Friday, September 25, 2015

Why Journal? (Tip/Reason #10)

Tip #10 – Journal writing is a way to hone and practice your writing skills, expand your creativity, and play. 

Journal writing is a way to test out a short story, article, or poem you are trying to craft. It is a place to jot down ideas and play with phrasing. Don’t be afraid to strike out words and try others in their place. Make a mess of the page–out of the chaos you may produce some literary gems.

If you prefer a more visual medium, draw or paint in your journal. One of my workshop participants drew a gorgeous image using pens of vibrant shades of yellow, green, purple, red, pink, and blue to express a situation with which she’d been struggling. Painting, coloring, creating a collage or even scrapbooking are all forms of journaling to consider. Allow yourself the freedom to experiment with different colors, visual image techniques, and writing styles.  

When I was going through cancer, I was given several decks of inspiration cards and regularly wrote my interpretation of the sayings and why they resonated with me. I bought colored construction paper, made small rectangular cut-outs, and glued them into my journal to create pouches in which the cards were placed, and decorated the pouches with stickers. This was a way to add variety to my journal pages and make them aesthetically appealing. Furthermore, it was enjoyable.  

Journaling is not only about the written word. Have fun, express yourself, and be creative!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Is blogging journaling?

I came across an article a while back that asked readers if they thought blogging was akin to journaling? As someone who both journal writes and blogs, I say yes. Although my blog is public, it is still a journal. (Note: You can always choose to set your blog to “private” should sharing your ideas, thoughts, and content not be your intention.)

When I began blogging back in 2004, I was using it as a means to communicate with family and friends, keeping them abreast of my leukemia treatments and progress. I was writing my book, Rebirth, at the time and the blog was a place where I wrote two essays about “being enough” and “forgiveness,” both of which are included in my book. The blog was where I could practice my writing skills, share my thoughts, and receive feedback from family, friends, and even strangers.

The political writing I have done over the years is residing out in cyberspace for public consumption. Still, I consider it journaling too. When I review those posts, I am reminded of what topics were important to me at the time, how I supported my ideas, and reflect on whether my feelings have remained the same or changed over time, as I’ve received new information. The content is interesting (admittedly, maybe only to me) and revealing about who I was/am, where I fit into the world, how I view current events and those in charge who shape our society, for better or worse. 

(If interested in reading the above post, click here.)

Past posts have also been repurposed into new posts, taking old content and adding information relevant in today's world. I use this for blogging on my own or on other platforms or writing articles for publication. 

As open as I am sharing my thoughts, there are some moments or issues in my life that I prefer remain secret, even from those closest to me. That is the beauty of journal writing: it is a means to express your deepest feelings, transferring your emotions out onto the page or computer screen, depending on how you choose to journal. I admit to being a Luddite, as I prefer actual journaling books to online ones. If I type an entry, I format it to fit the page, print it, cut it, and tape or glue it into the book.

Regardless of how you choose to journal, be it on the page or on the screen, there are myriad ways to do it that fits your style and personality. Blog away if you prefer online tools. There are numerous blogging platforms out there, and remember, you are in charge of the privacy settings.

There are many online journals as well. A quick Google search for “online journals” will provide numerous options. One that has received excellent reviews is LifeJournal: “Since 1999 LifeJournal has been recognized by journal experts, professional writers and publishers, and individual journal writers as the leading journal application on the market today.”

Happy blogging, er, journaling!