I have kept a journal for over half of my life. Year after year, decade upon decade of experiences, feelings, events and people that shaped me into who I am today. In that time, whenever my journal has come up in conversation people ask the same two questions: “what do you write about?” and “How do you keep writing for so long?”
Self-expression comes in many forms
When I began my journal, my knowledge of journalling (or diarising) came directly from books and movies, in which pubescent girls used glittery pink pens to unfold their deepest secrets – usually relating to sibling rivalry or the cute boy at school. I thought that the purpose of a diary was as a repository for curly hearts with initials linked together – but I wasn’t interested in filling my pages with those. For a while I grew disheartened at my inability to keep a “proper” diary.
Many (many, many) years later I have learned the truth – that there are no rules to private self-expression. I write most days, but not all. I write about whatever I want. I will write one or two sentences, or I will write ten pages. It’s up to me.
If you have, or are looking to find, your own space to be creative, be careful not to put rules on yourself, as I did at age 11. Your creative space does not need to be guided by anybody, nor does it need to answer to anybody.
It’s never too late to start a journal. You can draw, or write, or both. Buy plain paper, lined or squared, coloured or white. Write about whatever comes to mind. Let your thoughts and emotions be free of rules.