Saturday, June 18, 2016

My Journaling Journey

When I was a young girl I kept a journal, usually in thin sheet exercise books I bought in a store on my way home from school. I wrote in it every day, hidden under the covers of my bed with my trusty flashlight. My journal was my home. In it, I shared my innermost secrets, my fears, my doubts, my crushes, my broken heart, my love for a singer in a certain band. I wrote my poetry and tentatively dove into writing short stories.

As an adult I kept up with my journaling habits on and off, sometimes not journaling for months, then furtively filling one notebook in one week.

When computers entered my life, I started to keep an electronic journal, and when blogs were born, I started to keep a blog too. I missed pen to paper, though, so when Moleskines started to get popular, I jumped on the bandwagon. I jotted down my poetry and random ideas in various sizes of notebooks, always keeping one with me, just in case.

And then, about two years ago, I discovered Midori Travelers notebooks. It was through a random post on Instagram, I believe. I joined a Facebook group devoted to them, ordered my own Midori, and I started to journal in earnest.

I kept my lesson from my teenage journals in mind: I didn’t want to focus on negativity. This was the reason I destroyed my early journals when I was in my twenties. I just couldn’t stand reading all the angst. I tore out my poetry and stories and destroyed the journals.

Now I needed my journal for a completely different reason. I knew I needed to free up my creativity. I knew I needed to play.

The first booklets in my Midori I filled with mostly writing. Then art started to slip in. I discovered great inspiration in books about creative journal keeping by people like Danny Gregory, Hannah Hinchman and Dan Price. Soon I started to doodle.

I kept art pens with me along with my fountain pens, and as my pages filled, my creativity expanded.

I started to create my art in different ways, I began to play with watercolor and with pastels, and I explored doodling buildings, and then coloring them with my watercolors.

I started to call myself an artist with conviction now.

I wrote in my journal almost every day, I explored each new pathway that opened up with vigor, I added bright and wonderful colors with washi tape and I doodled silly lettering.

Journaling became play. Play became my life.

I filled my journal pages with endless poetry, sometimes writing so fast and furtively that my handwriting was barely legible. I pasted in pictures torn from magazines and ticket stubs from movies.

I expanded my horizons.

I know that every day I start with journaling is a good day, a day of adventure and play and art and creativity and so much joy.

This is a habit that I can see myself clinging to for the rest of my life.

Because it heals.
Because it helps me create.
Because it is pure play.
Because it is my life.

And you, you should go to the bookstore and pick out a journal there, with paper that feels soft and thick enough to take anything you throw at it.

Pick a pen that makes you happy to write with, and pour your happiness, playfulness, and creativity onto the pages of your journal.

Don’t worry if you make mistakes. It’s your journal, it is meant to contain everything that makes you grow, and as it so happens, mistakes help you grow just as much as successes do. Just turn the page and start anew, each time you play in your journal.

Decorate your pages with your beauty, your love, your life and know that each time you write, doodle, play, create, share your thoughts, you change yourself. You become more yourself. You discover more and more about who you really are. And your creativity has a blast. What more could you ask for?

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This work by Sylvia van Bruggen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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