We currently live in a world where most people are able to see our very short, spontaneous thoughts at any time of the day. Usually these thoughts are limited to 140 characters or less, and aren’t the most intelligent or eloquent (unless you’re one of those people who like to post inspiring quotes and motivational sayings, in which case, your public thoughts aren’t the most original). Yet how many of these thoughts are based solely on how many “Likes” or “Retweets” they’ll receive? How many of our written words are distorted and catered to the audience so they’ll allow us to appear a certain way?
Journaling, as in the old-fashioned pen, ink, and paper, seems to be a lost, archaic art amongst the flashy image and gif-filled Tumblrs and hashtag-dominated social media. Yet hundreds or even thousands of years from now, there is no way to know if our written works will be maintained in cyberspace. How do we know for certain that our memories will be preserved in digital form for decades?
With a 3-dimensional, sheet-filled notebook and a writing utensil, preservation is more likely, as are mental and spiritual benefits. The ability to completely let loose and freely write one’s deepest, darkest thoughts and desires is a sweet release of all the unsaid words we would never dare post online, as well as all of the ones that reblogged images can’t quite capture. A personal journal allows your original, uncensored sentiments to be captured in a way that digital blogging can’t quite satisfy. It is a discipline that requires patience, time, and dedication and will likely keep you grounded in its now tedious practice. It’s so easy to simply recycle someone else’s ideas or pictures with two simple clicks; however, journaling requires you to think, and confess, and–shocker–be real. It’s a meditative practice that points you in the direction of figuring out whatever internal turmoil you currently contain.
The next time you’re in a bookstore or shopping center, pick out a journal that visually appeals to you and is one that you would look forward to writing in every day because it’s so pretty. Paying a decent amount for a journal could be a great incentive to make you write every day. Or if you’d rather not drop dough on a journal, get a retro speckled 99-cent notebook and, if you need motivation, establish a ritual where you write at the same time every day (at night while watching TV, for example).
Give yourself a challenge to write every day, such as “I will write 1 page a day during week days” or “I will write the main thought of my day every night for 3 months.” There’s no right or wrong way to journal, just as there’s no right or wrong way to feel about something. This is you capturing your soul on paper, and you get to do it however you wish. If you stick with it, you’ll eventually have a diary filled with preserved memories and a detailed road map starting where you were when you began to where you are when you end. By all means, feel free to continue updating your Facebook status and tweeting and reblogging–but feel free to take off the mask and keep it real on some loose-leaf.