And here we are at part five of my series on journal writing, which is somewhat of a continuation of Part Four, amazingly enough. In that post I wrote about Morning Pages, also fondly known as MPS.
(Brief aside: it is three days before Christmas, are you getting any writing done, in your journal or otherwise? It is a tough, tough time of year to stay with it, I know! Kudos to you if you are, and if you are not, well the holidays, too, shall pass.)
Today I want to talk about one kind of journal writing that tends to grow out of MPs, the human brain being the obsessive thing that it is. Oh God, my human brain is very obsessive, but perhaps yours isn't? Maybe it is just me. No, wait, there have to be a few others, or we wouldn't have addiction. So for those of you who share my obsessiveness, this post is for you.
Because here's the deal:
Obsessive Human Brain + Morning Pages = Whiny Emotional Outbursts
I think it is our tendency to devolve our journals into this kinds of entry that turns some people off from journaling. However, even this kind of journal writing has its place, so let's look at this use (some might call it a misuse) of journaling.
Whiny Emotional Outbursts
Ah, yes. We love them so as we are scribbling them, and cringe in embarrassment when we reread them. At least I do. Again, you may be better adjusted than me and have no such experience. Sometimes, when I write without plan first thing in the morning my mind tends to focus on my problems, real or imagined. And onto the page they all go. This has its good points and its bad points. One good thing about putting whiny emotional outbursts on the page is that your therapy bills will be nonexistent. I've never been to a therapist in my life. And, the truth of the matter is, I am weird. A right strange ole person, I am. But I manage to make myself appear normal most of the time. I have my journal to thank for this. All the drama goes right onto the page–and if it doesn't make it into the pages of my fiction, it will definitely be written in my journal.
So, if all this whining on the page is making me happier and healthier, what's the downside? Simple, its that this crap gets boring–not only to read over, but to write. Navel gazing is not fun to read in memoir form and its not fun to read in journal form, either. It is really awful when you start to bore yourself with your same old, same old problems. When this happens, you have one of two choices: find some other ways to journal (a suggestion is forthcoming in an upcoming post) or put the drama and emotion into a different project, such as a short story or novel. If you choose the latter option, hopefully you have lots of great raw emotion to draw on from all your whining. But, whatever you do, don't let your boredom with yourself stop you from journaling, as it is too valuable a practice to end.
I've got two more posts coming up in this series, the first on Day Planning and the next on using your journal in a bit different way, to write a Chronology. See you soon (seeing as how it is Christmas and I only last night finished my shopping and I have everything to wrap and Christmas breakfast and dinner to plan and shop for, I'm not making any promises as to when said posts may appear).