As far back as I can remember I have kept a journal or a diary of some sort. In the years before blogging, I would faithfully recap the mundane events of my uneventful life, my hopes, my fears, and maybe a little wishful thinking.
Because my personal journals were never intended for public consumption, I felt free to write whatever I felt without censoring myself. Even though, in my case, there’s really not much to censor. (I have never been comfortable with the use of profanity, even in the confines of my personal pages, but that’s not important right now.)
But now, I blog. And I write about my extraordinarily ordinary life for all the world to see.
I’m so glad I started doing this. And I make no apologies for the stories I tell and the way I share things. I’m just happy that other people can relate to me and like reading my stuff.
I do have a confession to make, though. I don’t tell you everything. I know. Shocking, isn’t it?
Let me explain.
I feel like I’ve got a lot to share. I want to document my life and my stories, but I don’t like to whine, or complain, or rant, because, well….I don’t like to whine, or complain, or rant in my real life.
Of course, there’s a time and place for rants and complaints. I just don’t happen to believe it’s on this most public of forums. That’s what best friends are for. And although I genuinely love my blog, I can conclusively say it’s not my BFF.
So, I’ve come up with a solution that has served me well these past years. Not just in writing blog posts, but in my real life.
I keep two journals.
First thing in the morning, as I have my first cafécito I pull out a spiral bound notebook and I write.
Unedited, free-form, with no punctuation or rules of grammar. I date it at the top and just write. This is where my rants and whining find a place of expression. I write three pages in longhand and don’t stop writing until those three pages are done. I write without censorship or judgment. Like Nike encourages, I just do it.
The concept of these “morning pages” are from the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. And it helps to get the mental clutter out first thing in the morning so I can get on with the rest of my day.
In the second, nicer edition of my journal duo, I write at the end of my day, and list all of the things that I’m grateful for. (There are definitely days I can only muster up gratitude for my coffee-maker and my pillow, but that’s not important right now, either.)
The idea of the Gratitude Journal is from a book I read years ago called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnac. (She gets a little too spacey and new-agey for my personal tastes, but the concept of the Gratitude Journal is genius.)
Writing my journals in this kind of tandem have helped, not just my writing, but my attitude. I tend to look for things to be grateful as I go through my days. Writing the three morning pages helps me to de-clutter, not just my brain, but my emotions.
What I’ve found as I have maintained this writing discipline in my life is that I don’t complain as much or as often. I’ve found I’m much more grateful for the simplest things. I’ve found that I tend to look for good and positives.
But most of all, I’ve found that the more I express gratitude, the more I seem to have to be grateful for. Hmm….I wonder which came first?
So, tell me, do you journal?
(cross-posted at MBFCF)