I make a lot of mistakes on the Internet by looking at ridiculous shit. I recently noticed a trend in telling readers how to journal. For maximum effect, I will repeat: I recently noticed a trend in telling reader how to journal. I mostly see this on Pinterest accompanied by professional photographs of “fancy” writing in “fancy books” with multiple colors of ink, doodles, charts, graphs, etc. I see books with pockets for keeping items, stickers, bookmarks, paperclips with stuff glued to them…. It looks expensive and overwhelming.
I don’t remember when I started keeping a journal, but it was back when I still called it “keeping a diary.” I remember owning a lavender diary with a cat on it. I hate cats. I remember that diary. It had the goofy, flimsy lock and the key that had the strength of a paperclip – a low level paperclip, not one of those serious paperclips that can easily manage 18 pages.
I’ve written here about my current journal here – an emerald green moleskine that I carry in my purse. I would prefer nobody read it, but if someone grabbed it from me and ran off as if to humiliate me with what they found inside it, I don’t think I’d do much to stop them. They might learn something.
The idea that I need to be instructed or taught how to journal is offensive, unless the instructions are:
1 – buy a blank book, notebook, index cards, whatever you want to write on;
2 – buy a writing instrument you like to use;
3 – write whatever you want in whatever fashion you want in the item you acquired in Step 1.
What else is there? Am I missing something?
Realistically, you could scrap all of these (3) instructions and just write whatever on whatever surface with whatever instrument. If I really need/want to write something down, and I don’t have my journal or some kind of paper handy, I’ll write on receipts, napkins, old grocery store lists, etc. Whatever I can find. Later, I’ll copy it into my journal or maybe just put the written-on scrap between some pages. I wrote it down. It’s there. That’s all I need. It’s not uncommon to find napkins between the pages of my journals.
Even considering that I journal incorrectly (that I need to be taught how to do it) or that I don’t journal effectively makes me think of being advised that I need to wear make-up all the time. I don’t do that. If you follow me on social media, you may remember that the caption for a picture of me & Todd the night we went out for my birthday dinner refers to me rubbing dirt and chemicals on my face. I do it when I want to do it. I also do it when I know I’m going to court, which I have to state specifically because that is a time when I don’t always want to do it. The point is, I am the same Maggie whether I paint my face or not. My journal is as valuable and effective and correct, regardless of how it’s done. As a special note, if you wear make-up every day and that’s what you want to do, *high five* You are kicking ass. If you wear make-up every day and you don’t want to, please talk to me about this. I have seen this other side of life, and I can tell you that nothing bad happens. You will still be you – worthy, valuable, important and loved.
Journaling seems like one of the last things we should need several items to do it effectively. One writing surface, one writing instrument and you’re set. What if someone was interested in keeping a journal and they saw all of these articles about different ink pens, stickers, etc. and decided it was too expensive, too overwhelming or required so much skill? That’s absurd. The special lettering and doodles may do someone in. I don’t draw and my handwriting is sloppy, but I keep my journal. I write what I want to, when I want to. But if I tried to start journaling and felt that to do it correctly I needed to master all of this lettering and special doodles…. I wouldn’t do it, because that’s not my area. I’m a word person, not a shapes and lines person.
Journaling doesn’t require special skills or equipment. Depending on your motivation for getting into it, it doesn’t even require a special commitment. The idea of writing in my journal every day sounds great, but I also like reading, going to the gym, spending time with Todd, spending time with our [four-legged] girls, watching TV/movies. I don’t always make time to write in my journal. If/When I feel moved to write, I do it. Sometimes, like today, it gets done here and not in the moleskine.