For most of my life I've kept a journal. At first it felt awkward to share my feelings, so I filled it with a boring list of my daily activities, but nothing more. After several weeks, however, something happened. I started to feel something. It was almost like I'd created a confidant and sharing my feelings, my dreams and my disappointments became easier. Every night before going to bed, I'd fill page after page of who I wanted to be and what I wanted out of my life. My childhood was, to say the least, psychologically debilitating, so along with the happy times, I recorded my fears and a lot of anguish. To avoid my father's verbal abuse, I spent a lot of time alone in my room and my journal became my best friend. Without it, my life would have been so different.
Now that I'm older--much older--I still find my journal to be a huge part of my life. I don't write every day, even though I know I should, but when I'm stressed or feeling I need to purge my feelings, I always turn to my old friend. Being able to take my emotions and write them down gives me a great deal of relief. It clears my head and helps me sort things out so that I can deal with them better.
As a writer, I find the same thing is true with "free writing." When I'm stuck on a scene or in a characters head, I turn to a pile of spiral notebooks, open a blank page and record everything that comes into my head. It may only take one or two pages to loosen up the muse, or it may take dozens, but it always gets my creative juices flowing and I'm able to free up whatever is holding me back.
Some of my friends do similar things to record their feelings or boost their creativity. Many use an online journaling program, but I find that putting pen to paper helps make the process more personal. It's like going back to my roots when I was lost and alone and being able to find myself all over again.
So, do you journal? How do you record your feelings or loosen your creativity? I'd like to know.