I’ve kept a journal since July. I’ve filled various (countless) notebooks and journals throughout my life and I’ve pitched just about everyone of them (at least I hope I have!). I plan to hold on to this one though, if for no other reason than to embarrass myself later.
Of all those notebooks and journals this is the first one that I’ve really let have it. I’ve given this notebook plenty of depressing and dour thoughts. Most of the notebooks I kept in my youth were devoted to working out personal philosophies, defining questions about who I was and where I stood. So far this one reflects a more developed sense of self (selves) with a focus on the gloomy. Page after page is filled with the shadows I don’t dump on friends, enemies, family, or luckless strangers.
You might’ve noticed from the photo that the journal is a spiral bound notebook, the kind you can find for cheap just about anywhere paper is sold. I’ve looked at products designed specifically as journals, I’ve tried different types of notebooks, legal pads, composition books, etc. But I always end up coming back to this basic design, the one I grew up with incidentally and perhaps not coincidentally. I like lined paper (my handwriting is tiny and I prefer college rule, but I’ll take a wider gauge if that’s what’s available) and I like to be able to turn the completed page over and around back, which the wire spiral allows me to do easily.
I’ve seen claims that keeping a journal (I’m still a bit uncomfortable with the term “journaling.” Is that something I should just get past?) is therapeutic, holding all manner of benefits. I don’t know how far all of that goes. I do know that keeping a journal has prompted me to write more if not better, and not just as a “diarist” but in other areas and directions as well.
So how about you? Do you keep some kind of journal or a whole bunch of them? What’s your take on it? Do you write on the web, in word documents, on paper or bathroom walls? What’s your process like and what benefits have you seen?