It’s OK to just write

Journal writing can be intimidating these days.

I check out Reddit’s r/Journaling from time to time, and it’s pretty intense. It seems like what constitutes “journaling” these days might, before the internet took everything-porn to a whole new level, be called sketching, scrapbooking, planning, etc. It’s enough to give the impression that you have to be a super-talented artist, have an idea for a big visual spread, and have the time to crank out an elaborate piece of creativity on the daily, or you might as well not even bother.

But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with just writing.

You can use your journal in any way that you see fit. For some people, making collages or drawing masterpieces or having a super-organized and well-decorated “bullet journal” system (or whatever) are the best use of their journal for them. Those uses also happen to be the ones that get the most Reddit upvotes, social media “likes”, etc. This creates a feedback loop, encouraging people to share those kinds of journal entries (and discouraging people from posting entries that are just blocks of text), so you see increasingly more of them as time goes on, and they tend to dominate the “front page”.

All of that is just fine and dandy. I certainly don’t mean to imply that there’s anything wrong with being graphical, or creative, or a good artist, and a lot of the stuff those folks post is indeed Bomb A.F.

However, just because it’s best for some people, doesn’t mean it’s the best for you. And the fact that it’s aesthetically pleasing to people on social media has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not it’s effective toward accomplishing your journaling goals (unless your main intention with journaling is to get social media likes…)

So, if you want to start a journal, but don’t feel like making an elaborate graphical spread every day, that’s totally cool. If all you feel comfortable doing is writing, just write.

I very rarely put sketches, drawings, collages, bullet points, etc. in my personal journals. Most of the time I’ll put a few symbolic stickers or doodles on the cover, or glue some keepsakes to it, but that’s generally it. The rest of it is just lines and lines of text. And holy shit has journal writing been life-changing for me. It would be pretty stupid for someone to say that I’m not “good” at journaling. I write in my journal routinely, with intention, and get out of it what I want; therefore it is as correct as any other approach.

I also don’t think that you have to be “good” at sketching, scrapbooking, etc. to give it a try. Maybe you would be good at it (or more importantly; enjoy it) if you gave it a try? It doesn’t matter if it sucks — it’s your journal. You don’t have to share it with anyone. If you like it, it doesn’t matter what Reddit thinks!

Mr. Stick Figure doesn’t like it when you try to say he’s not drawn well enough.

So don’t be intimidated by social media and such. Just open a notebook and see what happens. If you find yourself writing, write. If you find yourself drawing, draw. If you find yourself planning your life or sticking a bunch of magazine clippings or whatever all over your pages, just roll with that, baby. It’s your journal. You can do whatever the hell you want with it. You could even do some combination of all of the above. You could do something really cool I haven’t even thought about.

So do what feels right. Even if it’s “only” writing.

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One thought on “It’s OK to just write

  1. miatagrrl June 6, 2019 / 3:56 am

    Yes! Thank you!!

    – Tina

    Like

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