Handwritten pages and fountain pens remind me of my mother.
Her handwriting was beautifully cursive.
She wrote with a Parker fountain pen
filled with turquoise Quink ink.
I have been an intermittent journal keeper for years.
Is ‘charmed’ the correct way to describe how I feel about journal writing? Maybe. Certainly there is an excitement about coming to the end of one journal and the idea of ‘finding’ another book in which to record elements of life.
Journaling is a two-part pleasure: the first is the recording and reflective process that unfolds; the second is my love of the handwritten word … with a fountain pen … filled with royal blue Quink ink.
Opening the pages of completed journals provide insights to a younger me. Is this is my writing? Certainly the hand is mine, but the thoughts! The reflections! The emotions! Mine? Truly, they are. Reading the rawness of emotional angst and then witnessing that shaft of light as it breaks through and a new season of growth shapes itself.
Why then, when the pages reveal personal growth, do I stop recording the processes that bring the break throughs? It takes twenty-one days to establish a habit. I know that regular journal entries keep up the momentum of processing thoughts. Simply getting the thoughts from cognitive to written form is a powerful tool. Knowing how helpful it is to journal on a regular basis I ask again why do I stop so regularly and have to start again?
Early in September I read about an open 30-day challenge forum for people who are investigating the habit of keeping an electronic journal, and curious about the benefits. Once you’ve signed up two prompts are emailed to you daily: a main prompt and an alternate prompt. Of course should neither prompt appeal then free journaling is the go, the prompts are just that and only there to help establish a habit.
I signed up to discover whether I could sustain a digital habit where I struggled to maintain a regular routine with a written journal. Yesterday we reached mid-point in the challenge and I am happy to report – so far so good.
I’ve posted each day, sometimes three times a day. Some days both prompts are so provocative I am at the keyboard for more than an hour. Other days neither prompt appeals, then I record the best part of my day or a reflection of the work day.
Another benefit of the challenge has been the opportunity to trial different digital journaling applications: DayOne, Diaro, Journal to Health, Writr and others. My first digital entry was recorded in DayOne in June 2012 – just the one entry; July 2013 to May 2014 – 10 entries. I’ve stuck with DayOne, not because it ticks all the boxes but, because it is most user friendly and records each entry separately – three entries in one day are recorded as individual entries.
My digital journal’s calendar of entries is filling up with more blue dates (journal entries) than ever before. Sixteen days into October and there are already twenty-four entries. Twenty-one days to establish a habit which means five days to go …