The Journal Story
I've shared my struggles with writing in my previous posts, you can maybe understand my challenge with journaling and midnight scribbles.
I used to have a diary when I was a kid. I just found it not to long ago while my husband and I were sorting through an old trunk of memories. It had no lock or key anymore so I was able to open it with ease. The front cover had an image of a pink ice cream cone on it. The pages were mildly stuck together and they crinkled and cracked when I opened the book. As I read through the thin delicate pages, I cracked up at some of the scribbly recordings I documented about the day. I giggled while visiting my little girl self and I thanked her for the bubbly writings and decorative explanation points.
I'd do great at writing for about a week or two and then my interest would cave. I'd pick it up again months later and feel like I needed to explain myself to myself why I stopped writing. Silly but true. This happened over and over. It didn't occur to me until later in life that typing flowed more smoothly for me instead of handwriting. Some people like the feeling and flow of paper and pen - I admire them for that. You have to find what works for you. That's part of the fun!
The writing journal intimidated me in school and my own personal journal time. I have no idea why. They are just thoughts on paper. Maybe it's because I was afraid if I made a mistake (spelling, grammar, or punctuation) that someone would be judging or grading me. Who? It's my journal! They are my thoughts. I doesn't matter. I thank my husband Marty for encouraging me to get my thoughts out. That's where the whole writing journey begins. He'd said, "Babe, even famous authors have many editors that read their work. It's OK, just pour your thoughts out."
I had to shake off the, I didn't finish writing in the - The gratitude journal, meditation journal, baby journal, thankful journal, food journal, journal journal...I think you get the idea. I guess I felt like it was something I had to finish - but life is a continual movement. How can you finish a journal? Maybe it's what I thought I should do, because other people were really good at journal writing or kept amazing recordings of their kids life (that was the story I was telling myself).
I recorded my oldest daughters life for about 3 months and then the train fell off the track. In other words, life got too busy. Instead our kids actually get the journal called the verbal recall life stories version. It's a joy to watch our oldest daughter as she navigates motherhood. I see reflections of her in her own children. I smile and nod when she shares the verbal recall life stories about her children. I think to myself "Yes, yes. I remember you doing that too - like it was yesterday baby." My own mama did and still does the same verbal recall life stories with me - to this day. I embrace it.
There are so many ideas for journals out there and many ways to market a blank book. It's a book. A book with blank pages to capture thoughts and ideas in ones life journey. In 2007 I started journaling again. I needed to process some hurdles and pain so I jotted down a few bite size steps that I could handle at the time and focused on four prompts. From there life poured out onto the pages.
Desires of your heart
A childhood memory
State of heart on a scale of 1-10
Each daily entry was different. Sometimes there was just a word, a sentence, or a paragraph for each prompt. I didn't beat myself up or critique anything as I wrote. I just got it out. This practice really helped me process at that specific time in life.
I invite you to use the prompts if they can help you in your life journey.
Flash forward to 2021
After our 6 years of travels in 2016, I think I was grappling and fumbling around trying to find my footing again with being home. I literally felt discombobulated. Re-entry back to my homeland was harder than I thought it would be. I dove into the water hoping to come up and find a wave to ride it out. I was out in the water for awhile. Waiting patiently. I pulled out my laptop journal and tried to articulate everything I was feeling. I had so many emotions, thoughts, memories, and found myself stuck. Stuck on where to start. Stuck on the board - waiting in the water.
It wasn't until March of 2017, when I finally caught the wave and wrote my dad's poem and then birthed The Dream Tree the following month. Deep breath. That was when the veil and fogginess lifted. The ride was and continues to be - exhilarating.
Editors read the words on paper and used their gift to arrange and polish the story so it shines even brighter. They are careful to not take the vision the writer intended away. It's an amazing craft. Like a singing artist out there in the world - most of the songs are someone else's lyrics. The beautiful voice brings the lyrics off the page and they float on musical notes that brings the song to life. The singers voice makes the poetic lyrics a beautiful gift.
To my writing editors in my life - Marty, Katie, Abby, and Claire, thank you!
My heart is full of absolute joy and gratitude for each of you.