I did the Artist’s Way once. It’s this feel-good crapshoot that charges you stupid money for something even more stupid. I’m not sure why I signed up for it, I didn’t do any research about it and it didn’t do me any good. One of the hallmarks of the program, though, is to write “Morning Pages.” These are essentially journals the first thing when you wake up in the morning.
I didn’t last too long at that, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy journaling.
I have kept a semi-regular journal since my sophomore year in college. I would return to it on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis–generally whenever a big life change happened or I was perplexed about something.
But for the past 3 months I’ve had massive life change–teaching a new class, a new baby daughter, a foster daughter, a new job, more activities–and haven’t journaled since fall.
And you know what? I miss it.
Journaling is often considered narcissistic, and it is if you expect every word to be great. But journaling for me is about remembering, and charting how I’ve changed. I don’t know if my daughter or kids or grandkids will ever look at, and that’s fine. Because I can still look at it.
Does it make me a better writer? I don’t know. I’ve never used it in that way. It’s usually more about figuring out complex life problems rather than sticky plot situations, though there are a few story germs in there.
What else do I use it for? I’ve taken notes in it, especially from creative-type books. I take random pieces of papers, articles, and other ephemera and jam it in there. Now, it’s rectangle shape has taken on a bloated form.
I’ll return to journaling soon. I’ve got a lot of stuff bouncing around in my head, some new thoughts (for me) on some old topics, and I want to chart how my thinking changes as the things around me change or stay the same.
Journal, hello my overstuffed friend. It’s good to be with you again.