31 July 2014

Musing about Journal Writing

Yesterday I met a friend for coffee. We talked about family and related issues, kids and the roller coaster ride they put parents through, you know, life experiences. Some of those situations can be filed in the "way less fun than an amusement ride" folder. Over the summer, my family lost five relatives. My friend and her family are dealing with changes and challenges as well.

As my friend has experience editing stories, the topic of writing came up in our conversation. We noted that many writers mention how they have to write or die. While there's an infinite number of reasons to write, the few that stood out to me given our conversation were...

... to distract one from Life's overwhelming issues
... to have something to do while waiting for balance
... to work through emotions
... to share heartbreak
... to relate with others

While the conversation wasn't meant to be thought provoking, apparently it crawled its way into my subconscious. So much so, that when I sat down at the computer and told my husband that I didn't know what to blog about this week, the snippets of the conversation bubbled up.

While fiction writing can be a avenue for these writing reasons, given the topics of today's conversation, journal writing seems more appropriate to me. I've never been a journal writer despite the writing advice to do so. Adding a journal into my writing practice when I can barely fit in my story writing sounds crazy. Never mind that I've tried to journal a few times, but couldn't maintain the activity.

Yet, when I participated in writing challenges that asked the writer to pick from a list of reasons to write, I enjoyed the freedom to rant, to complain, or to love just with my written words. I didn't have to share what I wrote, so I could be as candid as I wanted. A few of the reasons I wrote were to get things off my chest, to write about things that can't be said, and a few of the reasons listed above. The experience was cathartic and heart-wrenching, but was freeing as well.

So, now I'm wondering if I will use that journal for something more than a photo subject...


Susan Duncan said...

I love the journal idea. I started a journal at age 11. Wrote religiously for about 25 years. A lot of it is "unfit for human consumption" and i hardly know what to do with the boxes of journals I've accumulated. Now I write mostly gratitude lists, intentions, and prayers. Or love letters to my daughter to give to her when she's a feisty adolescent. Time... so precious.

Lynn Viehl said...

I journal every day but I don't always write something. Sometimes I sketch or paint a small watercolor, mount photos or add in cards, letters I've received or other interesting life ephemera. I also like to add small swatches of fabric from whatever sewing or quilting project I'm working on.

My grandmother used to keep a newspaper journal, in which she would tape articles from the daily paper. I've always wanted to do the same but I don't read the paper that often. :)

Anne Velosa said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I did start a journal, I've only written in it a few times. While I did try to write everyday, it just isn't a muscle yet. So, I've decided to keep the entries to the "When I Can and Remember" type. The entries might be sporadic, but at least it'll be something more than before.