don’t let me forget

(A journal entry, dated August 14, 2010. Edited for clarity, but as less as I possibly could. I recently bought another notebook from Target and decided tentatively to start journalling again.)

I figured I should restart a journal in order to supplement my blogging. I have a habit of buying notebooks faster than I can possibly use them, and they accumulate in my desk drawer.

It feels weird keeping a journal, ever since I was put off it a while back — I kept a journal for all the wrong reasons if that is possible (believe me, it is). After that, journalling hadn’t felt right and ironically I was more comfortable with typing down my thoughts into WordPress, going through massive edits, and putting forth something that I know will inspire and encourage people, than to sit down with a little notebook and a pen and scribbling thoughts as they came to me, no editing necessary.

Keeping a journal for myself and only myself seems somehow selfish. In some ways I am more at liberty to ignore grammar rules and correct spelling and just let loose. Even now as I write I am so very conscious of what I’m saying — how people would react. Is it articulate? Is it understandable? Can people identify with it and bring something out of it and be touched by it?

At the same time, there is more room for heartfeltness and a rather brutal honesty that could be missing from blog entries, which I always worry is missing from what I write. I have permission to be freer if I so choose.

But even for my own journal which no one will read, I don’t feel like writing down personal stuff. Things like my love life, for instance. Even though I could. I’m afraid that my own idle speculation could feed my overactive imagination and ruin me… I don’t want that to happen. Or even bashing people I don’t like. I feel as if that could become dangerous. Over some point it steps over the venting line into something like bitterness and that’s what I’m afraid of. Complaining is one thing and bashing is another and there is quite the fine wall between the two. I used to use my journal for both reasons, and it didn’t make things any better, it made me feel worse.

So why do I want to journal?

In the end, I want to journal to help myself. To help me produce better writing: better ideas, better presentation, better clarity.

And in turn to help my words not just be words that speak of things that have happened, are happening, or will happen; but words that speak of living, breathing, moving, and what it really means to be human and alive.

(I originally wanted to post it unedited, but in the end decided not to for obvious reasons, like clarity and organization. Edits are always a good idea! I also realized that I had used “at the same time” to begin two paragraphs in a row, and I couldn’t let that get by. It rambled a lot more than I liked it to, as well.)

I have also realized that I have been lax in visiting blogs and even posting stuff on my own, and I apologize for that. School starts in a few days, and there is so much to do to get ready. Thank you for your lovely comments, everyone!

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.


45 thoughts on “don’t let me forget

  1. Lovely post. I write things down too…just to clear my mind. 🙂

    Good luck with school. I start next week. I’m excited but nervous though.

  2. Yeah, I think that one of the best parts of journaling is that you can go back and see how you were really feeling in the past. I just ran across some old journals and thought about throwing them out but then I didn’t, for this exact reason! XX!

  3. I applaud you for getting back into journaling! Being able to express one’s thoughts so freely is just precious. And whatever you do, don’t throw your journal away or hide it when you cringe reading your old entries. I totally regret that!

  4. I find writitng stuff down helps me so much…I would love to write a journal ….Great post,my dear
    ps: I am hosting a lovely GIVEAWAY, so please join in:) …I bet you will love it!!!

  5. Hey 🙂

    Journals are; a release, relaxing but a the same time – the enemy. For whatever reason, whenever I kept a journal MY SECRETS always got out and people got hurt….BOOOOO, I felt it was MY opinion……..therefore I just eventually threw it out. I miss those days. Make sure you write wonderful thoughts for me too 🙂

  6. Doing it for yourself and to help yourself is the best reason. I have trouble capturing and expressing those words too and though I blog about pretty and whimsical things, the simple act definitely helps me form those thoughts a bit better!

  7. Hmmmm, it seems we journal for a lot of the same reasons – and different ones. 🙂 I like the lack of rules when it comes to my own journal; no grammar, no spelling, no font size. Just whatever I’m feeling.

    But it’s also a place where I’m completely honest – with myself, with God. The main reason for this is that I HAVE to get certain thoughts out of my head, where they’re spinning, and onto paper so that I won’t think about them anymore. Once I write them down, I find that they don’t bother me nearly as much. It’s almost like they’re ‘gone’.

    Oh, and I’m a notebook addict, too! Bother back-to-school sales!!

  8. This is strange, I always can relate to what you write here. I have the tendency to do the same, I can’t write casually even when I am sending text messages I am always careful to spell right and things like that. People always say I am too obsessed with it and I should loosen up. About the diary, I used to have one and the same thing happened to me. I couldn’t write something too personal even if I was only one reading it. I always feel like maybe someday someone will find what I wrote and I just want to be sure everything is in order. The same thing on my blog or other places I write.
    I somehow agree about the bashing part, although I sometimes believe is better to release stress this way without hurting someone’s feelings. If you write it down, it shouldn’t bother anyone but then again, it will affect your mood and will make you remember every time you open the notebook about your feelings towards that person. In the end, I think that everything you say or write should be something you are proud of and you don’t feel the need to hide it. If a diary makes you feel insecure, you shouldn’t use it.

  9. Darling Abby , I’ve been trying how to follow you and work out how to do it. I only ever keep a journal when I’m travelling, I suppose it’s because it’s such a happy time for me and my days are filled with taking in interesting sights and trying new things.
    Gorgeous words and images. xxx

  10. I had a journal since I was eight. I have boxws ful of my journals, I write every day more than once. I write for therapy, to clear my mind, but most of all to calm myself.
    I always write what’s in my mind with no filter. I allow myself to be everything i want or need to be at the moment, and i dream a lot. A lot. It’s my most private space.

  11. Hey Abby, I always keep a written journal. It feels more real than on-line everything. I don’t know if that sounds weird these days, but I like it (smile). It’s a good way to get one’s feelings and ideas organized. Plus, there is something cathartic about writing on paper-for me at least.
    Hope you’re having a nice day, Abby. I’m going to soak my feet and relax in a minute and just think;)

  12. I don’t have the self-discipline or inclination to keep a journal but I wish I did so that when the computers are all gone, future alien archaeologists might know something about me… 😛

  13. Lovely post. I’ve never been able to keep up with a journal. Actually my blogging sucks a bit too haha. But I’m sure I will start one someday, for the same reason you just wrote about =)

  14. I used to journal faithfully, but life got busy and then I left journaling behind. I guess that’s my excuse for a lot of things. I’ve been trying to make more time for reading and writing and things of that nature.

  15. It’s tough to keep a journal! I really feel it’s worth it in the end. It’s so therapeutic to write down all of your thoughts without worrying how other people will perceive you. I love reading old journal entries of mine and I wish I would have kept more.

  16. Journaling is a wonderful tool, I find. It is a safe place to collect one’s thoughts. I also think of a journal as sort of documenting history. Some day, when I am long gone, someone will be able to sift through the thoughts that I’ve left behind.

  17. I kept a journal…until my mom found it and read it. And wasn’t embarrassed or anything! So journal-writing was a bit ruined for me 😦
    But logically, I think its a great idea. Good way to get out your feelings and to ‘practice’ writing, so to speak.

  18. I kept a journal too..since when I was 9 till about a couple of years ago. And then for some reason it stopped.
    But I love the process of writing words on paper, which is why I handwrite my books, before putting up an edited version on the computer.

  19. I’ve this itching to journal again. Always curious to see what I would find of me then. I did it without fail early on in my marriage but haven’t wanted to read my entries. But if feels good knowing it’s there.

  20. i can relate to journals being used for the wrong reasons, i threw 3 of mine away for this! it’d be an interesting read if you were to post your entries on here, all my entries seem to end up about my love life or lack of one :p aha x

  21. Lovely post! I love writing things down in my own personal notebook just so I am able to organize my thoughts – sometimes they just get so jumbled up in my mind.


  22. Beautiful entry. I always try to keep a journal, but in the end I wind up neglecting it for months on end and before I know it, I’d have to write a novel to try and recount everything I want to include. I’ve simply decided that the important memories will stay with me and the unimportant ones won’t. Also, I find that creatively writing allows for a lot of my personal thoughts to come across on paper in subtle ways.

    Good luck with school starting!!

  23. I was alwys affraid to write down certain things in my journal as well. And now that I think about it, I wasn´t really using my journal the right way either. I wasn´t feeling any different once I had wrote something down, so it really wasn´t doing anything for me. I would also feel bad if I didn´t write something in it; so it was kind of an obligation, which is something a journal shouldn´t be.

  24. I don’t have a journal anymore that I keep. I used to keep 2. One for good thing. One for bad things. Well, it was mainly thought about my cat that they had to put to sleep. Now, I don’t write by hand like I used. Use to..before bed I would write. I loved writing in bed. Now I just use my laptop in bed.

    Thats great that you are journaling. I kind of miss those days when you’d walk into the class room and there would be a question on the blackboard and you were to sit down and start writing.

    We are the ones in the end who have to make the rules so we’ll keep striving.

  25. My life is full of partially full journals. I always decide to do it, but then never stick with it. Is it terrible that handwriting doesn’t even feel natural to me anymore? So, my hard drive is also filled with partial journals. Welp, maybe I should start back up!! ack..

  26. You know, I started blogging because I don’t write nearly as often as I used to and blogging felt like a way to express myself. Now as it relates to being lax – I can completely relate. I’m so behind on everything…I’m not even going back to school but September seems to present a whole lot of busy-ness.

  27. I keep a journal too, Abby! I love writing so keeping a journal has always been a ‘must’ for me. : ) I can’t wait to see some! I always am encouraged whenever I read your posts!

  28. Totally understand about buying too many journals too fast. They are just all so cuteeee. Gosh.

    But, yes, I am just trying to get back into journaling too. I don’t realize how much it helps me until I’m done. Plus, my favorite thing is looking back and seeing how far I’ve come. Awesome!

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