Tag Archives: #journaling

Continue the Story……

Last Wednesday, I spent the day in Glasgow shopping with my Girl Child. We did the usual mother/daughter things- coffee, shopping, lunch, more shopping. After so many long, restricted months, it was nice to just meander through the shops, masks on, doing something that felt “normal.”

One of our last stops of the day was Paperchase. I love that shop. As a writer ,what’s not to love – notebooks, journals, pens… oh I was in seventh heaven! I was also looking for a specific journal as a gift. As I searched for it, I spied this lonely book lying on the shelf.  It wasn’t what I was looking for, wasn’t what I was planning to buy but it spoke to me… no, more accurately, it screamed at me! I bought it. (Well, it was the only one left and it looked lonely…. and well it had pleaded with me…)

I’ll confess, creatively of late, I’ve struggled. Progress with Book Baby 7 has been painfully slow. For once, I actually have a clear idea of its storyline but putting pen to paper and stringing some sensible words together just hasn’t been happening. This isn’t writer’s block as such but more like burn out. The batteries were totally flat.

As I shared on here last week, I knew I needed a rest. And you know what? For once, I listened to myself.

I’m in the middle of my two-week 2021 Staycation. Week one has been hot and sunny (I love the sun!) and I’ve barely been indoors. After months of working in my living room, I can honestly say I’ve hardly set foot in it for 10 days. I’ve walked, I’ve run, I’ve practiced my yoga, I’ve listened to music, I’ve shopped, I’ve relaxed in the sun, and I’ve read and read and read (I’m on book 4 for this staycation). Apart from last week’s blog, I’ve not written a word.

Having bought the Continue the Story journal, it lay abandoned on my desk for three days before I picked it up and flicked through its pages. They whispered encouragingly…. I picked up a pencil, selected my prompt and tentatively tested the waters….

If you can’t read my handwritten scrawls, here’s the typed version of the short piece I wrote last night.

She’d waited a lifetime to see this view. Well, it felt like a lifetime- a hundred lifetimes! All those long cold months dreaming of this moment. Those endless dark depressing days where thoughts of this moment were the pot of gold at the end of her rainbow. The hours she had spent breathing stale clinical air, imagining it was clean salty ocean air.

As she’d sat on the plane the ay before, she’d fretted that she’d done the wrong thing. Was it too soon? What if the kids needed her? Would the cats be ok? Was four weeks too long to be away?

Despite her exhaustion, jet lag had kicked in. She’d been wide awake in the strange bed at 4am. With no one to answer to, no one to tip toe around for, she’d got up, showered and dressed, throwing on a vest tee, shorts then, as an afterthought, her Hard Rock Café hoodie. Slipping her bare feet into her flip flops, the key and her phone into her pocket, she left her rental apartment.

The pre-dawn air was still and cool. In a few short strides, she was across the worn planks of the boardwalk and heading down the nearest path. The sand felt icy cold on her feet as it flowed over her flip flops. Kicking them off, she padded down the beach towards the ocean.

Gentle waves lapped ashore. Sitting down on the soft sand out of reach of the waves, she hugged her knees and let out a long sigh as the sun started to rise above the horizon. Her pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The creative batteries aren’t quite fully re-charged yet but they’re getting there.

Dear Diary……

Oscar-Wilde-quote-about-self-love-from-The-Importance-of-Being-Earnest-1a465

Do you keep a diary? Do you journal? Is there a difference?

Yes. Yes. And yes.

 

Let’s wind the clock back…back to Christmas Day 1981. Amongst many other gifts (none of which I can remember now) I was given a 5-year diary. It was white with a picture of a Holly Hobbie style doll on front and had a gold lock. I said that I was going to start keeping a daily diary and immediately got one of those looks from my mother. One of those looks that said, “Here she goes again. She won’t last until the end of the first week in January.”

WRONG!

Several…ok many…5-year diaries later I still keep a daily diary in a 5-year diary. I also still have them all including that first wee white one that I began when I was 11 years old.

And like Oscar Wilde, I never travel without out it.

(Another tradition that started on Boxing Day 1981 is that I write out all the dates/days for the coming year on Boxing Day)

 

I also journal and, in my mind, apart from physically being to separate things, they serve two separate purposes.

My diary is a short summary of my day. No, I’m not sharing any live examples here.

My journal is an ad hoc rambling outpouring of thoughts and feelings and I’m certainly not sharing those here!

Both are things that I keep intensely private and always have done.

 

There are pros and cons to keeping both.

 

Year one in a 5-year diary is easy. You have a blank canvas in front of you. Subsequent years can get more difficult as you naturally re-read the entries above each day from previous years If it’s been a  tough time then that can stir up some dust bunnies of emotion; if it’s been a memorable day for all the right reason then it can stir up the fire flies of bright happy moments.

 

Journaling is a bit the same for me.

 

There are no hard and fast rules for doing either. After all, these are your personal thoughts and feelings.

Journaling in my case is more of an exercise in emotional release. I can write out all the things I feel I can’t or won’t say out load. I can vent about my frustrations with life without offending anyone. I can confide my innermost feelings without being judged or patronised.

I’ve filled journals where I’ve used the pages in a random order; I’ve had journals where I’ve started at the front and filled page after page until the notebook is full.

Unlike my diary, I seldom re-read them. I journal to get things out of my system.

Journaling can be an extremely emotional journey. It can be hard if you are admitting to a fear to see it written in black and white on the page in front of you. The very words, previously unspoken, suddenly become very real and are harder to ignore. However, journaling can be a powerful tool to help you process thoughts and to help you to deal with the some of the difficult emotions and situations we experience as humans.

A journal doesn’t criticise so in that aspect alone it can make an ideal confidante.

Bottling feelings up isn’t good for any of us so a diary or a journal can be the perfect conduit to releasing and processing those pent-up feelings. Journaling can be good for us both physically and mentally.

 

Before starting to write this blog post, I did some research into journaling, looking at the meanings, the benefits, the varying techniques you can use but I quickly abandoned that train of thought. I’m not for a second saying that there isn’t valid information out there to support journaling beginners. I’m just personally not in favour of such a structured approach e.g. bullet journaling. As I do with my creative writing, I prefer to go with the flow.

So, if like many of us, you’re maybe needing to approach life in 2020 a little differently, try journaling. You might surprise yourself.

5 year diary