I began journaling in high school. I was broke, and discovered the larger spiral notebooks worked just fine. Some days I wrote pages, and sometimes it was months between entries. That was when I discovered fountain pens with cartridges. It was possible to get inexpensive pens that didn’t leak (Parker was my favorite), and the feel of the ink meeting the paper as I wrote was a treat (quite different from ballpoint pens, which most people used then). I often doodled on the paper margins, usually flowers or geometric shapes (am not much of an artist).
Jump forward about twenty years. Circumstances had been such that there was no time for journaling, nor was it exactly safe. But I again felt the need to examine my life. People journal for different reasons, but often I hear it is way of letting thoughts and emotions pour out of you. Often in the process of writing, you better understand how you feel about a thing, and perhaps the basis for those feelings. It can be simply a listing of the things you did that day, but in the process you discover which things you enjoyed, which things bothered you, and it gives you a chance to get to know yourself better. One of the things we now know about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is that we are better able to integrate the experiences into our lives (and heal) if we talk about them. The first time we talk about it with someone else can be pretty scary, but writing it may seem easier. It also incorporates the back-and-forth eye movements that assist in healing, as in Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing (EMDR).
My return to journaling was with another large spiral notebook. 🙂 While I was living by myself, someone gave me a 5″x8″ bound, lined journal, and that was a leap forward. The idea my thoughts could be in something more permanent, like a book, was a way of seeing value in my opinions — in my life. I remember discovering the large-format, cloth-bound, lined journals; Borders sold them for $3.99 to $7.99, depending on the thickness. (Thank goodness I bought several before Borders went out of business!) There is plenty of room to write, to paste in photos/ticket stubs/fortune cookie fortunes/whatever, and to draw. I even paste in my blog entries. 🙂 [The cover of my current journal is decorated with a drawing from a calendar by Wayne Bricco, a local artist.]
Some people prefer electronic blogs, and that’s cool, too. That way you can incorporate music; create a soundtrack for your life. 🙂 You could create video journals. The possibilities are endless.
Do you journal? What is your prefered medium? Why do you journal?