The only thing I enjoyed about high school Composition was that the teacher gave us time (maybe fifteen minutes) at the beginning of class to write in our journals. He would not read them or grade them, he just wanted us to write.
Everyone around me would moan about not knowing what to write about, but I had no such troubles. The topics aren't particularly interesting (grades, assignments, unrequited crushes, body issues, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and REPEAT), but I get a lot of amusement out of remembering what was important to me at the time.
In college I kept a journal as well, and now have many special memories locked away forever that I would have otherwise forgot.
Since graduating, I have stopped. I think this is because if I have time to write, I try to write fiction. And of course, now I blog as well.
But there is something to be said for writing to yourself. While abroad, my boyfriend (now husband) and I kept journals that we exchanged when we were together and poured over, as if we could live each others' experiences in fast forward. However this made me more aware of what I wrote, and there is a marked decrease in writing about my body in these journals and, sadly, absolutely no descriptions of cute guys, either.
You'd think I'd be a fan of food journals, what with my journal writing history and lifelong struggle to accept my body, but I loath them. They're like crack to my guilt addictions.
However, I've been thinking about keeping a writer's journal. I could jot down brief notes on how I feel my writing is going that week. Not necessarily plot-specific notes, just notes about the process itself. The reason is that I seem to have a very selective memory.
The last few weeks have been unusual, and I haven't written much. Of course ten days of that was vacation, and while I often berate myself for not writing more--"Neil Gaiman is always writing on planes and in airports. Why can't you?"--I'm just not that kind of writer, not usually, anyway. Instead I've been swanning around, telling my husband that I haven't written in AGES and what if I just don't KNOW HOW anymore?
He always stares at me in amazement and says something encouraging like, "You were just writing a ton the other day. And we've been busy."
But I fret and blame myself, and gorge myself on mind-numbing blogs and generally do a very good job of proving to him and everyone else that I am not, in fact, writing.
Maybe in my idea journal, I'll reserve the left side of the pages for my new writing journal. I can already see the beginning to my first entry:
"Dear Jennifer, Get back to work."