Dedicated to Great Journals and Writers Each Week
Every day, I suggest that we journal and explore our lives. I would even go so far as to recommend that we do it multiple times daily. Every week, I want to explore the science and history behind why journaling is so important. Generally, I add three journal prompts to every blog post on my site; however, the weekly journal post will go a little deeper into the art of journaling.
It was in a previous post of mine that I mentioned how my diary saved my life. I was so overwhelmed with anger and grief over a failed marriage that I spiraled into depression. Introducing myself to journaling as a strategy for coping was the lifeline I needed. I knew that as soon as I felt those feelings of freedom that go with expressing your thoughts on paper, I would spread the word and educate others on this gift.
I hope to explore the ancient history of journaling in these weekly posts, as well as the stories of people who have kept personal journals or diaries that have transcended borders and time. They gave us access to their most intimate thoughts by choosing vulnerability and risking putting pen to paper. The novelists, diarists, and journalists that I will give tribute to each week were probably unaware of how their silent thoughts would become works of art read and analyzed by the whole world. I myself believe that this is the first power of journaling, the power of releasing and exhaling our thoughts onto paper and experiencing the possibilities those writings hold.
Writing has likely been a frustrating experience for most of us. In fact, I remember my first writing experience as something that was painful. Those of you who grew up in the 90s reading this post, did you ever have to write lines? Well, if not, lucky you. Back in the day, writing lines was one of the punishments we had to endure when we misbehaved in class. It consisted of rewriting a sentence repeatedly. When you tell a 9-year old that they have to write the sentence I am sorry for being bad over 200 times, you will definitely affect their mental health. This is not an attempt to elicit sympathy, but merely an attempt to describe my first experiences with writing, which were not enjoyable.
Fast forward to high school, where I received low grades and was told that my penmanship and grammar were flawed. Instead of giving me guidance on how to improve, I was constantly reminded how awful I was. Imagine my surprise when I learned that writing is in fact a courageous act, let alone relaxing.
Anne Frank – Courageous Writing
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”– Anne Frank
As we discuss courageous writing, we might remember that sweet child, Anne Frank. On her 13th birthday, she received a small red and white book, sometimes called an autograph book, which had a lock on the front. Today, we might call it a diary. Today, we all know the story of the brave and beautiful child hiding behind a bookshelf in fear of her life. While hiding and terrified of tomorrow, her diary served as a safe place to express herself. This is my wish for all of us who are not in imminent danger but are nonetheless at risk. We risk losing our minds or our relationships or our grip on reality. Fortunately, there are tools at our disposal that can help mitigate that risk. When all we have is pen and paper, we can sometimes create the world we want. I do not think about all of the misery, but rather about the beauty that still remains.” Anne Frank’s quote is a perfect representation of the mindset we must all attain to reap the benefits of journaling. It is essential that we see past our pain and wipe the tears away in order to truly operate in alignment with our highest calling. Beauty always lies just beyond the pain. As we commit to this simple act of seeking the good that lies beyond the carnage, we will breathe life into our writing and be inspired to transcend the state of chaos that might be our lives and create masterful pieces of writing.
In Honor of Anne Frank
German-born diarist and Holocaust victim (1929-1945)
You left the world a wonderful gift. Thank you.