Why journal and how?

11:49 AM

First of all, sorry for the lack of updates, I got busy offline and I've been trying to get back in the blogging groove. It got into conflicts with other creative projects of mine, among other things like visiting in-laws and a heat wave that has sapped the energy of pretty much everyone in Mumbai.

So, to get back to blogging, I decided to go with an easy topic (well at least for me) and will take you on a trip into the world of journaling.
After all, I am a veteran diarist and I have been keeping a journal of one kind or another my whole adult life, my whole teenage years and possibly some form of creative journaling in my childhood. If that doesn't make me a kind of authority on the matter, what will?

You probably all know by now that I have a life long love affair with notebooks. There are no such things as owning too many notebooks in my world. An habit I started very young, I got my first journal when I was 8 or 9 and I used to fill it with stickers, doodles and catalogue pictures. Looking back on that this was probably one of my earliest form of creative journaling.

As a hormone fuelled teenager I started to keep the "Dear diary" form of journal, except I never started any of my entries with the words "Dear Diary". My diaries were a raw, honest, at time brutal account of how I felt, and how my day in school went. It helped me process my teenage life and vent my frustration at a world that as a true teenager I claimed was not understanding me or was just plain too stupid to care about me. Fess up! We've all been down that road.
The diaries continued into adulthood, and I still do write into one at time, usually when I am struggling to process something and need it to be on paper in front of me to make peace with it, or realise that the problem appeared much bigger in my head than it looks once written down.

As I continued to grow up, or rather attempt to "adult" I diversified my journal portfolio. I currently keep a gratitude diary, a creative journal, a year book, and occasionally a log of a specific period, like the Summer of 2016 journal I kept last year along with Ishita. And because I could not be entirely satisfied with a regular day planner, I took the plunge and am keeping a bullet journal to keep track of my days.

But why journal in the first place?

If you aren't into it this is a valid question indeed. Along with WHAT the heck a journal is. That one is an easy question to answer: a journal is an account of your life, and it can be anything you want it to be. 
The WHY is not that simple. Some people really just don't feel like it, other take to it like a fish takes to water. 
I personally think anyone should give it a try, and here are the reasons why: 

It's liberating

Remember when I told you I got into the whole "Dear Diary" type of journal as a teenager? I along with many diarist started more or less that way because teenage-hood   is a delicate passage in life, where you are no longer really a child but definitely not yet an adult. It's a difficult transition made even less easy with all the hormones and puberty. 
We've all been there, and I am sure that most of you can relate to having a few existential crisis your parents found rather stupid. 
The diary let you be you, because nobody is likely to read it but you, the only really question is: 

How honest are you willing to be with yourself? 

At first, you won't be, it's hard to go filterless, especially when you start journalling as an adult and have already been conditioned to edit yourself for the benefit of society. But give yourself time, and you'll soon discover the real power of journaling and it's therapeutic effect. 

It helps you grow

Once you took the liberating step to be true to yourself and express yourself honestly, you are likely to notice how much you grew, evolved and changed while journaling. Keep your old books and revisit them at time. You are likely to find yourself either rolling your eyes at your old self, or amazed at how far you've gone, possibly both at the same time. 

It provides a unique account of your life

The life of Cyn, by Cyn could be what my diaries are. And even if realistically I don't think all of my diaries will outlive me, some might. I lost quite a few of my old books, destroyed some I hated, but in the end, a piece of me and my life is kept on paper for people to read, or for me to remember fondly, or not so fondly as a grow old and hopefully not senile. 
It also teaches you that your life is amazing as it is, one day, one event, one step at a time. 

Ok, so how do I go about starting a journal now? 

This is where it gets awesome people! You can start anyway you want, on any medium, in any form. 
If the very old fashioned "Dear Diary" type is really not your cup of tea, don't force yourself to do it, there is more than one way to express yourself in a notebook:

Creative journaling

A creative journal is usually  mix of text, and art. It can be you writing in different colours, using stickers, or adding doodles to your entries. I usually do this type in my time frame specific logs like the Summer of 2016 Journal in the picture above. 
With creative journaling, the sky is the limit, you can add anything to it : gift tags, concert tickets, napkins to your favourite restaurant, pictures you took, funky stickers, try your hand at calligraphy. 

Photo journaling 

Not a fan of long lines of text? Are you more of the type who think a picture can speak a thousand words? Photo Journaling might be what you are looking for to express yourself. This is more or less the format I go by for our year book project. I let the pictures do most of the talking, and only provide some brief caption to help remember what the event was all about. 
This is a good way to get all your phone pictures to have a wonderful life on paper, if you don't know how to print said pictures, follow this guide

Art Journaling

More of  a doodler? You can tell your life in drawing, or keep a sketchbook with dates to track your artistic progress. It's usually similar to creative journaling, but with less text, if any at all. Some artists give themselves the challenge to produce one sketch a day when they art journal. 

Omni Journalling

This type of journal is usually combining a planner with art. And it is not uncommon to see many bullet journals go down that route with pretty doodles, stamped pages, and themes. I'll confess that my own bullet journal is turning into a creative journal as well, so technically it is becoming an omni-journal as it goes beyond just planning my days and appointments.

Great! So what do I need to start journalling? 

The first thing you will need is something to write on, and believe it or not, anything will do really. It can be a bunch of papers stapled together, a binder in which you add pages as you go, a cheap notebook, or a more pricy hardbound one. You could totally make your own travellers notebook and inserts too. Dare to experience with different mediums as you go, simply because it is fun to do so, and keeping a journal should be fun to begin with. 

Next, you'll need a pen, or pencils, or ink and quills, or a marker, or many pens...you get the idea! As long as you can write with it, it can be used. I favour coloured fine-liner pens over anything else, but that is just me. 

Last but certainly not least, you will need a great dose of courage to journal. To let yourself go and unleash yourself on paper can be really scary at first. 
But remember, nobody is going to read you if you don't want them to (unless they are your younger sister snooping in your room). What you produce in your journalling session is for your eyes only, this should help remove the fear of judgment if you have a tendency to worry about what other people will think of your work. With a journal, it's simply none of their business...NONE. 

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  1. Anonymous10:40 AM

    The creative journal seems to be an interesting idea with its mix of text an art. I like it. It could be fantastic for those who are usually not enthusiastic to write unless they have to, due to less than attractive handwriting. Few words, more art.


    1. Exactly! There is more than one way to express oneself, if long sentences and text is not appealing, and it really isn't a thing for everyone, there are many other ways to put your emotions, ideas, and log your life on paper.
      Some people just doodle away in a notebook to clear their mind, works too.


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