I've been writing in my journal regularly again and I love it because I come up with all kinds of brilliance epiphanies. (You can read my most recent journaling epiphany here.)
Yesterday, the thought occurred to me that there are two kinds of journalers:
–Those who basically dissect the past in their diaries
–Those who prefer to write about the future
I fall squarely into the latter camp. Hmmm. Let's discuss.
Anais Nin famously said, "We write to live twice, in the moment and in the retrospection." Nin, also famously, was a kick-ass writer who specialized in getting her journals published. And said journals were full of all kinds of juicy affairs, as well as creative thoughts. (Or so I've heard, I've only managed to get through part of the first one.)
Brief aside for an interesting thought: if Nin were alive today, would she be a blogger? I suspect so.
But when I write about what happened to me the day before, I get bored and rush through it. I feel compelled to note it for some mythical future reader (unless I decide to burn all my journals, which is a real possibility). I don't really enjoy this living twice thing. And its not that I'm bored with my life, because I'm not, I love my life, for the most part.
So what gives?
What comes out in my Moleskine, when I allow myself just to let loose, is a volley of ideas, things I want to ponder that perhaps grew out of what happened recently, thoughts on blog posts, articles and books. That kind of stuff is what populates my journals. Also recipes, notes from phone calls, lectures, sermons, and conversations, names of websites, phone numbers and so on.
But not a lot about what happened to me the day before. When I force myself to write in my journal a certain way, that's what comes out. In the most boring of fashions imaginable. I'm bored with it, so I feel sorry for my future readers, because if I'm bored think how bored they will be. (The one exception to this is when I write about specific things in terms of a writing exercise, such as noting details of a person I saw, or relating dialogue.)
I'm not a person who reads books twice, either. Recently, friends and family members have been so enthralled with the book Shadow of Night that they've either read it or listened to it twice. The thought of doing that slays me. There are so many books in the world, I want to go on to the next one. (Of course I'm still slogging through Shadow of Night, so I've not even finished it once yet.)
All this forces me to one conclusion: I've a shallow, impatient mind.
What about you? Do you have a deep, thoughtful mind that loves to dissect every aspect of the day before? What do you journal about (if you dare tell)?
**Don't forget to sign up for the Get Your Novel Written Now class, which starts in October!