This year I am challenging myself to keep a paper diary that is not just a collection of frustrations, complaints, and private anxiety.
As a person who usually only writes in a journal in times of great frustration, complaint, and private anxiety, this is quite a challenge. Especially because I am not necessarily in the interest of denying my own fears and anxieties and troubles – I just think that sometimes, journalling about these topics is just another way to get myself worked up, to ramp up my negative emotions.
Also, if my ancestors find these journals, they would read like the rantings of a mad woman, and although I am full of fear and anxiety and troubles, I am not mad.
I am trying to learn a new way, mostly by showing up and writing a few things every day. I don’t feel a need to give a chunk of my day to “the morning page” right now, so a sentence, a paragraph, a few lines – it’s all good. Basically, I would like this paper journal to be a place where I can stay in touch with my inner voice, but the compassionate, reasonable part of my inner voice. Surely that side of me has something to say, too.
I try not to think about writing neatly. My fears and anxieties definitely speak in tiny, uniform letters written in just-the-right-pen.
So far, I end up writing about my day’s comings and goings, my thoughts about the future, books I am reading, resolutions I’d like to make, inspiring bits of text that I’ve collected, thoughts about stories, and yes, one time an argument that I had with that same dear boy I was going on about yesterday.
It’s been an interesting exercise, to do something that you’ve done your whole life but now do it differently.
Also to note, I probably wouldn’t be doing this if I hadn’t found the perfect notebook: a 8×12 cloth-bound Clairefontaine – casual enough for comfort but sturdy enough to differentiate it from your many other notebooks, lovely large pages that are thick and buttery-smooth, and cheaper than a Moleskine. I got mine at Trident.