In the winter of 1990, I began keeping a journal. It was a time in my life when I was lonely and had time on my hands. I was divorced and living alone. My daughter had just gone off to study in Spain for a semester. I was recovering from a year long relationship with a man I met after my divorce. I needed to work my way through the things that had happened to me, to figure out who I was and where I was going for the next stage of my life. I bought a notebook and started to write.
I had always played around with writing, even sending a few pieces off for publication, but I was easily discouraged and didn’t pursue it. But this time I stuck with the journaling, and it became as much a part of my daily routine as brushing my teeth.
My journaling has evolved over the years and had its ups and downs as I have. Sometimes I simply jot down something significant that happened that day. When I am traveling, I try to write as much as possible of the sights and experiences of my trip.When I am upset or trying to work through a problem, I may go on for pages, and I always feel better at the end.
I also use my journal for writing exercises. Currently I am working my way through Julia Cameron’s book The Right to Write. I read a chapter and then do the exercise at the end in my journal.
I usually write in the morning. It helps me organize and focus my mind for the day’s work, writing and otherwise. I miss a day once in a while, but I always come back to my journal.
I plan to write more posts on journaling, and go back and review some of my old entries from years back. It will be enlightening to see how I have changed, and perhaps be helpful to other journal writers.