New seasons represent transformation. The fall represents a season of new beginnings, a time of harvesting, and the turning over of new leaves. This natural shift can lead to creative instincts and a new way of being and thinking. One way to facilitate and document this shift is by journal writing. The journal can be thought of as a container for thoughts, feelings, and observations.
Some writers use the journal as a place to turn to during difficult times in their lives. Sometimes their jottings might lead to or end up as a story, poem, or even a book. Diarist Anaïs Nin began journaling at the age of 11 when there was a shift in her family and her father left. For her that resulted in a major transformation that she documented in her journals. Eventually, her journals were edited and published. My own personal shift also began in the fall on Labor Day weekend in response to my grandmother’s suicide.
Journaling is a cathartic and safe way to express your feelings. It is important to note that, in journaling, you’re not necessarily chronicling the events of your day. Rather, you’re documenting and getting in touch with your feelings and thoughts as you write. These thoughts may be nuggets of creativity to be used in future projects.
The art of journal writing dates back to the days when our ancestors wrote on cave walls. A journal, diary, or notebook—whatever you choose to call it—can play many roles. It can serve as a vehicle for self-expression, a tool for clarity, a repository for observations, a container for thoughts, and a way to nurture your creativity.
Journals and journal writing have often been described as one’s best friend or confidant. Journal writing can be as calming and grounding as meditation. It can orient you and stabilize your emotions. While I recommend that emerging writers write in a journal every day, most seasoned journal keepers and/or writers tend to write when inspired.
In addition to being a powerful tool for healing, journaling is an excellent tool to nurture creativity because it’s a place to solidify thoughts in both our personal and literary lives. The journal is a veritable treasure chest of creative musings and personal anecdotes. It’s not only a place to collect ideas but can also be a powerful tool to overcome writer’s block.
According to fiction writer John DuFresne, "You ought to keep a notebook for several reasons. (And ought to carry it with you.) A notebook is a reminder that you’re a writer and that what you’re currently doing while you’re out of the house, away from the desk, is taking notes toward your next novel. You know that you think differently when you have a pen in your hand. You think differently and you observe differently. You see what’s really there, not what’s supposed to be there. You keep a notebook to teach yourself to pay attention." A notebook can offer you encouragement and remind you and the world that you are a writer.
Here's exactly what you need to get started on your own journaling journey.