Back in my first or second (?) year in high school, I happened to catch Harriet the Spy on TV. It stars Michelle Trachtenberg. I don’t remember much of the movie anymore but to provide a gist, it is about a little girl named Harriet who wants to be a spy. She brings a private journal everywhere to record her observations about the people around her and her friends. Everything backfired when a classmate found her journal and exposed everything she wrote about everybody resulting to everyone hating her. I really don’t recall what happened next and I don’t want to write about that because this post is not about Harriet the Spy. It is about how I got into writing in the first place and I owe it all to Harriet and her private journal.
After watching the movie, I got inspired and created my own private journal – a notebook with the word “PRIVATE” on the cover. It is like a diary – I wrote the time, what happened during the day, my thoughts, my crush and love problems, etc. I wrote everywhere – on the jeep going to school, during classes, even during a school dance. I was addicted to writing my thoughts. I started writing in Tagalog until I shifted to writing in English in college. My writing evolved from recalling the events of the day to just plainly writing my thoughts. Now, it is just a form of outlet for me and a way of talking to God about everything under the sun. I have avoided a lot of arguments and fights by writing first to God and letting him neutralize the bad thoughts and emotions in me. I credit making well thought of decisions by writing to God first and allowing me to see the pros and cons to each decision and whether I can live with it after.
For me, writing is everything and I want to encourage everyone to write so here are my Top 5 reasons why you should write and keep a journal:
- It helps you connect and have a relationship with God. I treat my writing to God as my prayer because praying before sleeping has not been really effective to me, I usually end up sleeping through it. Discovering the fact that when I write, I can talk to God has made a lot of difference. I can’t really explain it, but yes, God can talk to you and He can lead you if you reach out to Him.
- Writing is an essential life skill. If you start young, you can ace all your essays in school. Seriously, my biggest strength as a student has always been essay exams. I also took IELTS last year and even though I got so nervous and wrote funny things, I still managed to get a 7 without practice. I guess years of journaling makes you a natural writer.
- Writing avoids unnecessary drama. Alfredo and I rarely fight because first, we have a chill and laid-back relationship. Two, I don’t nag when the hormones kick in. Instead, I pour out all my emotions on my Evernote and to God. Everything feels right after.
- Sometimes or most of the time (?), you don’t really need advice from other people. You only need to connect with yourself and lay down your cards. Writing has helped me evaluate every decision I need or I don’t need to make and whatever decision that is, I am able to live with it.
- You don’t need to find a friend to be a listening ear because you have someone on your hand and heart that is willing to listen, 24/7 – you just need to write. Hence, avoiding those long, emotional and annoying Facebook rants we see from other people.
So there’s that. A lot to gain and nothing to lose. Just a tip though, try and keep everything in digital format and put a password. Writing in physical notebooks is risky especially if you have snoopy people around you (and believe me, there always are) but I’m not going to talk about that because it hurts thinking about it.
I am going to end this post by including some of my favorite quotes about writing and keeping a journal.
“The act of writing is the act of discovering what you believe.” – David Hare
“There is something about journal writing that causes us to meditate, to recommit, and to receive spiritual impressions in the process of such pondering. Frequently, you will have cause to rejoice at how the Lord has been sensitively involved in guiding and watching over you and those you love and care about.” – L. Edward Brown
“Everyone should have a form of a diary. It’s a great release.” – Stanley Victor Paskavich
“What happens to us is not as important as the meaning we assign to it. Journaling helps sort this out.” -Michael Hyatt
“Whatever it is that you write, putting words on the page is a form of therapy that doesn’t cost a dime.” – Diana Raab
“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” – Natalie Goldberg
“I haven’t written for a few days, because I wanted first of all to think about my diary. It’s an odd idea for someone like me to keep a diary; not only because I have never done so before, but because it seems to me that neither I—nor for that matter anyone else—will be interested in the unbosomings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl. Still, what does that matter? I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart” – Anne Frank