So often – okay, literally everyday – I find myself making the decision to not do something because I don’t think it’ll work out, I’m not good enough to do it. No one is going to like it anyway, so why bother? I’ll be honest, hitting publish on blog posts many days is a challenge, and a great post will sit in my drafts for months and months because I fear it’s not good enough.
I have a hard time feeling good about anything if I don’t get validation from it. That sounds so bad and typing it was actually harder than writing it in my journal. If I don’t get likes and comments, I should just throw it away so no one knows it bombed. I’m a failure. Why am I doing this?
Your journal is a safe space to express feelings, emotions, opinions, etc. about anything and everything. Whether you choose to just do a daily debrief at the end of the day, a more structured journal experience with daily prompts, or a gratitude journal, it is all private writing that you never have to share with anyone unless you choose to.
There are options: you can journal on a computer using any word processor, you can download apps for your phone/tablet, or you can go the old fashioned way and write with pen and paper. Pen and paper gives you an opportunity to decorate it to your liking, plus, a chance to break away from technology and blue light.
You can choose any time of the day to set aside for journaling. If you’re a morning person, you can make a cup of tea or coffee, find a space, and write before you start your day. Maybe you’re a mid-day journaler – taking some time during your lunch break to debrief from a rough morning. If you’re like me, you can journal at night before bed as a way to wrap up the day and summarize your experiences and emotions that you had.
For many, you are able to process things so much better in writing. I know for myself, I rely on ranting and venting to eventually get to the point of what I’m mad about, and in writing, I can do that without the judgement of others, and finally start to process what I’m actually feeling by the end of a page. I’m mad that _____, but actually I’m just hurting because ______. Journaling gives me the opportunity to really delve into my brain and identify triggers and feelings, so that I’m less likely to have an outburst out loud because I was unable to express my true emotions.
After some time, your journal can serve as a reminder of all the good and bad times you had. For me, my therapist convinced me to read through my entries from this year to show all the challenges I pushed through and the growth I made. I didn’t believe her, and figured it would just bring up a ton of emotions I did not want to process again, but she was right. While I did feel some emotions reading through the entries, I also felt proud for all that I had been able to work through this year. 2020 as a teacher was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Too bad 2021 won’t be much different.
Even though I haven’t blogged regularly this year, I have had a post like this on my mind for the last week or so. I feel like I’ve spent many days of my Christmas vacation thinking about everything that has happened this year, for better or worse (mostly worse). 2020 was a hard year for everyone (my therapist reminds me weekly: “it’s not just you, Danielle”).
I actually spent some time yesterday rereading my journal (which I started regularly writing in in July). I had mentioned to my therapist I was afraid to read a lot of what was in there because it was so raw. There were a lot of emotions behind those entries…MY emotions. Rather, as she said (seriously how does she know everything), it gave me a chance to look back on all the challenges I pushed through this year and the progress I’ve made.
After a long hiatus from writing regularly, I am (at least at the moment) back on the grind again. While I haven’t started contributing to my bigger writing project (I’m Not Ok) as of yet, I have been doing my best to write everyday.
Most days, it’s just a journal entry. But as I wrote the other day (When Your Main Character is Really Just You), sometimes when I journal I make these huge self-discoveries that maybe I knew subconsciously, but it didn’t really HIT me until I wrote it down.
When I was younger, writing was all I did. It was all I wanted to do. I was blessed to be 1-to-1 with a laptop through high school, and I would avoid doing classwork because I was working on a story or National Novel Writing Month (sorry mom and past teachers). It was so much simpler back then to find the time to write.
While brainstorming a basic plot line of my current WIP “I’m Not OK,” I was faced with an interesting decision at the end. It’s not a decision I’ve never had to make before, but it felt more difficult to make this time for some reason.
See, I’m Not OK is very emotionally dense (as I outlined in this previous post). The main character Mariah is facing such huge mental health issues. The novel kind of follows her descent mentally, with the true breaking point coming at the end. I pondered for a long time if the story would be best with a happy ending, or if I could pull off a more sad ending. With a title like “I’m Not OK,” would a sad ending be that surprising?