Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Must Have: A Journal

In my "Must Have: 25 Things a Goth Needs" post, I gave a list of things that, to me, would come in handy for the everyday spooky-type. Now, as I was reading over the list I came across one of the entries and decided that it merited its own post. What am I talking about? For number five on the list I claimed that Goths should carry a journal and I'd like to expand on that a bit more today.

Source: CafePress

Why Journal? There really is no answer for this question that works for everybody. You can journal for any reason and about anything. There's the traditional diary-style journaling where you discuss your day, there are daily sketch journals, there are journals for scraps of creative writing, there are journals for outfit planning, there are journals for healthy lifestyles (such as the Batfit 2012 journals), wine journals, there are journals for Pagans and Wiccans who want to record their practicing, there are catch-all journals for all of these ideas and more.

I began a catch-all journal during ninth grade because the writing classes I was taking required it and it has truly been a help as far as my life goes. Currently as a senior I've filled out over twenty journals. In them I record scraps of poetry and fiction, quotes that I hear and like, outfits, to-do lists, song lyrics, silly thoughts, and (more recently) blog post ideas and drafts. I really feel lost without at least one journal on me at all times (yes, I have more than one. I'll show you another one later in this post.)

What style of journal you get really depends on your personal tastes and what you plan on doing in it. Generally, you can get three types of paper in the journal: lined, unlined, and grid lines. Depending on what you plan on using this journal for, you can get what type works best for you (for example, getting a lined journal when you are going to be using it mostly for sketches might not be a good idea for some people.) Then there's how they clasp (generally magnets, strings, etc. if there is a clasp at all) and if they have any decorations on the pages. The front cover really matters to some people, while others thrive with one that they can customize on their own. I stand by what I said in the other post, though: Halloween is the best time to find scrapbook stickers and such to decorate journals, planners, etc. with. The way that the book is bound sometimes matters to people. For example, I can't stand spiral bound journals. They just don't work for me, but I know many that love them.

A journal itself shouldn't be too terribly hard to make, if you're feeling crafty. As a general rule, the outside cover should be of somewhat sturdy card stock, cardboard, or something else semi-thick and the inside paper can be whatever you want. If not, Etsy has some great ones (though their prices vary) and even Barnes & Noble has a few Goth appropriate journals.

There are a few benefits to journaling that I think worth mentioning. Firstly, and this is a big one for me, is for handwriting practice. For the holidays I was the lucky recipient of a set of calligraphy pens and I've been brushing up on my penmanship in hopes of being able to show it off to penpals in the near future. If you commit yourself to writing a bit more every day then your handwriting is bound to improve at least a little bit (particularly if you don't rush.) Another one, which perhaps lends itself best to people who use their journals as daily diaries, is to have a place to vent. I am a firm believer in the fact that keeping something pent up inside is the worst way to cope and though some are not able to have someone to vent to, a diary is always there for you. While some types of journal use don't appear to be very helpful for venting, more of them work than you would think. Even drawing can lend itself to venting, just look through the Fuck Yeah Moleskins tumblr and among the drawings you can see a lot of posts that express some kind of pent up emotion in the journal keeper.

A fashion journal seems kind of counteractive if you keep an outfit blog but, to me, it's almost cute in a way. If you have a Polaroid camera (oh, am I jealous if you do) you can take pictures of your outfits, paste them into the journal and on the next page write about the outfit: what the occasion was, what pieces are in it, where they came from, how much they were, if you liked the outfit, what you would do to change it, etc. Personally I would have fun with that because it's an easy way to show your fashion growth and I'm a bit of a frivolous person and just enjoy clothes a lot.

The blogging journal is another kind of journal that I find to be extremely inspirational. Just think: an evolving collection of blog post ideas, drafts of articles, inspiration, blogging goals, new theme ideas, etc. Perhaps a blogging journal could also include interview notes or clipped articles that need responding to, which could be spontaneous things.Of course, since I spend a lot of time on my computer I keep a file that has all of this for me, but I find that writing out the ideas takes longer and therefore gives me more time to reflect on whether or not I would really enjoy writing the post.

However, you can't rightly journal if you've left your journal at home or don't have a pen. I've found that buying a smaller journal that can fit into my purse is the only way that I use it regularly and keeping a ball point pen tucked into the spine really helps with the regular journaling. Not every kind of journal needs to be written in daily, I don't know anyone that keeps a daily wine journal, but it works for others.

But what about other types of journals? What you see above is my Q&A A Day journal. While daily diary entries can take up a lot of time, this type of journaling takes up hardly five minutes a day. The basic concept of the journal is that there are 365 questions with slots for you to answer each question five times (so you keep the journal for five years, presumably reading back to see how you've changed over time.) The questions have ranged thus far from "What's the oldest thing you're wearing today?" to "Today you lost ______." to "What art movement best describes you today?" Since each slot for answering the question only has four lines, there's no room for expounding at length and you can save time by only journaling for five minutes each day. Besides, you have a prompt, which I always find useful.

What about you? Do you keep a journal? What do you use it for?

1 comment:

  1. Yes!!! I totally keep a journal. Having a journal sucks. Anymore ideas on creepy journalism?