From Captain’s Log to Journal
Looking at journaling from a fresh perspective
How am I supposed to pick one favorite journal entry when all of my entries this school year have been my favorite? I know, I know –it seems like a cop out answer, but it’s true! Before I started my Creative Writing class this year, I had tried and failed for many years to keep a journal. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but I think the problem boiled down to the fact that there was no pull for me to write in a journal. I was the only one likely to ever read my journal, and I could be as truthful as I wanted. But instead of writing about the things I truly cared about –instead of writing about my thoughts and opinions, and about things that truly mattered to me—my journal was really more like a Captain’s Log from Star Trek. I wrote about what I did, not what I thought.
Every time I decided to try to write again, to pick up my journal and begin to record what was going on in my life for my future self to read, I didn’t get far before I started leaving off entries without finishing them and leaving monstrous gaps between writing. It made me feel terrible that I couldn’t keep up with a journal because I really wanted to be a writer and everything I had ever read on how to become a better writer included a section or two about keeping a journal. Mine was a hopeless case –I just couldn’t seem to connect with the monotony that I wrote about. I didn’t have any real desire to write what I was writing.
Though I have only written eight journal entries counting this one, I feel like this “journal” that I have taken up is a much better picture of who I am at this point in my life than any of the multiple other journals I have written thus far. The prompts that I have been given have forced me to look at events in my life through new eyes, and to explain exactly what I thought about them and why I thought that. I have gotten the chance to share the things that I love through my favorite medium –words. Things that I have never had the chance to fully collect my thoughts on became the focus for a journal entry, letting me both collect my thoughts and share my opinions with others. Through these entries I have written I have begun to show who I am instead of simply what has happened to me and that makes each and every one of them my favorite.