Tuesday, July 10, 2012

365 Days in my Journal

Last fall I made a goal to write 365 days in a row in my journal (I made it to 69 days). I am an avid journaler, and have been since about 1997 when my Aunt gave me my first real journal ever, with this message inside the front cover:

It reads:
To Rebecca - Writing Journal -
I've learned if you want to be a writer, you need to write everyday or at least every other day.
Happy Writing
Aunt Wilma

When I was a child I dreamed of being a writer. I wrote short stories, children's books, and poetry almost obsessively since I was about 6 or 7. I still remember writing my first "real" story on Word Perfect '95 on an old IBM computer with a blue screen and F keys. Before that I would write stories on our Macintosh that had a program that would read aloud what you had written in this horrible computerized man's voice.

I have since grown out of writing stories (mostly). Although up until probably college I would write the first 15-20 pages of countless stories. Some of them were pretty good. I would also write by hand in my notebooks at school. In high school I continued to write poetry and was even published in my high school's literary magazine, which I helped edit. It wasn't anything amazing, but I really enjoyed creative writing.

Now I mostly write for my blog, and in my journal. I'm not a great writer - I think I just have a lot to say (if you know me in person you know that I will talk your ear off, given the chance). But I believe in writing.

At this point I have begun to ramble, and honestly I am not entirely sure why I starting writing this post in the first place.

I guess to just share with you my love of writing. For some reason I feel uninhibited when I write. I don't feel like I have to put up a facade or pretend I am not really who I am. I don't have to worry (too much) about tact or political correctness. I can just open up and share my thoughts. It's like ultimate access to the real me.

Honestly, that is probably the reason why I don't tell people who actually know me (i.e., my ward, my friends, my family) about my blog. In person I am able to gauge the response I get from others and mold and shift what I say and how I say it, and carefully choose the topics of conversation, so that no one feels threatened, so that no one feels uncomfortable. Unfortunately, that can also end up being kind of boring.

This ended up being a lot more personal than I intended, but I think it feels good to get it out there.

Here is a picture of my four journals:

The red and black journal spans from my first entry in December 1997 (when I received the journal) to June 2004 shortly after my graduation from high school.

The blue fairy/ballerina bunny journal was the next one I wrote in - I received it from a close friend for our high school graduation. I am still not sure why I used it... It was really not my style, as you can tell. I probably used it because I love that particular friend. That one spans from June 2004 to July 1, 2005. The black spiral journal is July 2005 to March 2010 and represents the fullest period of my life so far - that one contains my courtship, engagement, wedding, two pregnancies and births, and about 6 moves. It includes my husband joining the military, months and months of separation due to military training, and a lot of stress and anxiety. In fact, I think the 5 years in that journal were probably some of the most anxious years of my life.

The fat black leather journal on the far right is my current journal. From March 2010 until today, July 2012, and I am about half way through (the pages are pretty thick - probably 4 times as thick as the red and black journal).

My current journal is a journal of healing, a record of finding peace, understanding the refiner's fire, and growing so fast it hurt. I am hoping that the next several years can fill this journal with more peace, with joy, love, and strength.

I am going to start the 365 day challenge over again today. I was much more sane when I was writing every day. I dare you to join me!

Do you keep a journal? How often do you write? When did you start keeping a journal?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. I have a box of about fifteen journals from the time my mom started one for me when I was eight. The journal entries during my mission were long and full and wonderful. The ones since becoming a mother of five kids are often month long synopsis, trying not to completely lose the plot of what has actually happened. My blog is a mix of things I think and a family journal. I agree with you that I am much more sane when I am writing every day. But life happens. I love the book These is My Words--a book written in journal form about a woman in the Arizona frontier. Her jounalings skip whole time periods, even years because of what was going on. I can relate. Sometimes my heart is so full I have to write and sometimes my life is so full there just isn't time or solitude. Many times it is both and that is when I am insane. When I get frustrated with my inability to keep up, I try to remember the adage to be gentle with myself. And that any effort no matter how imperfect is an effort to be lauded.

  2. This is why I think we are secret twins. Your whole parts about being writerly in high school, and then now, and... yeah. I'm with you. I've got a blog I've written in since I was 15 which is more of a private journal now. And then I write in my paper journals.

    But my only writerly outlet these days is my blog, and Facebook. Which kind of sucks, but then sometimes I'll write a great post and be like WOW I AM A GENIUS. But most of the time that doesn't happen. However, I go back and read my old blog a lot, and think "holy crap I am so clever/smart/genius/writerly!........what happened?"

    Yay writing. Yay journals. My mom has 12 or so journals she kept during her teen years and I loved reading them. They really taught me stuff about my mom. I keep mine around so I can show my posterity how NOT to be. Ugh.

    Also I second the recommendation of These Is My Words.

  3. Journalling keeps me sane, for sure. I am the type of person that can't solidify her thoughts without working them through first; if I'm talking to my husband about a problem, the solution will come to me mid-sentence. It never occurred to me before I spoke it outloud! Writing has the same affect.

    Unfortunately, the muscles in my hand have atrophied since my school days! I can't write more than a few pages without feeling kinda sore. :)

  4. I tried to do a daily gratitude journal a couple of summers ago. I stopped when I went back to school. It was wonderful and something I need in my life now so I am in.

  5. What a great challenge. I used to be much better at keeping a journal before i had a blog. But there are so many things that cant be shared on a blog that i should be recording. I might try this because it would be good for me.

  6. That is such a great idea! I love it! I will join! You should make a little button to put on peoples' blogs saying that they're doing the "365 Challenge", or whatever. I would put it on mine! ;) That would be cool.

    I really love the message that your aunt shared about needing to write to become a writer. I like that, because there will probably be some writing in my future. :D

    Thanks for sharing this!


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