I know that I normally write on the weekdays. But this week was busy for me like for you too. We’re in uncertain times for sure. Everyone has stressed the importance of washing your hands. Okay. This is a no brainer for sure. And they’ve also stressed social distancing.
Yes. It’s important to social distance except they don’t discuss its downside. I’m not advocating that we hug everyone in big crowds. It’s more considering that we’re probably stuck in our homes with little social interaction. As I’ve worked from home for years, I know what this is like firsthand. My brain loves taking things from the past, present and even the future to spin upon relentlessly. I’ve written a bit about this in previous posts in different ways for this happens with my stories constantly.
As some of you are new to this lack of socialization, this spinning is no doubt new to you. And going into these darker spaces can be freaky if you haven’t been there too much before. The biggest thing to remember is that we won’t be like this forever. It’s also a small sacrifice on our part that can help the greater good. As silly as it may sound, you’re saving lives when you use social distance and isolate in your home. This means that the Coronavirus has one less target.
Good for you! Thank you for doing your part to help!
So… What now since we’re at home with our minds working against us? This is where a journal comes in. They can take many forms. I took a picture of my favorite kind: spiral bound notebooks. I can’t journal on the computer for I always freak out about the red lines for typos and all the other lines pointing out grammar mistakes, etc.
A thing that I wish those programs would point out is when people have two sentences in a row starting with the same word. Why? It shows a lack of imagination. The reader also feels like s/he is reading the same sentence thereby making it easier to gloss over the second or however many following ones start with that same word. Strunk and White talk about this writing faux pas in their book: The Elements of Style. I know that writing styles have evolved since then. But it’s still great to practice this since there are so many words ready and willing to start your sentence. Honest. Just ask them… They’ll jump around yelling – “Pick me! Oh, please! Pick me!” Okay. Not literally but you get my point.
But I also admit that I practice this one grammar rule in my journal writing. It’s just to keep me in the habit since it would be an easy one to break. I can’t let the Coronavirus be the excuse why I let my writing go to hell. Besides, I love brainstorming other words. This is half the fun for me in that it helps me push my sentences into something far greater. Isn’t this what it’s all about?
I digress for I haven’t gone into how journals are connected to the spinning… They are an outlet for it. You can write whatever you want in your journal. It never passes judgment on you no matter how crazy or dark you go. So you can go to town however you would like. People talk endlessly about “safe spaces.” What better place than a journal?
My journals have been there all hours of the day and night no matter what. They also don’t get jealous when I write in more than one. You can easily get them at most stores. They come at all price points making it possible for anyone with any budget to get them. They’ll never interrupt you. Heck. They even help your other relationships because you have an outlet instead of you taking your stuff out on other people. If you’re really concerned about the dark places you go, set a timer. There’s no shame in that for it can help you chip away at the darkness instead of belly flopping into it.
So how do I handle my journals?
The first thing is that I don’t reread my journals. I believe I would edit them if I did. It’s that I would want to make them more of a pleasant reading experience instead of getting shit out of my head that needs to get out of my head. Another way to consider this would be like going to therapy and only telling your therapist that you’re fine. Isn’t that a waste of time and money? The same could be said about censoring yourself in your journal.
You can always shred or rip up your pages if your words really bother you. I’ve found that to be truly cathartic for it’s truly letting go of your negativity. It’s also why I call my journals “mental enemas” for they truly are letting go.
Let’s say you write something that sparks you in your journal. You can always write it on a separate piece of paper or document on your computer. This gives you the opportunity to explore that thought later. But don’t be saddened if you only get those gems only once and a while instead of all the time. It often takes hundreds of ideas to come up with only a few dynamic ones. This is okay. Ideas aren’t sacred, or to be horded. They are springboards to come up with even better ones. This is why I toss out many before I start to write.
And it’s usually the more compelling ideas that stick around that make it in my other writings. Plus, it’s my journal sessions that usually help me when I’m stuck in any given story for they clear away my own “white noise.”
Okay… I’ve had a few things to say about journals. The biggest thing to remember is that they can help you during these more difficult times and even happy times. They can be your be your BFF for life if you let them.
What are your thoughts? Have they helped you? Any tips on how to make the process better? Have they helped you?
Have a great day!