social spark Aisling Beatha: To Journal


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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To Journal

I tried to find a definition of the verb "to journal" to share with you, but apparently it is not yet a real word. It is not correct to use journal as a verb.

The closest I came was this:
  1. The activity of keeping a diary, also known as journal.

Well yes, at it's most basic form I suppose that is what journaling is about, but that definition misses out so much of what journaling is about, so much of the potential that can be tapped through journaling.

What brought on this search for a definition?

Well, over the last week or so I have come across a number of different "creative" methods to use in a journal. All of them are very interesting.

I have a friend who cuts pictures and words out and sticks them in, sometimes with the addition of extra colour on the page and so on.
I came across people who do that but completely fill their pages, rather than just one or two items.
I read the blogs of a lot of people who use their cameras as part of their journaling and others who doodle their journaling. I came across people who use a lot of colour in their journaling and others who even kind of doodle their sermon notes on a Sunday morning. Some people I came across put all that creativity into an online journal only, rather than having a paper one at all. I even did a bit of "praying in colour" which is a fascinating process. Lots and lots of creative ideas, lots and lots of inspiration to maybe do things a little differently.

And maybe I will try them, but I doubt I will do any more than try them once in a while. I doubt they will ever be more than a sprinkling through my journals.


I realised this week, as I was looking at these other methods, these other ideas, that to me WRITING is important, that scratching of pen across paper, the flow of the ink from the nib, the marks left behind that are there for as long as the paper lasts, recorded forever, or almost. The process, is AS IMPORTANT AS THE RESULT. I love to write in my journal because it helps me think , it helps me work out what I think, I pray in my journal, I cry in my journal, I experience joy and sadness, delight and desperation in my journal. And I do all that in plain, ordinary ink, on plain, ordinary paper, no glue, no doodles, no pictures, just pen on paper, the way hundreds of generations of people have done before me.

YES, I COULD try those other methods and once in a while I probably will, but plain, writing on a page is more than just what "works" for me, it is part of what makes me who I am.

I write, it's WHO I AM!

Oh and BTW sis, if you're reading this. I planned on writing this blog post before the lovely journal you sent me for my birthday arrived in the post today! THANKS! I shall use it as a separate journal specifically for my trip to America.


  1. I doubt the Christianity of this, but on a counselling course, I came across the Jungian practice of drawing a circle and filling it with doodles. It does present something quite fundamental after the first awkward marks. I like the idea of words and pictures, without the need to connect much together too coherently!

  2. Oh I loved this post. Some interesting ideas you shared. I like the idea of cutting and pasting and think I might try that for fun. I am like you I have a prayer journal and it is filled with hopes, dreams, yearnings and hurts and anquish. I try to include Praise. That is something I am working on.
    Thanks for sharing this. I enjoyed reading it.
    See you for coffee?

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