Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Great Journal Debate

 Tucked away on the bottom shelf in mostly hidden corner of my basement office/studio/work space is a treasure trove.  Here you will find 28 years of my life contained in my journals.
 After an initial - and rather clumsy - attempt at a handmade book, I switched to small 3 right binders with narrow lined insert paper which my mom and I found at a locally-owned office supply store in my hometown.  They were a perfect fit for me, and I would continue to use them faithfully throughout high school and college.
 The problem came when my OCD tendencies kicked into gear.  It became difficult to find just the right binder and just the right insert paper.  After spending an entire day driving all over town, hitting up every office supply store and every other store that carried such things, I knew I was defeated.
So if you look at that picture of the shelf, that's when you will see journals with different binders begin.  I tried a large binder once.  I went through two of Julia Cameron's Artist Way notebooks.  (I figured that gave the exact amount of prescribed morning pages space every day.)  Friends during my newlywed years talked me into trying some of the gorgeous blank journals that by that time had become popular and easy to find.  (Let me just tell's a sign of how nuts I can be at times that it was next to impossible to let myself use those pretty books at first.  Sweating bullets!)  They worked, but in some ways it added a level of stress to the process.
Then Moleskine notebooks started to become popular again, and when I stopped to examine them in the store my heart sang.  This was the modern equivalent of my little black binders...with a historical twist that helped to ensure they would never go out of style.  Everything about them felt good, so I went back, and have been using them faithfully for a while now. 
Then...a complication.   A year ago I decided to try a journal app on my ipad, and to my great surprise I actually enjoyed it.  So 2014 became the year of my first successful electronic journal.  ( I've tried a couple of times before, but they never lasted that long.)  I loved that the app automatically recorded not only the date, but also the time, location and weather during each writing session.  Together the iPad and keyboard didn't really take up any more space in my purse/bag than the original journals did (portability has always been key), so it was a win-win.
In one of my earliest iPad journal entries, I actually laid out a pros and cons list for an electronic journal v. a handwritten one.  The funny thing was that my logic brain could come up with a whole bunch of reasons why that electronic version was the clear winner....but even with that list my heart knew handwritten was best.  It didn't deter me from the experiment, though, and I have to admit that there are a lot of benefits to using a keyboard for journal input.  (Not the least of which is that my hands have a better chance of keeping up with my head...)
 A few months ago, though, I found this lovely thing.  I went back to look at it three times before I finally bought it.  I just couldn't get it off of my mind, and I've been carrying it with me since.

 Which brings me to this morning.  You may remember that included in my New Year Resolutions was a desire to rebuild my journaling practice into a more regular part of my life.  I've always done better when I'm actively using a journal on an (almost) daily basis, after all.  My plans were thrown off my by recent illness, but now that I'm feeling better it's time to get back to it!  I'm ready, I'm willing, and I have something to say!
The strange thing is that I don't know which format to choose....
Tradition, pleasure, or practicality?
They all have their merits...they all are equally appealing....
and I'm having trouble making a decision.
One I give them each a different purpose?
Inspiration and growth in the Tree of Life...
Regular journaling in the Moleskine...
Dreams in the iPad, where swiftness is a benefit as I capture fleeting images...
Or is that too much?  Do I roll everything back into one?
Clearly, I've a lot to think about.

1 comment:

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

I loved reading this!

And did you see the article I posted the other day about the difference in writing by hand or typing? It's definitely true for me, though typing IS faster...