I’ve been writing a lot these past two weeks. Not working on my future famous novel, because my laptop is still as dead as a doornail, but instead I’ve been kicking it old school, and writing down a stream of consciousness by hand in a notebook. I’ve written before about how keeping a diary has kept me sane. This is kind of like that.
The new shop can get pretty quiet in the mornings, and I figured bringing a book to read would be a bit conspicuous. So instead, I purchased a cheap notebook. If I’m writing, to passers by it would just look like I’m working. It also has the bonus of, y’know…being writing. Writing, in any form, is the thing getting me by at the moment. It’s been difficult to find time to sew, and even though I started trying to learn the violin the other day, I still need to work out how to tune it before I can practice properly. Writing in this notebook is easy because I can do it at work.
I’ve been going through a pretty confusing and difficult adjustment, the details of which I won’t bore you with…again. But suffice to say, I’m in a pretty low state for a lot of reasons. So I’ve been writing down the things in my head, to get them down on paper and clear out the murky mess that is my headspace. It’s helped more than I could have hoped. I’ve been able to work through some issues objectively and rationally. I’ve been able to make sense of things that have been messing with my head. I’ve been able to deal with this giant whirlwind of emotions that has been threatening to engulf me for months, if I’m being honest.
In addition to the therapeutic side of this exercise, it’s also a good way to keep creative. I write about people I meet and things I see. I’ve been drafting patterns ideas for projects I want to make. I’ve even begun developing some characters for a new story I have forming in my brain bits. They say the pen is mightier than the sword, and in my case that rings true. Which is lucky, really, because I was never coordinated enough to play with swords anyway.
For a few years now, I have kept a diary. As a writer (and aspiring author) who deals mostly with a laptop, I find the act of putting an actual pen to paper quite therapeutic. There’s something different about writing with an actual pen, and in the case of my diary writing, fountain pens in particular. I get caught up in the way my hand moves across the page and the way words form. I think writing by hand is such a beautiful and under-appreciated art.
My diary is the keeper of secrets, like a close friend, or an extension of myself that I tell my darkest thoughts to. Writing in a diary is a way to clear my head of all the thoughts that can sometimes overwhelm it. Those thoughts can be as simple as a five word sentence, or as detailed as a passage that goes for three pages. I occasionally read over the entries and get taken aback by how much negativity I seem to spill out. And then I remember that that is the purpose of my diary.
Sometimes you have things that you feel as though you can’t tell anyone. It’s not that they won’t understand – though perhaps they won’t – but you don’t want to burden them with all your issues. Your friends, your family, your work mates; they all have lives of their own and you have to respect sometimes that they might not want to, or might not be capable of dealing with your problems as well as their own. And for me, that’s where my diary comes into play. It is, I suppose, a way to vent to something that won’t be burdened by the things in my head.
Keeping a diary is beneficial to me in a lot of ways. I can keep up the practice of writing by hand, which I find both calming and cathartic. I have a way to rid myself of negative thoughts, by putting them down on paper. It helps to clear my head, and seeing the things that are worrying me written down also helps to work through them. Many people keep a diary for the same reasons, and there is definitely a reason I started writing my thoughts down so many years ago.
It can be the smallest, simplest things that can be the most rewarding. And that, among all the other reasons, is why I write. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it; writing really is my saviour.