What do you journal in and with?
What kind of writing surface? A day by day small diary? Loose paper sheets? Online? On your own computer? Student notebooks?
What kind of writing implement? Typing? Pens? Pencils? What color?
Where do you work? A favourite chair? A coffee shop? At your desk?
These choices change, but where ever and with whatever, it is really important that you absolutely love the places, things and feelings that you get when journaling. If you hate the book that you’re using you won’t want to use it. Get a different one. I suggest perusing the isles of your local stationary shops. Find one that feels right to you. Touch them, pick them up, flip through them. My current one is a beautiful volume that I found at Wal-Mart (someplace I don’t like and don’t normally go) for only $2. If you find the pen that you use uncomfortable you won’t want to use it. My favourite seems to be gel pens lately, and only in black ink. Everyone’s choices are personal and important. You want to make this as easy as possible for yourself.
Places are just as important. I find I really enjoy sitting by myself in a coffee shop and writing. There are several around that don’t mind someone hanging out and doing this. Do you need to curl up in an armchair by the window with a cup of hot chocolate when you’re journaling? Then do it. Give yourself this time. Speaking of time… When is your best time to do this? Again, everyone is different. Maybe a half-hour before everyone else gets up in the morning. Maybe the middle of the afternoon. If you don’t know then try different times out. For two or three days get up that half hour early, then try out different times for 2 or 3 days each. See which suits you best. How often is also a very personal decision. I seem to go through stints of writing ALL the time, and then not at all for a couple weeks but I seem to average 2 or 3 times a week. It’s an individual thing.
Another concern is privacy. Both my children also journal so it’s basically a rule that you don’t look at mine and I don’t look at yours, unless you want to show me something. However, that does not mean leaving my journal lying around on the coffee table, which is basically an open invitation. I always carry my journal around with me in my purse. That way it’s out of the way and any time I get an urge to scribble it’s right there. Maybe you want to keep yours in your bedside table. Maybe even under you mattress if you need more safety. Do what you need to do.
Finally, what will you do with your books when they’re full? I want to keep mine around so that I can look back and see how things have changed. But I don’t ever want anyone to be hurt when they read these at some point. So I have an agreement with my best friend that my old journals are in a box, tied up, and labeled with her name. That’s the best I can do, short of burning them, to ensure that no one gets hold of them when I’m gone and is hurt by them. I’ve told her that she welcome to do what she pleases with them. Read them, burn them, save them for my grandkids when they are grown.
So your job this week is to make sure that you are as comfortable as you can get with the physical process of journaling. Have fun and explore. You may be surprised what you find out.
©Tracey, CSM 2002