It all began on Christmas day in 1999 when my parents gave me my very first diary. The inside cover is proudly inscribed ‘By Lauren’, and the first entry simply says, ’My tooth felle out.’ Apparently I couldn’t spell when I was 6.
Journalling is something that I’ve grown to love over the past 15 or so years of my life, and I think it’s something that almost everyone has tried. My diary has, in a rather clichéd way, become like a place of comfort for me – a place to make sense of things that are senseless, and share joys and secrets without judgement or concern. It’s a beautifully simple way of talking about my life, and along with the cringes, it brings me a lot of smiles as I flick back through years of teenage trials, one-way conversations and various steps in my journey with God.
Journalling is not for everyone, and if you express yourself in other ways then hey – keep at it! If you’ve always wanted to give it a go, or you’re not sure where to start, then maybe my journalling experiences can help you out.
Although my first journal is from infants school, I didn’t start writing regularly until I was in year 7. Getting started was a new years resolution – not an uncommon one, I’m sure! I found myself unsure about what to write, so I introduced myself as if I were meeting a new friend. Some of the best advice I can give is to be real – don’t try to be Anne Frank (after all, who could be?) or have a ‘diary voice’ – put your own spin on things. One of the funny quirks I stumbled upon recently was on the first page of my year 8 journal. It reads, ‘Welcome to my life! The heading says it all… this is my life on paper. If you are reading this then you are either intruding (go away!) or are someone that I really trust. Please keep what’s on the paper on paper and secrets secret. You’re reading the detailed version of my life. Love from Lauren.’
It’s up to you how personal you get when you write – if the purpose of your journal is to record some semblance of events and compile memories of joyous times in your life, then do that. If you’re getting your heart out and you need a place to run to, then (trust me) it’s a great place to start. My diary contains everything from prayers and drawings to times of mourning, and incredible excitement. It traces a journey of, ‘I think I like a guy’, to ‘he asked me out!’ to ‘it’s our 5 year anniversary today.’ There’s tear stained ink, pages ripped out in anger, guest entries or ‘letters’ from friends (mostly written on school camps) and pockets full of photos, notes, invitations and brochures.
Some weeks I would write every single day, while others I wouldn’t write at all. Now, weeks or even months may pass before I spill out an 11 page essay about all the crazy and wonderful things that are going on. I’ve had to learn that it’s ok. Missing a day doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen, it just means that I enjoyed it in the moment. I think more people would journal if they continued with it long enough to come to this conclusion… or maybe we blog these days instead.
– Lauren x