28 December 2009

Journal Writing

by Morgan Barnhart

I am subscribed to an e-newsletter about freelance writing. I quite enjoy it since it's a very real account of the freelance world and how to better ourselves as a freelance writer.

However, today's email made me want to unsubscribe real quick. He was mocking people who write in journals simply because he did not understand why people had to write every detail of their life onto paper. He made fun of it repeatedly which really made me question this man's true ability to write.

Whether someone chooses to write in a journal about their daily lives or not is completely up to them. Personally I find it rather freeing. In one part he states, "You’d have to be pretty self-unaware to get your first inkling about your mental state from writing it down."

This statement is false on so many levels. It's not that we're self-unaware of what we're doing or how we're feeling, we just like to write it down because it helps us get our thoughts out on paper and focus instead of having it trapped inside our heads. Writing down your thoughts is a cleansing experience, one that most psychologists will tell their patients to perform.

Not only that, but sometimes I just want an account of my life, just so I can go back and read about it later, in case I had forgotten it, since my memory seems to be failing more and more these days (and I'm only 25! How bad is that?).

He also stated this, at the very end: "The danger is that you become so convinced that your writing is helping that you don’t actually take any steps to put things right. You think the simple physical act of writing will work the oracle on its own, when it doesn’t."

That coming from a man who hasn't even done it. He makes it seem like such a horrible thing to write down how you're feeling. I get the feeling he wasn't given many hugs as a child.

I don't know how many times I've come to a revelation by writing down my thoughts. Did I think the problem was fixed just because I wrote it down? Oh frick no. I would have to be crazy to think that. But I did act on the decision right then and there. That's how writing it out helped me; to act on a decision.

To be closed minded as a writer is a tragedy. As writers we need to be as open minded about every form of writing that there is. We don't have to understand it or do it ourselves, but we should at least be aware and understand that it works for some. But to blatantly make fun of people who write in this form makes me truly wonder about their own writing ability.

But hey, to each their own, right?


  1. yeah, he doesn't really know what he is talking about. he's just trying to sound advanced or something.

  2. I believe that each of us has to do what we feel is best for us, and not worry what other people think (within reason, of course).

    That being said - whoever wrote that piece is an anomaly to me...

    I agree with your thoughts whole-heartedly and to add to it...Psychologists even advise people who have anger issues with others to write a letter to that person letting them know exactly how you feel. Even if you don't deliver it - the act of expressing those feelings is cathartic.

    I don't keep a journal - but at one point in my life (I call it "The Black Period") I did and it helped me get through some pretty tough times.

    It seems to me that this person won't entertain the thought of a journal because they perceive it as a sign of weakness.

    If you ask me - tht's pretty weak itself.