The Challenge for Day 17: Pick a Fight
The challenge for Day 17 is to write about something you are passionate about, promoting it as beneficial to society. If this involves annoying some people, all the better. Hmm. Not usually one to pick a fight, but some things are worth taking a risk for. So here goes, my thoughts on the importance of journalling in this modern day galloping world.
Journals and Diaries
In the past, everyone seemed to keep a journal, most often in the form of a daily diary. Many of these have been lost, but those that remain provide us with great insight into the lives of the writers. Just think about the impact of the Diary of Anne Frank. Writing it helped her make sense of her own situation. Reading it helps us understand the injustices of the times and the human suffering that occurred, but it also brings us closer to Anne, the person.
So is a diary the same as a journal? It depends what kind of diary you keep. If it’s just a record of the weather or Doctor’s appointments, then no. but if it is your response to the world around you, your hopes and dreams, your innermost thoughts, then it falls into the Journal category.
The best advice I’ve got about journalling was to write first thing in the morning. Even still lying in bed, wrapped in the duvet. All you need is a notebook, pen and ten minutes of quiet. Just write whatever comes into your head, no worries about content, context or spelling. Free yourself from the world and all its’ pressures. And the notebook is important, not just a raggedy old copybook, but something that reflects you, the person.
Benefits of Journalling
Psychologists and counsellors often recommend journalling as part of the healing process associated with past stresses. However, I think it’s something from which we could all benefit. And which of us hasn’t been stressed at some stage in our lives?
Journalling lets us connect with our deeper selves. It helps us make sense of the world and the part we play in it. Clarifying our thoughts and feelings, outlining our dreams, letting us blow off steam.
A safe place to be yourself. And who knows what could come of it? There is no doubt that, over time, patterns will emerge. What things make you happy? Do past experiences still control your actions? How do you feel about taking risks? Exploring questions like this, or whatever comes up in your journalling, can help you on your path to developing your true potential.
Journalling and Schools
As a teacher, I wish that schools would include this type of journalling in their curriculum. Ten minutes, first thing in the morning. Write about anything you want. Draw, doodle, make lists…It doesn’t matter. What’s important is the process, the freedom, the lack of criticism. And a personal notebook, something special, maybe with the child’s photograph on the front. Or their favourite cartoon character. Let them choose.
This is not about prompted journalling. Yes, there is certainly a place for prompts, but that’s not my focus here. Rather, I am advocating ten minutes for children to connect with their inner selves through free journalling. To describe their joys, doubts, longings. Develop their creativity, without fear of criticism. And, of course, the teacher would be journalling alongside the children. Sharing is optional but could add another element to the process.
For teachers, the dreaded ticky boxes would boil down to one. Keeps a Journal…Tick.
This is Day 17 of My 500 Words 31 Challenge, organized by Jeff Goins.
The photograph is my own, the notebook where I do my journalling, a gift from my sister.