Yesterday I bought a journal. This is not newsworthy. I buy journals all the time. Like many writers, I am an office supply junkie. Next to sticky-notes, journals are my office supply Achilles heel.
I own many journals of many shapes and sizes. I have handsome leather journals, flashy faux gold leaf journals, nature-themed journals, journals from museum gift shops. Some of my journals are covered in drawings of hydrangeas or geometric designs; some are wire-bound and would be perfect for a school child. A couple of journals are lined with writing quotes. Another gives a line of advice on how to lead a good life.
My favorites are a set of five Beatles album cover journals. My most precious are a trio of retro journals, a gift from a friend who died.
I own many journals, but they all have one thing in common. They are all blank inside.
I buy and buy and buy journals, but I don’t journal. I have tried. Many times. To no avail. I’ve filled a few with a record of the books I’ve read over a year. A couple I have used for character studies or notes from a particular place I want to use as a setting. One is kept in my car for emergencies. That one, sadly, is scrawled through with grocery lists.
Why do I keep buying journals? Because they’re pretty. Because it’s a habit. Because, deep down inside, I believe I will one day figure out how to journal.
The journal I bought yesterday is a handsome leather one. (Okay, handsome fake leather.) It is beige and covered in writing. The writing is line after line of pithy advice:
Mean what you say…. Be your best self…. Life life freely…. Lead by example…. Believe in your dreams…. Dance the night away…. Skip down the street…. Don’t take no for an answer…. Be bold….Take a chance…. Trust your gut…. Believe in your power…. Exceed your expectations…. Express gratitude.
How could I not buy this journal?
I admire writers who are capable of keeping a record of their thoughts, dreams, hopes, and expectations. Three of my favorite author journals are:
In these three journals, the flip side of being a working writer is unmasked. May Sarton revealed her disappointment when her novels were not as highly praised as her poetry. Madeleine L’Engle blew the cover off her seemingly strong marriage. John Steinbeck admitted to drinking too much and showed an obsessive need to have the perfectly sharpened pencil before he could do his daily writing.
On the other hand, they recorded the intense joy of writing a single good line. Their revelations showed how the writing work of the day made the frustrations of the day a minor annoyance.
I learned so much from their journals. Maybe I’m searching for the right journal to write in, and that’s why I keep buying them?
Do you have a favorite journal by a favorite author? Do you journal? Will you teach me how?