Have you ever noticed how many authors keep journals? More than that, they’ve written daily in their journals since they were given one by their parents or a dear aunt when they were five years old. Or they took it up as a young teenager and never looked back. Almost invariably they started before they turned 20. Was it like that with you?
This month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group question prompt is: “How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?”
I wish I could find the proper post by that voluminous and most helpful blogger, Joanna Penn. Recently I read of how she — like so many — has kept journals since her teen years and that she can flip through them — and this is the image that stays with me: She describes how during times of great stress and upheaval (such as her divorce many years ago) that her entries were written in an unusual hand — large and loopy and full of the emotion of the moment. (I really do hope I’m remembering that correctly — that it was Penn. In any case, she’s always worth following. Find her at thecreativepenn.com and at @thecreativepenn on Twitter.)
When I read the question prompt from #IWSG my mind leapt immediately to journaling (or keeping a diary as they were called long ago. Dear Diary,…). Whatever you call it, I do recall writing regularly in a little book during a particular period of my life. Pages upon pages were inked (never pencil!). But then the little book was found and read by one I thought a friend. And I felt small and silly and violated. So I didn’t write again for a very, very, very long time.
Recently, a not-a-writer friend mentioned writing notes and ideas and thoughts but then, upon rereading them a few days later, destroying them as not worthy of pursuing. My mind balked at this: Wouldn’t it be a lark — if nothing else — to thumb back through earlier entries at some later date?
But maybe it’s enough: Just the act of writing it down. The thoughts that come streaming, flowing as the pen scrawls across the page, that wouldn’t have come to consciousness without the act of writing. The catharsis. The associations. The insights. The expression of heretofore inarticulate emotion.
The purpose of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! #IWSG