09 January 2012

The importance of a journal to a writer

I've written about journals before. I've written about personal journals and writing journals, why (and how) I journal, and how it's therapeutic. Journaling is not a new topic in the writing world. But I wanted to take a moment to talk about journaling from a writer's perspective targeting non-writers. Because it is something that can be difficult for non-writers to understand.

I recently had someone close to me read my journal. This person, who I'll call D, is someone I always trusted, and D says the journal fell open, and D read it because of something that caught D's eye. Regardless of whether or not I believe that, the fact remains that D read my personal journal. For me, this was the biggest violation of trust that could ever happen.

My journal is a place that I can write anything I want. I talk about what's going on in my life, vent, seek clarity, write prayers, brainstorm, and just ramble. In my journal, I'm not a reliable narrator. But, as a writer, I need this place. It's sort of like a pinboard, but with words. It doesn't make sense to anyone else except me.

Every writer needs something like this. For me, it's a journal. Other writers use pinboards, notecards, whatever else that works for them. But to have that place to write, brainstorm, scribble nonsense is integral to my writing life (and my life in general). I can't even think of an accurate comparison of my journal to something else in someone else's life. It's just my journal.

Even if I made everything else in my life public, no one else would see my journal. In fact, I plan to write in my will that any journals found in my home when I die should be burned, unread. No one else can really understand the writings in them. It's all scattered thoughts, fragmented brainstorming, and the ramblings of a crazy writer jittery on coffee. And one of the most important things in my life.

Do you journal?

1 comment:

  1. I can totally relate to your feelings towards the person who read your journal. He or she had no right to read it; just because it fell open doesn't mean D had to read it. All D had to do was close the journal without reading it. Someone read my journal once, and held what I wrote against me. But that was unfair because like you, I never meant for anyone to read what I wrote in my journal. The whole point of it being private is that it allows you to write without censoring yourself.


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