As with starting any new habit, the journal writing challenge is not without its own… challenges. One of the challenges I’ve found with journal writing by hand in my Evernote Moleskine notebook is that it doesn’t really let you add things like photos or clippings. For example, the other day I was at the park with my daughter and we were having a blast. At that moment I wanted to snap a photo and include it in my journal entry for the day, but then I realised that it couldn’t be done. Sure I could have printed the photo and then stuck it in, but then in a few months or years the photo would stick to the opposite page and rip. Not cool.
This problem has really called me to question whether using a physical journal is going to be better than a virtual journal such as Evernote, or Day One. If I was using Evernote, for example, then as soon as the time was right I could have snapped a photo of my daughter playing, added it into a new note and made a few quick observations that I could expand on later.
Can you see the problem with this?
While I’m taking the photo and making a few comments, I’m not being with my daughter, not being present, and so am missing out on much more than the opportunity to make a few observations. I’d rather be present than be stuck in my phone when I’m spending time with my family.
I have encountered another problem with putting pen to paper, and that is time. It takes more time for me to write out my thoughts than it does to type them out. My days are pretty hectic – it’s go go go. As soon as the kids wake up in the morning, I’m off to work, I commit my day there, then it’s back home, dinner with the family, bath the kids (they’re still little so that’s ok) and put them to bed – I try to give my wife this time to get some head space – anyone with young kids knows what I’m talking about here, they don’t give you much time to yourself. After they’re in bed, it’s time to clean up and I still need to actually spend some time with my wife. By this time it’s pushing 9pm and I’m exhausted. I’m sure that you can understand the time pressures we all feel today. So where then do we find time to sit quietly and scribble down some thoughts? By late evening my mind is so fried all I can think of is getting to sleep.
There are many evangelists that will say you should get up earlier and use the quiet of the morning for solitude and reflection. Hell no! I need my sleep!
I’ve found that I can get some writing done, at least for this blog, on the train to and from work. But of course, trying to use pen and paper on a moving locomotive doesn’t work out to well.
What I’ve done to make sure I get something written is allocate just 15 minutes each night between cleaning up and crashing on the couch. This 15 minutes is my launch pad. If I write for that amount of time then that’s good enough, but if I get into a groove, I can write for an hour or more pretty easily. But, and there’s always a but, if I spend an evening writing, or working on some other projects, I need to make sure I make up that time with my wife. And so some days I just leave the notebook in my bag and just spend time with her.
All Most things come in threes and journal writing challenges are no exceptions. I am struggling to make my writing seem worth it to me. What ends up on the page is often a recount of my day, not a mirror of my soul as I had hoped. I’m hoping that the more I write, the better I can become at getting in touch with my soul again, to better understand myself. The motivation I have are the pages being filled. The more I write, the more I want to write, but also the more I want it to be the right words.
What challenges are you facing?