A lot of people think it’s odd that I’m a writer by profession and I don’t journal. I guess when I spend all day long writing for my own business and for my clients, I get a lot out of my system already and I just don’t feel like writing anymore. Or maybe I don’t think I’d get a lot out of journaling.
I think it’s a little of both, but I do know for certain a few reasons why I don’t journal—even as the writer I am.
I “Don’t Have Feelings”
First, I think journaling is for people who want to reflect on their feelings and actually write down how they feel about what’s going on in their lives. I am not that person. I don’t like to talk about my feelings. In fact, I like to pretend like I don’t have any feelings and therefore I certainly don’t want to write about them. This is even a standing joke with a fellow online business owner, one which we poke fun at regularly.
I Hate Paper and Pencil
Another reason that journaling just isn’t my thing is because it usually means you are writing pencil to paper and I have a hard time doing that, aside from content planning. When I’m writing, I’m very self-conscious of my handwriting. It’s pretty terrible. When I was a teacher, I used to consciously take my time and make sure that I wrote neatly so my elementary students could read it. Now that I’m not a teacher, I shouldn’t have to do that. Plus, journaling by hand is soooo old school! Ha!
Of course, I could journal on my laptop. But after spending all day in front of a computer, I’m usually ready to walk away for the evening. Besides, journaling on my computer would just encourage me to continue working—and I certainly don’t need that.
It’s Just One More Thing
Journaling also feels like just one more thing that I have to do. At the end of the day, I like to be able to do what I want. I like to read or hang out and chat with my daughter. Sometimes, I like to just sit and veg in front of the television with her. Not very often, but every once in a while. So the thought of adding one more thing that I “have to do” or check off my list makes me resent it. You know, like laundry. Or the dishes.
I Have Nothing to Write About
I don’t really know what to write about if I were to journal. If you remember, I like to pretend like I don’t have feelings. When I sit down to make it a point to try to journal, I draw a blank. I don’t know what to write about and if I have prompts that tell me what to write, I’m kind of a rebel and I won’t follow the prompts. Because I think they’re stupid. And I feel like someone is telling me what to do—which makes me rebel even more.
Am I supposed to dive into all my deepest and darkest secrets? Am I supposed to summarize my day? Am I supposed to write about my favorite thing that happened that day or my least favorite thing that happened that day? What the heck am I supposed to be writing about anyway?
It’s Not Good Timing
I feel like since journaling is a good exercise for reflecting on what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling, you should do it at the end of the day. Well, the end of the day is not my time to do that. In fact, any time I feel like I need to sit back and reflect on my feelings, it’s probably not the best time to do that (because, no feelings here). When I do need to reflect, I like to do it immediately which means I sit back and I think, not write. Now, I will say that when something big is going on in my life I will sit down and write some things out before I react to it, but I don’t feel like that is necessarily journaling. Probably because as soon as I’m done reacting, I’ll throw my written words away. Because of my next point.
Who’s Going to Read it?
And that brings me to probably one of my most personal reasons that I don’t journal. What if someone reads it? What happens when we die or we get lost at sea and someone goes through our stuff to figure out what to keep and want to get rid of? What happens then? Where do our journals go? Do I really want someone to read my old journals? Does somebody really want to read a summary of the last 43 years of my life? I seriously doubt it.
And besides, what the heck are they going to think when they read about my deepest and darkest secrets? The things that scared me or made me laugh or made me fall in love? To me, those are things that are meant for just certain people in my life and I don’t really want or need other people to read that.
When I was much younger, I did keep a journal. Probably 10 years later, in my early 20s, I went back to read some of what I wrote. I was a little horrified at some of my thoughts. Things I truly don’t want other people to read. So no need for me to put more words to paper there. (And don’t worry, I burned those journals long ago. For real.)
But, truly, these Friday blogs that I have committed to this year are really my way of journaling. They allow me to reflect on some personal things in my business things and hopefully they help other business owners to see that they are not alone in life or in business.
True, I am not sharing any of my deepest and darkest secrets here. Those are better left in the cobwebs of my own mind. But I think that when I look back at the year through these blogs, I will be able to see growth and development in me personally and professionally.
So, let me know your journaling practices. I really am interested in how you reflect on things, especially if you are another small business owner or a writer. I would love to know how you journal, what you write about and how it impacts you in your day-to-day life and beyond. And what are people going to think 50 years from now when they read your journals? Do you ever think about that when you’re writing?
And if you’re like me and don’t journal? There’s nothing wrong with that—at all!