I have never kept (or even started) a diary. Well, not a proper ‘Dear Diary—this-is-what-I-was-doing-this-is-what-I-was-feeling’ kind of diary . . .
(To clarify—I do keep a date-diary for important things (‘pay day’, ‘holidays start tomorrow’, ‘day trip to Forster with Pammy’) and appointments (‘M, M, & M due to get their nails done this week’) because my old brain just doesn’t remember these things for itself any more and there are only so many post-it notes that fit around the edge of my computer.)
. . . but I had also never really felt any deep-seated urge to write my daily thoughts and feelings down on paper either. Truth be told, before I started this blog I never wrote much of anything—apart from a couple of short paragraphs in our college brochure each term (which I was coerced into by my boss I might add.)
However, now that I am writing more (and kinda-sorta-sometimes enjoying it) I can see that there might well be advantages to writing something . . . anything . . . every single day. I can go for days and days without putting pen to paper because I ‘can’t think of anything interesting to write’. I have the same issue when it comes to sketching (I can’t decide what to draw—so I don’t draw anything. Sigh.) The fact that I know that the longer I leave it the more difficult it becomes to start up again appears to hold little sway.
But a diary? No, I don’t really think a diary is for me. I would have nothing as sensational to write in it as Oscar Wilde, but even if I did (or maybe, especially if I did) I am not sure I would want to commit it to paper. It seems to me that private diaries seldom remain private.
Still, I definitely could benefit from the discipline of writing every day, and thinking about this reminded me of a book I read years ago ‘The Artist’s Way‘ and Julia Cameron’s ‘Morning Pages. What are morning pages? Morning Pages are one of the basic tools Julia advocates for unleashing creativity.
‘Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages—they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind—and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page . . .
and then do three more pages tomorrow.’
(Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way)
I remember when I read this book all those years ago I thought these morning pages sounded a bit . . . ‘Really? Sigh. How that is going to work? Maybe I’ll give them a go. Some day . . . ‘ But I never did. Maybe I wasn’t ready then. Perhaps I am now. Now I kind of like the idea of writing without thinking and not having to worry about spelling, or grammar, or making sense to anyone else. I like the idea of doing them longhand (perhaps I can even doodle around the edges and that will cover me for the ‘draw something every day’ (unkept) promises I also made to myself) and I also especially like the fact that (unlike a diary) I can tear the pages up immediately afterwards if I want to, so no-one is ever going to read them (ever) but me.
At worst I will have wasted a little (more) time in the morning. At best—well, who knows. I might surprise myself. Anyway, my creativity could do with a bit of unleashing so I’m going to give them ago. I’ll let you know how I get on.
But until then, just so you know I am not a complete diary-phobe, I thought I’d finish with an excerpt from a diary I read just the other day . . .
Evening: Ate grass.
Night: Ate grass. Decided grass is boring.
Scratched. Hard to reach the itchy bits.
Diary of a Wombat