Some of you may know that I carry a little notebook with me 24/7. And if you don’t, well… I carry a little notebook with me 24/7. Twenty-four-seven. I don’t mean “most of the time” or “basically 24/7…” I mean I carry this sucker of a journal with me on a night out (you can check my purse). I haven’t talked about it much here, so I thought I’d share why it’s such an important part of my day to day life and why you should keep one of your own.
I wouldn’t call it a diary, because I feel like that restricts what I can write in it—but I suppose that depends on what you define a diary to be. I keep just about everything in my journal; experiences, thoughts, potential blog posts, ideas for books and films, addresses, to-do… Some people refer to it as the Song Bible but I’m not particularly sure where that came from (I didn’t come up with that).
By the way, I do apologize for the scrumptious baking. I’ve been bed bound sick and missed world nutella day… How did you expect me to survive? (I will share the recipes if you so desire!)
I started my first journal when I was at a real low several years ago, and I just narrated my life. I wrote everything that happened as if I were in a novel, and sooner or later I began narrating everything in my head as it happened (which lead me to writing books!). Then when I started writing books, I would write everything in these books before typing them up (I still do this, but I’ll share my writing process for another time). So a massive chunk of my journal is filled with fictional nonsense that probably doesn’t make one bit of sense. And amongst it are other ideas and thoughts I have in the real world.
Do you organize your journal, Song? Not one bit, and I’ll tell you why.
The same reason I don’t keep a separate notebook for different topics—it creates too much hassle, and frankly, defeats the whole purpose of keeping one… to relive stress! I write whatever comes to my mind on the next page, regardless if it falls next to a sappy poem or Mom’s new home address. This way when I go back, I can remember my thoughts chronologically. Which is pretty damn cool years later.
(And it makes it harder for other people to read it).
Why is it so important for you to have?
Because no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I know that I can scribble it on a page I’m going to keep forever. And you could argue that you could do this just as easily on your phone… but come on. Writing it down will help you remember it, and technology is crazy unreliable. Plus, there’s something very satisfying flicking through hundreds of memories in your own handwriting. You’ll remember you wrote it in the end.
So with further or do, here are some reason why you should start keeping a “diary-bible” of your own—because I can’t tell you how many times it’s pulled me out of a slump.
To record your ideas.
I don’t know how many times I’ve witnessed friends on the verge of combustion because they can’t remember something brilliant they thought of an hour ago. You never know when you’re going to have a lightbulb! So don’t risk it. Write it down. You might not need it now, but having it in ink on a page might pay of someday when you’re having a blank.
It’s acceptable at the dinner table.
I’m going to defend the notebook versus the phone case once more. It doesn’t have the same benefits as typing your ideas into a phone does. Also, you can have it out just about anywhere! (Without worrying about its battery life). It’s going to be a lot less offensive having a journal out when you’re at a family gathering than a phone screen. And I bring it to class every day without anyone blinking an eye. Can you imagine the looks I’d get if my phone was out? The thoughts never stop flowing. Don’t risk losing any of them!
To keep your mind fresh.
This is where the well-being part of a journal really kicks in. I have a tendency to become the depressed artist (woe is me), and everything around me becomes dark and empty. All of us have those bad days. But I am absolutely awful at venting, so this was how I found I could release my stress—by writing down anything and everything that’s going through my head. There are some things you just can’t tell others, and that’s okay… You don’t have to! Really, you never know how beneficial this can be until you try it for yourself. Then when you go read it later, you can see how far you’ve come. Which leads me to the next thing.
To watch yourself grow.
I’ve filled 4 books, front to back, filled with everything in my life since I started recording it. I don’t do it often, but I love flipping through and rediscovering thoughts I was having years ago. Simply reading it brings me back to when and where I was writing it. Or who I was writing about (I rarely write names). It’s nice to see how I overcame many of the struggles in my life, and how I saw the world differently. On a completely different aspect, I get to observe how far I’ve come as a writer. I only realized this recently, but my writing has changed so much in a few years (and for the better, thank god). It’s incredible! But these are the things that aren’t easy to see for yourself. So record what you can.
To keep yourself inspired!
AH, artist slump! You didn’t write those ideas down for nothing. When you’re drawing an absolute blank and you need to come up with something juicy, flip through your pages and watch the lightbulb begin to flicker again. I guarantee you’ll have forgotten about some of those brainstorms. Or maybe you’re just in a general, unmotivated slump. Give your own words a read—you’ll be surprised what you’ll be motivated to do next. Or what might make you smile. I was sitting in a café just last week, feeling like I had nothing going for me, and I flipped through a few pages—smiled at a memory, thinking that happened—then came across an old idea made up of 4 words and thought Song, you’re a genius! And pro tip: write down your dreams when you have them. I do this every morning and it’s a life saver!
I could not recommend this more to anyone. You’re going to love flicking through your life 5 years from now—there’s nothing quite like your story being told by you to you. I protect my notebook like it’s my baby—it’s personal to the limits, but it wouldn’t be worth it if it wasn’t.
Do you keep a journal? What do you keep in it?