A few days ago my acquaintance Bakari Chavanu posted a link on Facebook to a 30-day Digital Journaling Challenge. It seemed up my alley—I’ve considered NaNoWriMo for years, but I’m more interested in blogging and composing articles than in trying my hand at writing a novel. I have mad respect and a slight bit of envy for my cool writer friends who can do that kind of thing. Digital journaling seems easier and more in line with my interests, so sure, why not? I signed up.
Apparently I’ll receive one or two daily journal-writing prompts in my inbox. My plan is to attempt to post one blog post a day, maybe here, maybe on other sites, for the next 30 days. What I write might not fall under the category of “journaling,” and that’s okay ‘cuz it’s my damn blog and I can write what I want. So let’s get started!
Day 1 Prompt:
Whether this is your first time journaling, or you’re an experienced journal keeper, it’s useful to reflect on what you want from your writing, or any new goal for that matter.
To kick off this month’s Digital Journal Challenge, write about why you want to keep a journal:
• What benefits are you hoping to experience?
• If you’ve kept a journal before, how has journaling been helpful to you in the past?
• How would you like journal writing to help you in your daily life?
• What issues do you think journaling could help you solve?
I primarily see this challenge as an opportunity to create a writing habit. I have been granted several amazing opportunities to contribute to different blog networks, but I rarely blog (which I feel crappy about). And it takes me a long time to put an article together because I’m nervous about putting my writing on the Internet for all to see—and potentially criticize—for all time.
I started this personal blog a few years ago partly so that I would have a space in which to write goofy or personal posts that would be easy and relatively fun to put together. I believed (and still believe) that it would be useful to get some blogging practice in a forum where not too many eyes would see my writing. I have used this blog occasionally for that purpose, but I still don’t tend to take the time to write articles. There are always emails to respond to and online articles to read! It’s easy to put off optional tasks that make me nervous.
I would also like to contribute meaningfully to some of the online conversations I see. I think I have good things to say sometimes. And I frequently come across interesting ideas that I’d like to share and get feedback on.
Back to the prompt. I have kept a journal before. I started my most recent dead-tree journal in 2000, a year that held several new beginnings for me. My entries tend to coincide with angsty periods of navel-gazing and too-deep self-reflection. Writing my feelings and perspectives down does help me to get a better handle on things; otherwise, the ideas and emotions swirl around my sleepless thoughts like an impressionist painting.
So I do believe that journal-writing, like mindful meditation, can indeed help in daily life. Perhaps this challenge will help me gain a truer appreciation for these activities. I usually don’t take the time.
I don’t know what issues journaling can help me solve. Perhaps I will worry less? Sleep better? Prioritize life activities more effectively? In each of those examples, I could imagine that journaling might help, but I usually don’t conceive of those issues as problems that can be solved. Things can change for the better, but it is also easy to let new habits slowly slip back into old ones.
But of course there is a more tangible issue that this challenge can help me address. I could become more comfortable with writing regularly and putting that writing online! And perhaps I’ll become a better writer for it. Maybe I’ll become a less-cautious writer. Either way, if I keep this up for 30 days, then by the time this is over I think I’ll have tripled my posts online.
How exciting! I wonder what I’ll be writing about?
Featured image from Jonathan Kim on Flickr.