The art of keeping a journal
Frida Kahlo kept one. So did Susan Sontag, Virginia Woolf and Oscar Wilde. Anaïs Nin diligently wrote in hers from the age of 11 until her death at 74. For many artists, writers and poets, keeping a journal is an essential part of the creative process.
Their reasons for doing so, however, are as varied as their art. Some see a journal as an unfiltered conduit to their unconscious. Others use it as a way of recording notes, ideas, observations that they can later use as a snippet or a springboard to new work.
In her essay On Keeping A Notebook, Joan Didion wrote that “the point of my keeping a notebook has never been, nor is it now, to have an accurate factual record of what I have been doing or thinking.” For Didion, the point is instead to trigger a feeling, evoke a time. “Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point,” she writes. Without this conscious remembering, she believes, “We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.”
Beyond the creative realm, there are other benefits of keeping a journal, including both physical and emotional health benefits.
A new year is as good a time as any to start a journal practice but if you’re new to the art of journaling, deciding what to write about can seem a daunting task. In her influential book The Artists’ Way, writer Julia Cameron advocates for simply writing whatever pops into your mind. She calls the practice the ‘morning pages’: “three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. … Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow.”
Note the idea of writing by hand – far more meaningful and nuanced than simply typing another missive and saving it to a cluttered desktop or notes app. For unfettered creativity, use an unlined journal and add photographs, sketches and mementos as a visual accompaniment to your writing. Slowly build your journal over time and the experience will be as uniquely personal as your own mind.
And if you’re still unsold on the merits of keeping a journal, consider Oscar Wilde’s perspective in The Importance of Being Earnest: “I never travel without my diary,” he writes. “One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
Our new Journals come in a set of three and are bound in matte black. Each journal is lightly scented with our evocative Cuban Tobacco fragrance to elevate your writing even further.
Written by Michelle Bateman