The Use of Journaling

First of all I hate journaling. Let me just get that out into the open.

Now let me take that back. I hate forced journaling. It pisses me off, dries me out and frustrates me to no end. When someone sets you on this course it is usually to get you writing everyday, or to explore a certain avenue of thinking. What usually happens is forced exercises, a rush of writing in the days before the due date, and ton of crappy one-sentence entries…unless there is a minimum. Then you just write pages and pages of crap.

Of course this is how I got into writing in the first place. My parents had to lock me in the den to have me get it done, but at the end of two years I was writing my first novel. This was just to spite the poor 8th grade teacher who had to grade them. I remember him saying, “I don’t know about those marathon papers you and Megan (another spiteful person) are doing”.

So on the last day of 8th grade, I turned in my last page, collected the poster of his wall (he promised one to each of us) and got on the bus, promising myself I would never write another word.

Thanks a lot Mr. K.

It only took about two seconds before my first honest to goddess poem jumped into my head. By the end of the bus ride I had a second draft down. By the end of the summer I had my first book of poetry written. By the end of the next year I was the crazy-writer-girl-who-sits-in-corner-and-reads. By the end of high school, I had been published several times, had began selling my poetry to other school kids who needed, um, help in class. (Though I doubt anyone I knew in high school is reading this, you know who you are.) In college I took many poetry classes.

Then I burned out on poetry. It was too easy. I can write sonnets without knowing it. (I’m tone deaf, so you can jump your voice around all you want and I still can’t see the difference between how you normally talk and Iambic Pentameter…or any other meter for that matter.) I tried the other day and I could still do it. But ick, I don’t like the majority of poetry out there, and as for me it is not what I want to do.

Anyway I still wouldn’t journal. Took many a C in college because of it. Yet they have their uses.

I do write down lessons I’m learning but I don’t do it on a schedule. The best I’ve ever done is Hallowquest, once a week for a year.

When I’m having a tough time with no one to really talk to, I write down my thoughts before I go to bed. It is the only way I’ll sleep. Most of these end up trashed. A few important entries get logged into the computer. The exception is the one I did during my junior/senior year of high school and possibly the one I’m doing now. Now I maintain this webpage semi-journal and I’ve got a novel in the works.

Journaling will get you somewhere…even if you hate it.

© Michelle Norton

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The sun still rises on my life.Grey’s Anatomy

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