The journal – A creative compass

Journaling. I have been thinking about this for a while. Then I read an article a friend posted from Brainpickings about the creative benefits of keeping a journal. This article along with my friend’s decision to take up journaling sealed the deal, so to speak.

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I wont list the benefits here but I will talk briefly about the one benefit that really struck a cord with me and that is – a journal helps you build your identity as a writer. It helps you listen to people critique your work without forgetting the truth of what you are writing and why. In essence, it is sort of like a creative compass. While I have always jotted down things here and there I have never considered myself a ‘writer’ like I do now. The majority of my days are either writing, reading about writing, or thinking about writing. However, I still don’t know who I am in this new world of writing yet.

As I have discussed briefly before, this year has stripped away much of my identity. Overall this is a good thing but working on birthing my new self is just that – work. I think journaling can help with this especially as I have so many memory difficulties. Creating a record of my days and epiphanies will help orient me in a sea of what can be extreme uncertainty.

I used to love journaling many years ago. Not a day went by without words or images being laid down but I got to a point where I was ashamed of what I had written. I guess like everyone I have had some dark periods in my life and my diaries became a testament to what I had lost whilst wandering in the darkness that was my life at the time. I now see that there was probably also a lot of resentment towards my diaries, resentment about what I had given up – my creative self.

I wont make this a huge long New Years Eve post, it just happened that journaling and this holiday coincided. Along with my friend I have made myself accountable to my writing group (I find this is an excellent way to get things done) by posting daily pics of my blurred journaling each day.

It will be interesting to see how my writing evolves as I journal. Hopefully it will mean my poetry writing will become more prolific.

While I am here I should probably wish you all a Happy New Year.

Long-eared owl, on pine tree-stump, sillouette at night, Asio otus, N Yorks

4 Comments

  1. Bravo! I would say that you, as much as your writing, will evolve in the process of authentic journaling. Enjoy the journey!

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  2. Ariam Alula says:

    Catherine,

    Everything your wrote is seconded. I’m a young writer who falls in and out of love with journalism, but one thing’s certain: I’ll never lose sight of the healing powers behind writing, and journaling is the best avenue to facilitate and nourish that love. Writing is self-love, in essence, you are speaking without judgment and others are listening to your thoughts. Therefore, if you’re not honest in your words then your readers won’t be honest with you. This is why writing frightens me, however, I have memory problems (yea, at 23) too and writing mirrors those visuals and emotions to me. Writing is also about writing through pain and forgiving yourself for producing a shitty piece of work, here and there.

    I honor your commitment to writing your way back to self.

    Thank you.

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    • Thank you. Memory problems are extraordinarily hard at times. I sometimes find writing helps with that. But the thing about art is the only person you need to answer to, is yourself. Maybe it is different with journalism. I just try not to be to hard on myself knowing that I will always be my strongest critic – by far!

      Like

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