Journaling

I’ve been journaling off and on since I was in junior high. It really was not much – more of a documentary type of writing than anything else. For the last few years though, I had pretty much stopped because it got real boring to journal this way. Now, however, I think I’m ready to pick it back up but I want it be something different. I want it to be a real journal.

Next question. Should I journal longhand or should I type it? I’m of the generation prior to the electronic explosion – I didn’t learn to type until I was in high school. At least the typewriter was semi-electronic in that there was an “return” key but I still had to wait for the bell to ring before I could hit it. Imagine that! A bell to tell you when you need to move to the next line.

It was when I was either a junior or senior in high school that my father brought home our first computer which only had DOS on it (this was back in the day waaaaay before Windows). I discovered that DOS is a terrible program for word processing and decided that if this was what computers were all about, I would have none of it. Just give me my pen and paper or a typewriter, thank you very much, and I will whip something out so fast it would make your head spin.

Since then, my journaling has run the path from handwritten to typewritten (using much more user friendly word processing software) and now, when I do any type of entry, back to handwritten and I’ve discovered interesting results. If I type it, the language seems sterile, flat and without character. But when I’m handwriting (and here it gets interesting) it’s all me and nothing but me. I have fallen in love with watching my hand move and the letters form, especially when I form them right. I guess that is also a form of creativity – I’m watching as something literally comes into being by the simple movement of my hand.

Now when I’m working on my poetry or fiction, I must refrain from using my computer for different reasons. One is that my typing speed is in the realm of super sonic which is good for copying something but it is not good for creative writing because there is absolutely no time for my brain to process anything before my fingers type it out. There is no time for my brain to make any connections between the things it knows and it definitely prevents my brain from making connections between things it does not know, such as unique metaphors and hidden metaphors and plots, sub-plots and story lines that could increase depth to the project.

The second is because, to me, the typewritten word equals final version. That’s what we buy at the store, right? A book in which the words have been typed out and bound into a final form. That paralyzes me. There seems to be zero tolerance for crappy first drafts on the typewritten page. So what I do is hand write the draft out then key it in. Once I do that, then I can move on to editing and revision.

It took me a long time to figure these things out and now that I have, my writing seems to be better somehow. Strange how things work.

So now that I know about my writing I suppose the only thing left for me to decide is what kind of paper product I should use with my journal. Should I use a plain spiral or composition notebook or should I use one of those bound journal books. Decisions, decisions.

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