On the other hand, a journal opens up so many possibilities. I like pages free from printed text so I can add my own timeline with thoughts, ideas, what I’ve done, what I hope to do. Perhaps I’ll jot down a line from a song on the radio or a snippet of an overheard conversation. In short, I like the freedom to express myself in a personal way in words that are not edited or crafted (I cringe at the thought of anyone else reading my hurried scrawl).
And is the style of journal I use important? Hell, yeah! The notebook needs to be half A5 size so it can fit easily into my handbag and the paper needs to feel right. What is ‘right’? I don’t know. It’s the same with the cover, though. It must be a notebook that feeds my senses as it will become a part of me until all the pages are filled. And sometimes I like to write with a fountain pen, at other times a biro will do fine. The whole point of my journal is that it is unstructured and writing in it should indulge my emotional state.
I recently entered a travel writing competition and first I looked to the Internet for pertinent facts. But it was my journal that held the real treasure, the little nuggets of information that can’t be found in a reference source. My journal contained my feelings about the place and the sounds and smells. I had descriptions of people, local events and my thoughts on their way of life. It wasn’t written in a literary way or with any structure (except the date at the top of each entry) but was a mass of narratives containing spelling mistakes and missed words as I’d hurried to get it all down. How often are we allowed to write like that?
Do I think I’ll win the competition? Probably not. But what a wonderful time I had revisiting that journal.
Do you use a diary, journal or any other method for recording your thoughts? I’d love to hear.