Writing and drawing in a journal—a physical paper, journal—is the most advanced and secure technology for private documentation: a journal is a one-of-a-kind object, any work done in it is always at the highest resolution possible, the unit needs no external electricity/energy source. The technology shows no sign of going obsolete, doesn't need to be updated for hardware or system software. And if it is preserved, it serves as a great reference for future generations that want to understand something about your thoughts about the world in your time, as well as the intimate marks that you carefully guided into each page. Delivered not in high resolution, but in pure resolution.
For many years, I 've felt like journaling is a best-kept secret in plain sight. No matter where you are in age, career, relationship or personal development, if you're not writing and documenting where you are, there are some really good reasons for starting.
One immediately obvious reason is that writing—by hand—can be an especially effective tool for creative people who need the “space” to incubate ideas. Rather than keep it all in your head, you're quite literally creating a space for an idea to become real even in its most raw and unstructured form. Once it is on paper, your brain gives itself the permission to free its clutch over this one and move on to other thoughts and ideas.
For highly sensitive persons (HSP), and for introverts in particular, journaling is a quiet and unobtrusive means for outlet. This is less about creativity and more of a punching bag to let off steam without getting into any trouble. It's a low cost channel to help manage emotions privately. But most importantly, writing your feelings down serves as a means to refer back to those moments for clarity.
There are number of ways to approach your journal:
As a friend Your journal is always there for you, at a pace that is comfortable. By writing, it becomes possible to let your feelings and ideas pour out from your mind and to the page. Often, after a session of personal writing, you'll find yourself more at ease and less irritable.
For your relationships Any relationship goes through its various stages of painful growth. Especially when one or both people are working on themselves, change brings about unfamiliar behavior, which can be misunderstood and lead to conflict. A journal is a safe and private space to express the strong feelings that might not be fully resolved, but that need some place to go.
For emotions As a creative person, and especially if you also have a caregiver role, it's a short drive from irritation to frustration to complete overwhelm. Instead, taking a pen to your journal and documenting your heightened feeling is a good habit to develop, and a completely private one.
Time Management As a creative person, you're likely wearing many hats on any given day. A journal is a great way to lock down your “three things to get done tomorrow”, or to track your progress on larger goals in a more open, long-form writing format.
Self-Care Being an artist and/or creative person often blurs the line between work and life. If balance is your key, then documenting your efforts toward that balance makes sense. Journaling is an excellent way to manage both guilt and permission for things accomplished and things left undone.
When the pressure drops in the airplane, there’s a reason you’re advised to use the oxygen mask on yourself first and the person next to you after: you have to be capable of helping in order to help. Ultimately, journaling has been a great companion tool for me to incrementally learn to be more compassionate to the one person in whom you can most easily invest—myself—so that I can be of service to the people and causes I care about.
If you're not already journaling, I can't recommend enough that you keep one...or a few. They come in handy at 3:30 in the morning when you really need the sleep but your mind is rehashing a break up from a decade ago, or you're one step closer to figuring out what you want to do for the next 3 months to five years.
With a journal, you can stay insular and write, draw, or doodle. It's more natural than switching on a handheld glowing device and have your brain connect to a few billion people and their own set of issues. for all intents and purposes, it's the cheapest, cleanest way I know to get back to yourself.
PHOTO: Journals, 1990-present. ©2021, Cedric Victor.
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