Journalling

  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.
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Why Blog?

Blogging

Why blog? It’s a question I’ve been asked a few times, and I admit I had to think long and hard about my motives.

Firstly – I love to write – it’s a passion of mine and has been for a long time. I’d dreamt of being a published writer – and lets be honest here – that’s something that a lot of people do. But for me, I need to go back a fair way to find the origin of my actual writing.

Many years ago I was studying for my Diploma of Applied Science in Nursing at Sturt College of Advanced Education in South Australia. It was a course for distance education, but we had to actually spend a week in Adelaide at the beginning. One of the subjects was English Literature – something I’d really enjoyed at High school. However I wasn’t too thrilled when the lecturer explained that one of the requirements was to keep a journal! She meant we had to write something everyday – groan!!

So I reluctantly started my journal – like a diary really – and found myself addicted. I discovered that, as I was the only one reading it, I could write whatever I wanted and no one would criticise me. Then as I progressed I realised that it was a truly emotional outlet, it made me feel better, more in control of a life that at times threatened to be totally out of control.

Here I was, a mother of three young children, working practically full-time, studying – and that meant assignments, deadlines etc., and looking after my family. There was shopping, cooking, washing and housecleaning to be done as well as study, which didn’t leave much – if any – time for me.

I immersed myself in my journal, reasoning that it was actually part of my study and inadvertently discovered another world.

Money was rather tight, but I selfishly put myself first and invested in an old clunky typewriter. Made of dark green metal and very heavy, I loved it so much as it represented another world for me.

Over the years of journaling, I amassed a couple of A4 folders of printed pages. I didn’t do it every day, sometimes I’d go for weeks without writing, and then I’d be writing every day, sometimes twice a day. It became a lifeline. Those around me seemed a little amused by the growing collection of pages, but at last I’d found a way of coping with some of the dramas that were part of my life.

Journaling became a documentary of both the important and superficial things in my life. I still have the originals, some of which were later saved on my computer – when I became involved with technology.

I still prefer to feel the paper when I reread these jottings.

I also wrote poetry occasionally, and that too was an expression of my feelings at the time. Kelly was also into poetry and wrote prolifically. I believe that her poetry kept her alive for many years, as it gave her an outlet. Sadly the year she stopped writing, was the year she took her own life.

For me, being able to journal my thoughts and feelings in times of crisis kept me sane.

When Kelly died, I wrote letters to her telling her of the goings on in my life and what she was missing. Those letters were my sanity; my way of coping when it seemed my world had virtually ended. I remember writing the first letter to her, after the funeral and not being able to see the computer screen most of the time because of the tears. But it was vitally important for me to tell her what had been happening and how I felt.

Secondly it was my way of coping in a small world where everyone around me was grieving in their own way, and when I felt I couldn’t talk to them, but was able to talk to Kell.

So that’s what this blog is all about. Just because it’s been almost sixteen years since Kelly died, doesn’t mean that I don’t feel grief and sadness. Most times now I can talk about her death and all that it meant, but there are times when I really need to express my feelings privately.

Though I may seem to be really in control most of the time, its because I make the time to let my grief out on the computer. Then if I choose, I can share or not.

Finally, life can get too busy and its easy to forget to record special or interesting moments. So blogging is a way of disciplining me to take the time to write, plus I’m getting in practice for the next book – lol.