant moments and beautiful words.  I desired desperately to be a keeper of journals in order to record my life.  

Why was it that every time I tried, 
I not only could not keep the practice up 
but I never wanted to reread a sentence of the stuff I wrote?

I think it is because there are two types of writing for me.  The type that is a record of my days here on earth: the joys, sorrows, disappointments, frustrations, successes, or sometimes just simple stream of consciousness.  This is what my journals look like now. And the type of writing to help myself process a situation, not necessarily to record it.

When I went through a divorce years ago, I wrote all the time.  And I threw all that stuff out.  I no longer needed to carry it around with me because it was over, done with, and I never wanted to be reminded of it again.  The only way I benefited from writing all that was getting my feelings out.  I would receive very little, if any, benefit from rereading everything I wrote.

I think this is the reason many people fail at journal writing.  They start at a bad time and their book becomes a bunch of negative feelings or complaints. And then the whole experience becomes negative.

Give yourself permission to write for the sake of writing and to purge whatever you don't want to relive again.  

It frees you up to write more authentically if 
you know you are writing just to get
 your thoughts on paper and not for prosperity.

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