The 8 Things I Learned During #30DaysofJournaling

1. I like writing every day. Even when I had to do it at the end of a long day, I appreciated the exercise, the discipline. It was in some ways a low-pressure exercise as well because I wasn’t racking my brain to come up with something to write about. The prompt was waiting for me in my email. It was akin to having a meal plan — it’s not stressful to journal when you have something that’s going to help you fill up a blank page.

2. I like writing something that is just for me. It’s possible that one or two or five entries from my journal will make it onto my blog as posts. It’s also possible that one or two or five entries will be turned into poems that will get around to workshops when I start doing that again. But in the meantime, the primary reason I decided to participate in 30 Days of Journaling was to just write for me.

Nearly all of what I produce in writing is seen, edited, commented on, consumed, judged. And that’s fine; I’m a writer, and that comes with the territory. But writing in a journal is a different way to write — it’s just writing. Whatever comes into my head comes out onto the paper. I can write things I would never say and never put out there for public consumption. It was very refreshing to write that way again. It’s been years since I wrote like that.

3. I like writing on paper with a nice pen. I have two very nice fountain pens, both of which were given to me by my husband. They turn journaling into a sensual exercise. Plus, the journals I purchased for this exercise were pretty! (I filled one and a half.)

Journal One.
Journal One.

4. It’s okay to feel while writing and let those feelings inform the writing. I was cranky sometimes, and let myself be cranky. One of the prompts had me crying afterward. Most left me in a meditative or thoughtful mood, but some of them sparked something deeper. It was an exercise in letting the feelings happen and even writing more because of them.

5. Grief, man. This 30-day exercise reminded me once more that it’s never ending.

6. The book that changed my husband’s life is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Which also, oddly enough, ended up on my “Books I want to read…” list.

7. I still got it, baby.

Which is to say: I still have an internal life. I still have a life worth examining in quiet space and writing about in a conversation with myself.

Some days it seems easy to be lost. Being a full-time, out of the home, professional paid writer, and a full-time in-and-out-of-the-home mom to three busy kids, and being a good wife to boot, and the invisible work — cooking, cleaning, collecting laundry, teaching my children to do all of the above as well — sometimes the urge is to turn off my brain with a book or TV show.

So it’s been nice to see that even if it was only for 15 to 20 minutes a day, I could write about NONE of that overwhelming stuff.

8. I like writing every day. I like writing every day so much that I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) officially for the very first time. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to produce a novel (about 50,000 words) by writing Every. Single. Day. That’s about 1800 to 2000 words a day.

Which I discovered last night takes me about two hours. November will be interesting. And exhausting, probably. But I’ve had a novel rattling around in my head for a few years now (what writer doesn’t), and this is a good exercise and a good opportunity for me to GET IT OUT.

So I expect I will disappear from social media for a little bit. I am going to aim for posting here at least twice a week, but don’t hold me to that. When you realize you need to put 2000 words on a screen, you tend to want to hoard them.

Did you journal for 30 days in a row? Or NaNoWriMo/NaBloPoMo for a month? Tell me about it in the comments! Solidarity!

2 thoughts on “The 8 Things I Learned During #30DaysofJournaling

  1. I try to do NaBloPoMo. It’s a great exercise and helps reinvigorate me with regards to my blog. That and my annual Beatles Week. Because my handwriting is horrible (and I mean HORRIBLE) the process of physically writing is not enjoyable at all. Congratulations on what sounds like a successful 30 days of journaling.

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