Journal Writing for People Who Can’t Keep a Journal: In the Trenches

Today we’re going to hear from a fellow bookbinder/journal-er and mother of seven (seven!): Amy of Wren Books


In the Trenches of Keeping a Journal

I have to preface this guest post with the information that I have a pile of journals from when I was younger with a couple of pages written in and the rest empty. I think I had the idea that I needed to start with a new book each time I felt recommitted to writing in a journal. That I still struggle with journal writing is evidenced by the fact that it is my New Year’s resolution…every single year. I have obviously not got this down.

On the other hand, despite my recognition that I need to do better, I have to admit; I am more consistent than when I was a teenager. I fill my journals now, even if it does take a few years to do it.

I have found I write more regularly if it is a pleasant experience that I look forward to, rather than a chore. I have been writing in a beautiful book, handmade by Natalie Stopka with marbled silk covers. I use a fountain pen filled with ink in a color I love. It makes me happy to sit down with lovely things and write.

Besides being esthetically pleasing, I like my writing time to be psychologically painless. In other words, I keep my expectations for myself pretty low! I do try to write every day, but give myself permission to write about the mundane and to be, in a word, boring. I let myself be done after two or three sentences, rather than needing to fill half a page. I don’t stress out if my handwriting is less than perfect. If I expected myself to be sparkling, witty and beautifully transcribed every day, I would just end up with more mostly empty journals.

The biggest turning point for my journal writing was hearing Henry B. Eyring talk about his great-grandfather’s journals and how much they meant to him. He pointed out that his great-grandfather wrote nearly every day, but didn’t write much. A light bulb went off in my head. I didn’t have to be profound or eloquent. I could write a little bit about each day and the whole will end up being more than the sum of the parts.

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About sappling

When God created the world, he did it in six days and rested on the seventh. I always wished there was just one more day in the week, an eighth day just for me to pursue the thoughts in my head and translate them to the physical world. There are only seven days, however, so I steal my creative moments in between being a mom and my work binding books and making boxes for clients all over New York City. I love working with my hands, learning new things, and I'm here to share those lessons with you. There are only seven days in a week. Why not eight? Guess I'll ask when I get there.
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