Journal Writing

Journal Writing

I’ve taken up journal writing again, and in no way do I mean this blog; this blog is so far from being true journal writing, with its potential for being read by all sorts of characters imaginable, that I would never consider this my journal. I used to, back before I ever turned the comments on and long before I ever gained an audience, in the days no one saw my words except for me and a couple of curious strangers. Times have changed, however. This blog has become some weird sort of self-publishing kind of thing, and writing for it is no longer just a means of self-expression; it’s a way to share my thoughts, my work, and to expose myself to the world.

And sometimes I just want to keep to myself.

I started writing in a diary when I was 11 or 12 years old. I’d take time out in the evening to write about what I did that day and what I thought about it. It was my secret keeper, my confidante, a place where I could unload my feelings and frustrations, my deeds and dreams, and still feel safe and secure in the knowledge that I kept my vulnerabilities generally unknown.

Sometimes you just need that outlet. Sometimes you just want to scream at someone without ruining your relationship with them. Sometimes you just want to whine about something without the repercussion of having someone think the less of you for it. Sometimes you just want to call someone a douche bag for all posterity and not have them realize your low opinion of them.

But for me, mostly, it’s a way to get whatever negativity I’m feeling purged without it hurting anyone — like swearing underneath your breath after hitting yourself with a hammer.

So I took it up again and found myself sorely out of practice. In my 10-15 years of heavy computer use, I seem to have forgotten how to write. I used to have pretty good handwriting, casual, loose, and free-flowing, but relatively neat. Today it’s a mess. A total mess. I don’t know how anyone but me can read it, which I suppose isn’t such a bad thing if my journal ever ends up in someone else’s hands, under the scrutiny of someone else’s eyes.

I’ve also forgotten how god-awful slow it is to write by hand. I’ve had ten other thoughts by the time I finish writing the first one, and if I’m not careful I conflate the whole lot of them that the one sentence I’ve written hardly makes any sense. And if I write for any length of time, my hand starts cramping, and the callus on my right middle finger, which had finally started to fade after years of not writing, hardens and grows anew. I’ve even managed to get ink all over myself, yet another thing about which I’ve completely forgotten. There’s no ink involved when you type on a computer keyboard all day.

But it’s kind of neat getting back to analog writing. I now have a use for all those pens I’ve accumulated over the years, collected gifts and promotional freebies that I ended up storing in various pencil boxes because I didn’t really need them for everyday use, not even for checks any more because I’ve started paying my bills electronically, less even for letters now that everyone I know has e-mail.

The biggest drawbacks are the need for paper and the lack of Undo. I have just started cutting down on consumption and waste that the idea of using a blank bound pile of paper for something as simple as a journal seems criminal, especially given how many journals I have from years of writing. And the lack of undo makes this investment of paper seem haphazard when I see my thoughts roughly drawn, crossed out, or grievously misspelled.

Still, it’s rejuvenating and relaxing, this journal writing. I’m not writing anything significant or world-shattering, just mundane little things that matter only to me. It’s not meant for any audience so there’s no pressure to perform. I write, and that’s all there is to it.

I didn’t know I missed it until I took it up again.

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3 thoughts on “Journal Writing

  1. G, it’s always good to do something else with your hands. Prevents you from having carpal tunnel. Handwriting is very personal. Your nice handwriting will caome back in no time.

  2. Don’t write everything in your ‘journal’, save something for your blog!! Hope you are doing well. What did you do for the Labor Day weekend?

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