Journaling A Past Time, A Legacy, A way to stay Sane!

journalsJournals, blank books, are one of my favorite things to get as a gift, to buy at the store, and to give to a fellow journal writer.

They have so many different journals to choose from now.  There are leather bound journals, silk bound journals, painted journals, journals with flowers, dragons, landscapes, designs, and just about anything you can think of.

There are big journals, small journals. pocket sized journals, journals with lines and without.  There are journals with questions to help you think of what to write, to write down your memories, or dreams.  I love journals.

This year has been really hard.  I have felt quiet lost at times, missing my parents so much it hurt.  I fell into a deep depression for a time.  It took awhile and a lot of effort to get back up out of the darkness that was threatening to swallow me up.  My journals helped to save me.  I could write whatever I wanted and not worry I would offend or upset anyone.

For the first year after my parents died I kept a journal where I wrote letters to my mom everyday, sometimes several times a day.  I had been so close to her, I was used to talking to her everyday, and it was a way for me to keep talking to her, to gradually accept that she was gone, but would never be forgotten.

I shared many things in my journal written to her.  I told her a lot of the things I wish I had had the time to tell her when she was here.  I apologized for some stupid mistakes.  I shared some new experiences with her.  Then as the year drew to a close and my journal was almost full, I realized it was time to let go.  I was okay with that.  My journal had allowed me to hold her close for awhile longer as I grieved.

There’s not a day when I don’t still miss my parents and wish I could talk to them, but I’m better prepared to face a future now, and I know that they are somehow watching over me.

If you’ve never tried writing in a journal then I encourage you to give it a try.  Keep it safe, keep it private.  Unless, you are journaling with a friend or spouse where you each take a turn writing a page. Free your mind – learn to journal, try it, you might like it.

Cherry Coley (c)

Side note*  there is an App for smartphones called “Momento”  it is a daily journal.  You can even set a reminder and it will ask you – “how was your day?”  It’s a great way to start keeping track of your memories and the moments in your life.

To Write or Not To Write?

I have spent part of tonight writing letters.  Yes, letters – those things we used to write a lot of long ago, put a stamp on and send off in the mail.  Why?  Well call me a bit old-fashioned, worn out or whatever, but I enjoy receiving something other than bills and junk mail.  I LIKE writing letters; they are just a bit more personal, they take a little more effort than an instant message, a text message, an email or posting on Facebook.  Yes, it takes longer to get there, but it’s still nice! 

I even miss the letters written in handwriting.  I still have cards my grandma sent me when I was a child and we wrote to each other.  I confess I don’t usually write in handwriting, for a few reasons, but mostly because hand writing any length of time makes my wrist hurt.  So I will normally type the letter and then sign it – unless it is a card, then I will write on the card. 

Think about how much have we lost in letting that personal, physical touch fall by the wayside.   Even the kids now days resort to text messages – I bet some of them have NEVER written a note in class!!  Sacrilege!  (I apologize to all the teachers out there.) 

What about all the handwriting analysis people and theories?  If you don’t handwrite much and the person is somewhat out of practice, or has trouble writing by hand – does the analysis still hold true?

So, I am going to start writing more letters this year, just because I want too.   I miss getting cards in the mail, but confess that I haven’t sent any in a while, so what better way to start than to get re-acquainted with the notion of sending a smile by post office?  Strange notion, huh?  How funny to pause and think that some people will actually say, “that’s silly,” or “it will never catch on.”  Maybe not, but I will try anyway.  

 Cherry Coley ©

Journals and Creativity

Photo by Free Books

I used to want a diary so bad when I was growing up, the kind with a little lock and a key.  My mom finally bought me one, but it proved to be a mistake.  She would sneak in and read it when she felt like it and then would start asking me questions about the stuff I had written.  It really bothered me as well as hurt me.  A journal or diary is a personal thing, a place to put down things that you want to remember.  I stopped keeping a diary and destroyed the one I had.

 Over the years I have on occasion, usually at challenging times in my life, kept journals.  Then about two and a half years ago I began journaling daily.  These journals are not diary’s though occasionally they may seem that way, they are instead a written down thought process.  I write down problems, events, dreams, wishes, drawings of things that pop into my head, and other stuff that I am working on in my personal growth areas. 

 I have come to respect and love journaling as it gives me an outlet, a place to brain dump and work through things before going out and trying to present whatever it is to the world.  There is another notebook I keep for “page writing.”  We writers and artists can get blocked at times.  Creativity just seems to go out the window and when you sit down to write, the blank page just stares back at you almost menacingly.

 In order to combat creativity block the easiest thing to do is get up, first thing in the morning and handwrite 3-5 notebook sized pages.  You just write anything and everything that pops into your head no matter what it is, just dump it out on the page.  Don’t worry about grammar, or complete sentences, and especially if someone should ever read it.  It’s also important that you never go back and read it either.  Those pages are simply to clear the cobwebs out of your head and free you to be creative again and they really work.  Sometimes you have to do this daily, sometimes it only takes one or two days for the creative thoughts to start flowing again, but either way, it’s a great exercise and will unblock the blocked every single time.  The best thing to do with the pages when you’re done is destroy them.  When you write anything and everything in your head often what comes out is griping, complaining, worrying, about other people you love and are close too.  You don’t want to leave something like that where it would ever be found, so best to destroy it.  Plus, you don’t need to reread it at any time, because it’s a method of bleeding the poison that was blocking you out of your system.  So just get rid of it and get busy doing your creative thing again.  You will be so glad you did!

 Cherry Coley ©