My Journal and Life Writing workshop is fast approaching on 16 April and in preparation, I decided to look back through some of my very early journalling efforts to see how I got started.
I was at high school .. it was 6 March 1974 when I took an exercise book, sat down that evening, and began writing.
My reason for starting was as follows:
"Yesterday I saw Susan writing a diary in her usual open manner, telling everyone what she was writing and how very private it was. Hmm. She was also writing about how she had lost a boyfriend because of her diary. Apparently she had written something horrid about him and he had read it. So, I thought, lots of things happen to me, and some I don't want to forget (some I do), so I may as well start writing them down. I was kinda sorry I hadn't started a diary sooner but I hadn't thought of it. Anyway, I've done it now so I guess we may as well get on with it."
Back then we called them 'diaries' because we associated the word 'journal' with the school journals we used to get in Intermediate and Primary school - and keeping a 'diary' meant writing in something that was deliciously secret, those around us wondering constantly if they were 'in it' and being 'written about' and 'could they have a read?' And of course, we diarists were only too happy to drop tantalizing tidbits of information about our scandalous entries. It was a power thing.
I've kept a journal ever since - the photo above shows 'the pile' of books I've scribbled in over the years, that I have lugged around the world with me, which I now have snuggly secured in some cardboard wine boxes under my desk - perfect location in ideal receptacles. The content of these journals has moved on from the school days, I have to say, but they are reflective of my life, in so many ways, and at so many stages and phases.
You're never too young or old to start journalling. Just pick up a pen and go for it. However, you might want to start your journal on a computer or tablet. Saves having to cart all that paper around ...