Why you should make a summer journal

I always talk about how writing is so important to me. But in reality it’s been ages since I journaled. Like with a pen and paper and my thoughts. I used to write a lot when I was a child. I had teachers urging me to write stories for competitions and essays for school assemblies. As I grew older, my feelings about writing changed. If I did it for myself, it was a waste of what I had to offer. I wanted to write professionally and be treated as someone who had value to their words. In the struggle to come to terms with my mediocrity, I lost my love for personal writing. So this summer I want to get back to my roots. I’ve started a summer journal, and here’s why you should too.

You have a story to share
People always complain about writing and finding that inner voice. Don’t forget that writing is a skill that must be developed. When you start a journal, be free with your thoughts and allow them to guide you. Writing for yourself is an experience that only you can cultivate and enjoy. Improvement in your voice comes through feeling your own words and how they make you feel. And in the end if you’re happy with what you’ve done that’s what matters. A voice is strong and needs to be heard but first it must me spoken. Or in this case, written down! You don’t have to be fancy either. A summer journal can be any empty notebook. You can even make your own!

Don’t take yourself seriously
My dad told me once that my handwriting looks like a crow walked onto a piece of paper. Instead of putting all my effort into making my journal something beautiful… I’m allowing it to be a reflection of who I am. Give yourself room to express your true self. Sure you can obsess over beautiful Instagram worthy spreads and you can make them too! But if you’re feeling more stress than relief, give up the game and go all natural. A journal shouldn’t be a place where you judge yourself, it should help free you.

Make small notes if you have to
For me, everyday has been the same. I wake up, have tea, walk the dogs, come home and work until Sander comes home. Since the lockdown it’s been even more like this without any breaks. We can’t have adventures on the weekends or take the dogs out to run their buns off at the local park. If I have nothing interesting to talk about I jot down my feelings. And that’s enough. Don’t feel pressured into writing an essay every day. A summer journal can be as small or as big as you need it to be. Pace yourself and feel comfortable with what you can and can’t contribute. It’s ok!

Let yourself be inspired
Oh man, I have pages and pages of Pinterest journals saved. I also read other blogs and books that inspire me. I won’t even talk about how many Reddit pages about writing I’ve saved either… Don’t keep yourself stuck in a bubble. Get out there and explore other ways to express yourself because it’s the only way you can break out of a rut. And of course while “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” don’t let it go overboard. Figure out ways to inject your own flare into what you do. You’ll feel more attached to what you create, instead of recreating something someone else did.

It’s ok to have an off day
I believe that keeping a positive mind helps keep a positive soul. Have I reached that level of positivity? Absolutely not. I have terrible days where I don’t want to do anything. And then I have days where I’ve made a to do list and completed it all before dinner. The fact is that it’s ok for your journal to be filled with nonpositive writings. Did you have a terrible day at work? Write about it. Don’t allow yourself to drown in negative thoughts but use the moment to pull yourself up. Maybe I had a bad day because nothing went right and I couldn’t get anything done. I can write about it and why I’m frustrated. Then I can always make a note on how tomorrow is a new day and I can always try my best.

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