I have no recollection of who gave me my first journal or sketchbook but I have distinct memories of writing in it. I look back through them (there are many) sometimes and I filled the pages with drawings and writing. Not bad for a kindergartner. Ever since then journaling has been integral to my growth and development. Being a young person, I wasn’t always consistent with my writing, but I did always return to it.
The final reinforcement to make it a permanent part of my life occured in 8th grade English with Mr. Fuller. He asked us to write consistently in a black and white composition notebook (think Freedom Writers). Sometimes there may have been direction but what I remember distinctly is the freedom he gave us to write whatever we wanted. And boy did I write! It meant so much to me to have a space free from judgment. I would reread my entries when he handed them back totally anticipating the always positive and constructive comments from Mr. Fuller. I would eagerly scan the pages searching for his red scrawl.
After 8th grade I journaled endlessly and I still do. For years it was filled with doodles and poetry. Now it is often filled with reflection and all kinds of brainstorms. I would have lost loads of ideas if not for my trusty journal and pen laying by my bedside. I always get ideas just as I’m falling asleep. For a time I convinced myself I’d remember the big idea in the morning but I never did. Now I always turn on my bedside lamp and write it all out. I process lots of ideas during this time. Some seem like junk when I wake up. Some trigger new ideas but all of them are integral to my creative process.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How do you develop ideas? Is there a time of day that generates more ideas? What do you do to encourage your creative process?
I too have “journaled” off-and-on, especially when I was facing a major decision. I was a photojournalist professionally but words were always close. Now that I am seeing middle age start to fade in the background I am once again facing a major decision. Within the next year or two I will be moving for what I hope is the last time. I have moved around a lot but came back to the area where I grew up to be near my mother who is very old now. When she’s gone I will be gone too. But to where? I have a couple of ideas.
But journaling. I write in my journal every morning as I’m drinking my coffee. It’s quiet and I can think. Sometimes I write a whole page or more and sometimes only a few lines. But every morning I write and I think.
Hi Joe! Thank you for sharing. There are some days where I only can write a few lines myself and others where I write pages; its definitely helpful when I am about to make a major decision. For me my next one is do I move from Dubai and if so, where to next? Do you feel your photojournalism is different from your written journaling?
Well, I’m the only one who sees my journaling these days. When I was working as a photojournalist thousands and some times hundreds of thousands of people saw my photographs in newspapers every day, so there is a big difference. Before I became a photojournalist I was a reporter/writer so I enjoy writing, even now.
I’m sure it would be different when you know you have an audience of that size!
I discovered my childhood diaries seven years ago and from this experience got inspired to help instill in kids a love of journaling, in any form.
You see, I quit journaling as a child because the notion of filling and entire blank lined journal page was just overwhelming to me. What I know now is that journal keeping can take many forms, including pages of writing or a simple word across a single page. Additionally, one’s journal might consist of pages of drawings, art, or collages. In the end it is self-expression that matters most. That’s what I know for sure about journals. 🙂
Hi Jill, That is so wonderful that you are inspired to help others in discovering the wonders of journaling. I know that it has helped me in countless ways, from creative to emotional processing, it has been a huge personal resource for me. I completely agree journaling can come in many forms and I wish more people would be more fluid in their definitions of journaling, I find my students sometimes limit themselves because of their preconceived idea of what a journal is. Yay for journals as creative resources! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing.