Why You Sometimes DON’T Write in Your Journal

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Journal or Diary. Ever wonder what the difference is between the two?

Basically it’s like comparing the difference between reading a newspaper and reading poetry . . .  sort of.
The difference between a journal and a diary can be explained by saying that a journal is writing ones feelings, emotions, fears, and most intimate thoughts; whereas a diary is like a news report about you.

In a diary you write about your days or experiences. It’s more of a disciplined writing. You pick it up at the end of the day and log the events that happened. -Your assessment, your goals, your achievements, your failures, your targets. It’s about life happening everyday as a routine.

But in a journal you write about how you felt, or about a particular person, or just one thing that happened that affected you emotionally. Okay, maybe more like two or twelve things that affected our emotions. No editing, no thinking, just continuous thoughts pouring out on the paper.

So what was mine then, a diary or journal, when I started writing when I was 12 years old? Let’s see what you think. My last post (1*) showed the very first thing I wrote. Here are a few more that followed.

December 26, 1979
Tonight me, Mom, Kelly, and Susie went to Jack McGoverns Music Hall. It was GREAT. For dinner before we went to Black Angus. David and Dad went to Vancouver, Canada for one night. Me, Mom and Kelly went shopping all day. I got a dress and some sweaters. Bye… until tomorrow.

December 27 1979
Today I spent practically the whole day over at Eyde and Willmas house. (two dear friends down the street back then) I won the Monopoly game we played. (tons more stuff about that day but I’ll spare you and not jot it all down. Your welcome)

I think you can agree that I started it as a diary.
But as days and weeks and years went by the diary transformed into a journal.
Now, don’t laugh.

February 24, 1980
Diary – Today me and Willma went into Burien and bumbed around. the Olympics end tonight. It’s really been nice having them. I don’t want to go to school tomorrow cause it’s so boring and, well, very uninteresting. I was thinking more about Tim and thoughts of him don’t sound so negative anymore but it’s hard not to think of Jeff though. I say to myself that this is love and if it isn’t, what is?

1006022_0_lol-comedy-club_400

 

I said don’t laugh!

 

 

So many ‘him this’ or ‘he that’ or ‘I feel this way’ or ‘I feel that way’ or
‘I think that…’- ‘Why can’t I . . .’ or ‘I hope some day I’ll . . .’ in and out on every page.
So much more of my thoughts that were soaking inside my twelve year old brain.

But what I notice is that some of my most unforgettable events I did not write down.
Why? I think because I was at a loss for words on how to describe how I felt. But I think mainly because no reminders would be needed . . . ever.

Let’s see if you would need to write anything down to remember this.

Sax_625Let’s pretend you played saxophone all through high School. You played in the orchestra band and Jazz band. Of course you never got tired of playing in the marching band as well. (except when it rained during half time while marching all around)

 

Now, pretend it was the end of your senior year. The last High school concert you would ever be in took place, chairs filled to the brim with the student’s, families and friends. All the instrumental and singing groups performed. Now let’s say the last group preforming was the Jazz band. Time for the last song for the night. You felt honored to be the only one playing those last few notes that entire night. You even got the privilege of standing up as all the others sad to hear those last few pieces of perfectly played notes. My, what a privilege! You were a bit nervous of course because those last few notes of that last song you were to ever play you felt had to be perfect.

Time to stand. Time to start those four notes.
I can do it. These slow, easy notes were perfect when ever we practiced them.
1st note played- ‘Good. That was easy. Done.’
2nd note played – ‘Good. Done.’
3rd note played – ‘Oh what a relief – Good. Done. One more. I have to hold it longer, though.’
4th note started – ‘WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED ! One entire note too low! I can’t stop now and correct it! AND I have to play it LONG! HOW- EM.-BAAAAARRASSING !!  My LAST note I’ll EVER play is WRONG !”

So do you think YOU would ever forget that? No.
Do you think you would think ‘oh . . . I better write this down cause I might forget it.’ No.
I’ll tell you. I probably didn’t want to write it down hoping I WOULD forget it and wanted nothing to bring it back to life. Well, that didn’t work. I can still picture it all. Almost too perfectly as you can tell.

I will end my story by saying how that one incident still holds the award for the most embarrassing situation that’s ever happened. I now wish I did write what happened down, wanting to see what my vocabulary would have been like in my writing. But again, maybe it’s best I didn’t.

I’m thankfully laughing right now while typing this, and I think God is giggling right along with me.

What is your most embarrassing experience? Come on. Tell all. I dare ya.

1* – click to read why I think all should keep a journal.

 

Marianne Petersen is the author of a forthcoming early spring memoir, God and My Pillow. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, marimemoirs.com.

 

 Why You Sometimes DON’T Write in Your Journal

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