“I write journals and would recommend journal writing to anyone who wishes to pursue a writing career. You learn a lot. You also remember a lot… and memory is important.”
Kaspa writes: This morning it is cold and grey. Earlier, the cat puked over the edge of my journal.
After I wiped the edge clean I opened the pages and looked back through time.
The journal is a red moleskin given to me by a small stone writer. Flicking though I didn’t see many small stones though, it is mostly filled with longer pieces of writing.
The first few pages are notes about mindful writing, some of which became blog posts and newsletters. There are pages filled with responses to journalling prompts, and there are thoughts that seem to come from nowhere at all.
Spread across two pages is a timeline: a map of my own life. Drawing a timeline is a common enough exercise and each time I draw one I learn something new. How we see the past is affected by how we are right now. When I look back at different timelines I have drawn, they tell me as much about the person I was in the moment of drawing, as they do about the past I was reflecting upon in that exercise.
When I looked at the timeline in this journal I could see that I was thinking about what it means to be ‘grown-up’. What do I mean by grown-up? Taking some responsibility for my own path, I think, and finding a way of being comfortable and confident in my own skin. When I looked at the timeline drawing I could see that being comfortable in my own skin is deeply connected to being comfortable with my purpose, and with what I am doing.
It looked like I had been thinking about the moments in my life that had led me to Writing Our Way Home. I guess I was also thinking about the future – what is it that hasn’t happened yet that these moments are pointing towards?
Having looked back through this book I am reminded of the power of journalling. Reminded of how much I appreciate having a neutral space to write and reflect in, without worrying what anyone else will think of what I have written. Reminded of the value of having a space to think outside my normal patterns of thinking, and to look deeply into myself.
Part of the power of structured journalling (like responding to prompts) is that it can make conscious thoughts and feelings which are moving through me, and affecting me, but that are currently outside my awareness. I get to know myself better.
I’m now looking at the next, blank, page in this journal, and at the pen on the desk, next to me. Part of me is always a little nervous before writing – what might I discover about myself? Whatever it is, I have always been grateful to learn it.
I’ll sign off this post now so that I can fill up the next few pages with something new….
If you’d like to start a journalling practice, or to bring some structure to an existing habit, join me from Friday for my Journalling Our Way Home e-course. We’ll start with a time-line inspired exercise, and move on to writing about significant objects, places, and relationships and then (as Rilke said) ‘writing the questions’. Register here: Journalling Our Way Home.
There are also still a couple of places left on Fiona’s Writing Towards Healing course.