If there’s one thing that helped me more than daily blogging, it’s daily journaling. Yes, you read that right. Apart from the daily blog post, on most days I also write privately on paper for 10-30 minutes. On the surface there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two, but to me it’s an entirely different experience.
When I blog, I want to share something with the world. This means writing, rewriting, editing, clearing ambiguities, and trying to sound as neutral and objective as possible. Journaling is the opposite. I want to get all the raw, private, and emotional thoughts out of my head, so that I can observe them from a distance.
While computer is a perfect tool for editing and rewriting, it’s terrible for dealing with the raw stuff. It looks way too embarrassing on a computer screen. The temptation to edit the same sentence over and over again is just too strong.
My husband always says he’s basically the same person deep inside as he is on the outside. Knowing him, I think he is right. Myself, I have vast hidden depths of unconscious layers underneath that mostly escape my awareness. The only way to bring them to light is to shut down the logical parts of my mind, and describe the rest in wild symbols, metaphors, a dreamlike stream of consciousness. As soon as I try to edit, rewrite, or make sense of it, the rational mind takes over again.
This probably explains how Artur can journal directly in Evernote, and why I need pen and paper instead. Pen and paper is the perfect medium of recording a stream of consciousness, especially if the pages are small and you can’t come back to what you’ve written 5 minutes ago without turning a page. I can’t reread or edit what I’ve written, and it’s a feature. The point isn’t to make a perfect picture of my internal state but rather to get it all out on paper and move on with my life.
I’ve been journaling on and off for quite a while, and started doing it consistently a few months ago. Coincidentally, this was also when I switched to ridiculously beautiful (and expensive) notebooks. I like to joke my journals have magical powers, but the real magic is that the people who make them have put an incredible amount of love and caring into each detail.
With a notebook like this, journaling is no longer an item on my todo list. It’s a ritual. I set aside some time for myself, take a delightful object in my hand, and use it to look deep into my soul. Through a work of art, I get to experience a part of myself that resonates with art much more than with simple words. And the more I do of it, the more it makes me want to turn my entire life into a work of art.