It’s time I mention the avenue of writing that I’ve otherwise hardly touched upon in the past: the avenue of writing in a journal.
I think that we may have all- at least- attempted to keep a journal at least once in our lives. I think we’ve all been exposed to the idea of being able to hash out all that’s on our minds into a safe space where we can’t be judged and be allowed to let us be. But then I think of how people come to realize how exhausting of a task that might be, especially if they’re either a. not adamant writers and/or b. don’t feel comfortable with being genuinely honest with themselves at least once a day. I think it’s with those possibilities in mind that the art of journal writing has become a dying art in today’s age- especially with all the technology we have that supposedly makes up for the otherwise therapeutic needs we have.
I, on the other hand, have always valued the need and power of the journal, which is why I’ve adamantly kept up the practice for nearly 13 years now. Funny enough, it was completely unplanned, for it all started when I received a purple Harry Potter journal from a friend of mine for my 10th birthday. That’s not to say that I hadn’t received journals before that. It’s just that for whatever reason, with receiving this journal, it ignited a spark of some sort that hasn’t been put out since. Despite 10 still being a very young age, perhaps I finally recognized a need for it, especially in a time where I was not only dealing with the daily life of being in an elementary school where a firm social hierarchy was set, but also because this was only five months following the 9/11 attacks. In other words, this journal came at the right time in my life. So therefore, nine days after receiving this first journal, I put pen to paper and hadn’t stopped since.
It’s been nearly 13 years and I’m now on my 31st journal. Looking back on my previous ones, I’m amazed that all that I’ve experienced in my life so far; from family deaths, to the people who would come in and out of my lives, to the guy whom I thought I would never get over, and of course this past year with my completion of college and publishing a novel.
There are some upsides and downsides to keeping a journal. The downsides would be when reading back over relatively negative experiences. To this day, I still can’t read over some of the entries I wrote in high school without cringing or experiencing metaphorical whiplash of some sort. There was so much drama and crap that happened then that could have easily been prevented. However, with the fact that I had vented about these times when they were recent occurrences, the fact that they’re inked in my journals makes them less so of distant memories and more of a standing testimony as to how I’ve changed since then.
But then I look at the memories- the good ones- that would have otherwise been lost forever had I simply let them disembody from my consciousness. Good memories such as the hard work I would put into everything I do, the excitement over being a part of something special, being recognized for something that I enjoy doing, and meeting people who will matter most to me in the long run. (Of course, these memories, for the most part, are the ones collected over the course of the past four years or so.) The fact that these moments in time and the authentic thoughts and opinions that came attached with them remain permanently in my journals for the rest of time.
As a writer, looking back on the journals I’ve filled up and the ones that have yet to be, I’m actually not surprised I developed this habit. For the most part, you write for an audience of some sort- such as this blog for instance. This is for other lovers of words and people who maybe have read my published works and want to hear more directly from me. But when it comes to journal writing, there’s thankfully only one audience member that I have to worry about satisfying: me. I can confide not only memories, but also thoughts and feelings that I may otherwise not feel comfortable sharing with another. After all, even a writer has to have their own secrets to keep… and this is naturally the best way of doing so.
Journal writing is something that I never plan to stop doing. This is something I intend to keep up for the rest of my life. People may come and go in my life, but the patient ears of the yet to be filled pages of a hand written journal is a comfort that remains with me.
“Paper is more patient than man.” -Anne Frank
A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes. Please leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 5 reviews so I’m already a quarter of a way to my goal).
Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.