Is it a diary or is it a journal? I’m never quite sure what to call it. Whatever, I guess it really doesn’t matter much.
You could call it what you like, as long as it does the job for you.
I’m talking about writing on a fairly regular basis, not simply as a record of what has happened, although it can be that too if that is what you need.
For me it has been many different things over the years. I suppose it first started when I got one of those diaries with the fancy lock and tiny weeny key on it for Christmas one year.
I did start to use it, but then I was a bit suspicious about the security of that tiny weeny key, so stopped writing my secrets down. I was sure mum would snoop and it just didn’t seem right for her to be reading my stuff – so I reasoned it was better not to write at all.
Then when I became a “mature age student”, studying for my Diploma of Nursing, we had a lecturer who required us to write a journal – with regular contributions. it wasn’t to be handed in, but she wanted us to get the feel of writing our thoughts down. I wasn’t too keen on the idea at first, but once I’d started I was hooked.
I found it to be so therapeutic, as I was a mother of three primary school aged children, wife, cook, had a full time job plus was studying distance education to further my career.
Computers weren’t very portable back then, so I bought myself an old – really heavy – green typewriter. I found it to be an amazing outlet for my frustrations, and it also became a record of what had been happening in my life.
I discovered I had a passion for writing, but it was writing for my eyes only. I kept all my records in a folder, which appeared to be just another one of my study books. So I felt reasonably secure that nobody would bother to look at it.
Over the years my entries were rather sporadic, but whenever I sat down to write, it felt like coming home after a long holiday.
I wrote poetry as well, but for me the journalling was the best.
Then when Kelly died, I started writing her letters, to tell her what had been happening since she’d gone. It was what I knew best, in a time of extreme uncertainty. Plus it gave me a connection to her in a way. I can remember an early letter I was writing, late at night at the computer and I couldn’t see the screen for tears, but I had an urgency to write everything down. It really helped me.
Kelly wrote a lot too, mostly poetry, some of which was rather grim and dark, but it was an outlet for her. Sadly, she stopped writing the year she died. I have always felt that if she’d managed to keep writing, then perhaps she’d still be with us today.
Last evening I watched Bridget Jones’s Diary for the first time – sad I know – but it was released the year after Kelly died so movies just weren’t on the radar for me then. I was amused at the diary entries, but then when it was left out on view and Mr Darcy read it, I was reminded of the importance of keeping your diary or journal away from prying eyes. It is a place where you can write whatever you think, but would’t necessarily say, and that’s okay because sometimes it is good to actually get your thoughts out, or down on paper.
Several years ago my son gave me a book called The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron. It is a twelve week program where you write ‘morning pages’ daily. She prefers that you write in longhand and up to three A4 pages first thing each day. There are other tasks to do too, but the writing each morning is a discipline and it is not for anyone else to read – some destroy each entry at the end of the week. I prefer to keep mine, although I may never read them again.
After completing the program, I’m set into the pattern of writing daily and enjoying it too. With our busy lives, it may not be possible to write longhand, but there are so many other ways to write. You could use your phone, tablet or a computer if you can’t manage to write longhand, but just try it for a while and see where it goes.
You never know you might like it.