Starting a Journal Late In Life

One thing I’ve never managed to do is to consistently keep a journal.  I’ve started to keep many – and discarded them.  I’ve bought many pretty journals that have ended up to be nice Christmas gifts for friends or family.  I’ve been a participant in quite a number of journal retreats.  I’ve read so many journals of writers and  historical figures that I’ve lost count.

So, it doesn’t make sense – to me anyway – that I have never developed the habit of keeping a consistent journal.  Then I realized that this blog is sort of a journal.  There are entries, like this one, of thoughts and wonderings. And I guess my poetry entries are like on a more personal level.  Other people may read them and relate on some level, but only I know what they  mean to me, and only I remember the moments I’ve put into my poetry.

This Edna St. Vincent Millay biography I’m reading  (Savage Beauty) has me thinking all sorts of things – realizing all sorts of things  Her life wasn’t easy.  Whose is, right?  When I look at her life, you know, and the lives of other figures I admire – Anne Frank, Anais Nin, Sylvia Plath, Anne Rice, John Cheever – even if parts of their lives are or were/seemed easy and joyful,  there are plenty of really sad and difficult times mixed in there too.

They all kept journals.  I think you have to be really strong not to run away from yourself.

I once went to a journal workshop about the journaling “techniques” of Ira Progoff.  One of the techniques is – and maybe I can use this to catch up with  my life (hahaha!) this:    (he also has a book At A Journal Workshop  probably outdated by now – is supposed to keep you from just going on and on about the same thing all the time in your journal/diary…that circular thing that eventually bores you)

It’s something like putting your life into an outline of chapter titles.  And the first chapter is “I was born” (when and where)….and then moving on from there without any elaboration under any of the titles.  He calls it “stepping-stones” – like bread crumbs.

I’m going to do that.  Not here 😛 That’ll be a start.  Like a poem, I’ll know what each chapter title means.  And that’s that.

Ellespeth

5 thoughts on “Starting a Journal Late In Life

  1. I never tried for a journal, but you make a good point about the blog. It was remembering to write in a journal that always tripped me up during school assignments. Yet there seems to be more freedom and weight to blogging. Probably because I do a lot to promote my books and there’s a sense of progress with every post. Guess some people simply need special motivation for keeping anything that is like a journal.

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  2. I have always tried to keep a journal before but it was so difficult! It wasn’t until this past spring that I’ve been able to journal on a more consistent basis. I was studying abroad and I wanted to chronicle my experiences. Which is great, because now journaling isn’t as tough as it use to be. I hope your journaling journey goes well, too. I like the bit about being really strong to not run away from yourself. I never thought of it that way. It’s true.

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    • Yes. Perhaps that’s what it takes. Something a person wants to chronicle. I could do that! With the next few months or so of putting my poetry collection together. How it’s going. Where I am in the process. Etc. That’s a great idea! Not some long emotional, navel gazing sort of journal. Thanks for this idea, Flores.
      That idea of being really strong came to me as I was writing this post. There is a poem there, I think.
      Thanks for passing by my blog and for your interesting comment!
      Ellespeth

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      • I hope it works out! Itll be nice to compare how you felt at the beginning of the process and at the end 🙂 and no problem. And yes, I think it’d be great if you could elaborate on that–its definitely a concept worth exploring. And your welcome! Thank YOU for sharing your experience 🙂

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