10 Things I’ve Learned from 13 Years of Journaling

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It all started May 25, 2003. My first diary entry ever:

“My favret thing is when we go to libery. My ather faveret thing was to wach mother-goose.”

This profound statement is followed by a stick figure drawing of what appears to be a little girl watching TV.

While I have come a (sorta) long way from preschool, I still keep that drive to write just a little every day. No doubt I have taken breaks in between. Sometimes three-year long hiatuses. But through it all, I eventually kept going, and I have now filled seven journals full of memories throughout elementary, middle, and high school. And it’s something that’s irreplaceable.

Everyone should journal, and since blogging is a lot like journaling, I thought it would be pertinent to share ten things I’ve learned from my 13-year experience in writing down all the trivial details of my life.

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1. Don’t apologize for taking hiatuses in between journal entries. You deserve a break and you can’t write gold if your heart’s not in it.

2. That said, you do need to motivate yourself sometimes. Look for prompts. Introspect. Relive your day in your mind and write down those reflections. Anything.

3. Don’t worry too much about grammar/sentence structure/any part of the snobby writing process. This is a free-write. No rules attached.

4. Write when you’re the most emotional. What I’ve discovered? Pain creates art.

5. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Experiment with letter-writing, lists, different voices, different styles, different subjects. Write entire page-long paragraphs or choppy sentences. Write poetry or prose. Doodle. Be inconsistent. It may seem like a mess, but there’s a method in the madness – it’ll keep journaling fun and interesting; it’ll keep your creativity on its toes.

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6. Buy beautiful notebooks and journals and sketchbooks and notepads. You won’t be able to resist filling them up.

7. There’s always something to write about. Even if you feel like nothing happened to you today. Surely, you did things. And those things happened in a way that won’t repeat itself exactly ever again. That’s got to be something. Or who says you even have to write about your day or yourself? Just pull up a chair, break out your favorite pen, grab one of those cute journals I told you to splurge on, and get movin’ (your hand)! Once you get started, the rest will come easy.

8. If you’re really out of things to say, plagiarize. Assemble lists of favorite quotes, favorite lyrics. Make specific themes – famous last lines or best girl power lyrics. Hopefully, these will inspire you down another writer’s path.

9. Try writing at different times of the day. You’ll get different results. The 9AM you is different from the 6PM you, which is different from the 3AM you.

10. Say everything you would normally never say out loud. It’s not just therapeutic; you’re creating a snapshot, a self-portrait to look back on over the years. You’re writing for you – a worthy audience and one you can trust.

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What’re you waiting for? Break out the pens, paper, and creative mindsets. Hope this helped! xx

P.S. Additional Tip: Try to have better handwriting than me XD

 

Three Things

Because the best things come in threes.

Three things you can’t go without: music, bubble tea, people

Three celebrity crushes: Tom Hiddleston, Dave Franco, Asa Butterfield

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Three favorite book characters: Eponine from Les Mis, Francie from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit

Three favorite things to wear: sundresses, Nike shorts, kickass red lipstick

Three things you want in a relationship: depth, gratitude, humor

If you had to evacuate your home because of a natural disaster, what three things would you take with you? laptop, diary, senior yearbook

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Three pet peeves: chewing with your mouth open, negative groupthink (like when you dislike a person just because all your friends dislike that person), being on your phone all the time when we’re having one-on-one time

Three things you’d do if you weren’t so afraid: travel around the world by myself, ride the largest roller coaster at the park, become a writer

Three favorite TV shows: Sherlock BBC, I Love Lucy, Game of Thrones

Three favorite music albums: The 1975 by The 1975, Grand Romantic by Nate Ruess, Strange Desire by The Bleachers

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Three best #wcws: Julie Andrews, Kristin Chenoweth, Audrey Hepburn

Three things on your desk: purple glasses case, empty Tapioca House cup, February 2014 issue of Smithsonian magazine

Three reasons why you write: to reflect on myself, to entertain, to advocate for certain truths about life

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This One’s For You

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They say you have to know your audience when you write. That’s not a new concept – it’s a cliche writing tip really – and yet when I write I tend to blab on and on and hope someone from the interweb may stumble along and find my rants and possibly deem them worthy of a like. As a new blogger, that’s technically my audience – the people who wind up here by chance.

In large part, I don’t give great thought to my audience when I sit down to make a blog post, because I write for myself. Well, that’s pretty selfish, you might think. But writing is a selfish task. It’s the sum of your background, your experiences, your culture, your heartbreaks, your hometown, the books you read, the people you love, the thoughts you have at 4 AM…your writing is centered around you. Writing is a way of getting to know yourself first, before anyone else. It’s a way to tap into your own mind, creativity, and soul.

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And yet, writers aren’t selfish. They’re brave. They make themselves vulnerable for the world to see; they whisper their secrets to perfect strangers. All the lives that you’ll never know, all the people you’ll never meet, never will be – that’s the world. That’s my audience. I write for myself, yes, but also for the others. I write for the the underdogs, the cynical romantics, the seekers of truth. I write for every girl who’s ever been ignored because she isn’t “pretty enough” and every boy who feels like they can’t cry unless they’re alone. I write for anyone who’s ever let go of bitterness, drowned their sorrows with music, danced in the rain, fallen in love with their flaws. I write for the ones who are quietly brave, who have seen the world’s hatred and ignorance and brokenness and still believe it to be a beautiful place. But most of all I write for you, you as a human being with a heart and soul and piece of hope to share, I write to tell you that you are not alone and that no one is alone.

So now you know. This one’s for you.