Old Fashioned Journals

Does anybody write in old fashioned journals anymore? People love Moleskines. I’ve never written in one, but the appeal of it seems so nice. Hipster-esque almost, but a regular 70 page spiral notebook works just as well for me.

Is the regular journal becoming obsolete? With new media being more accessible, you can have a private blog without the hassle of writing in a notebook. A plus of creating a private blog is the ability to modify themes, colors, and add images with the click of a button. Another benefit is that you don’t ever have to worry about someone finding it. (Besides, maybe hackers, but then they don’t know us, so who cares?) Isn’t that our worst fear though? Having someone find our journal and read everything that we’re really thinking about?

With these benefits, I can see why people prefer to keep a private blog rather than a handwritten journal. How many hours do people spend on the computer? I know I spend way hours on the internet everyday. It’s either reading, checking email, or typing a paper. So it makes it easier to write in a personal blog because people are always on the internet. Pull up a login screen and we’re there. We can switch in and out of tabs and go back to doing what we should be doing and writing in a quick second. When you write in a regular journal, there is an “obligation” of completing your thoughts then going onto the next thing. Switching to something else and coming back doesn’t feel as smooth.

I know I’m not the only person who journals, but it’s sad that not more people my age don’t write in journals. This generation would rather have photographic representations than use words. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, the old saying goes “A picture is worth a thousand words.” But by using words, you get to write exactly how you feel in a moment. You get to remember all of the little details that you probably didn’t want to take a picture of. In a picture, the truth is you’re forced to smile. Does that smile represent how you truly felt in the moment? Maybe, but maybe not. I’m sure there were a fair share of arguments during that family vacation.

There is something beautiful about putting my pen to the paper rather than my fingers meeting the keys on a keyboard. I’m too familiar with the clickity clack, but when the pen hits the paper, the words follow a smooth flow. It is something that is underrated now. There’s also something beautiful about getting a hand cramp when I’m writing too quickly. It means that all of my thoughts are overflowing at the surface. That’s missing in typing because my fingers don’t ever get tired.

For me a hard copy journal is more accessible. Instead of needing a computer, I can read it at my leisure. It feels more real and personal. Every word that I wrote is mine. It’s mine meaning that I chose these words and I consciously made each stroke. Typing on a computer can seem mechanical. The letters appear on the screen in a blink.

I keep a journal because I want to remember all of the moments exactly as they are. I know that in a few years, I’m going to forget all of the little details. All the chills and laughs that I had. We might think that we will remember everything, but we won’t. By journaling, I see that a 70 page spiral notebook can be used for more than class notes. The journal can be used for my own thoughts. The problem is I actually have to write in it.

Melody Ng

Melody is currently a senior studying business.

3 thoughts to “Old Fashioned Journals”

  1. I agree with so much of what you said! I have tried to keep a journal for most of my life and have really struggled being consistent. But when I have written in it, you’re exactly right – it is my true thoughts of the moment or situation that are lost with time, and not always represented through pictures.

    On that note, I wonder what it would be like if we stopped smiling for pictures but instead allowed our true mood to show through, every time. I wish I could have a photographer follow me around and take all candid photos so I could really remember.

    Anyway, your post caught my interest because I am currently (trying to) keeping a journal. It is a very small book and I try to bullet the events of the day and my thoughts and feelings that come along. The purpose is so I can remember my senior year of college (because I’m loving it and don’t want to leave #graduation anxiety.)

    The computer may have it’s benefits of swift typing, mulit-tasking and privacy, but it will never compare to the true pen and paper journal.

    Happy Journaling!

  2. Hi, Melody!

    I definitely agree that writing on a computer has all of the benefits that you mentioned, but I still keep a handwritten journal (a traditional composition book, because that’s what I found in my parents’ basement). I do have an online private journal, and that’s what I write in when I feel like I have something specific to say but I want to be able to work it through and rearrange parts of it, if that makes sense.

    I use the composition notebook mostly just for freewriting, which I try to do every day, so there’s less pressure to organize or have a definite stopping point. That’s been a big thing for me – less pressure. I’m taking a contemporary novels class, and after reading a bunch of interviews with published writers, I noticed that this idea of writing on PAPER is really important to a lot of them. More than once I read something about how staring at a screen induces writer’s block, while writing on paper somehow propels the writer forward – maybe because when they type, their fingers move more quickly than their thoughts, and then they just end up looking at a blinking cursor. Anyway, I’ve noticed the exact same thing, and I’ve started writing first drafts (or at least the first page or two of a draft) on paper because I’m so much more productive that way. Also, after growing up with my nose in a book and/or Lisa Frank diary, I just love seeing words on paper. I don’t know if that sounds weird, but whatever. There’s something about seeing your writing in a tangible form.

    Anyway, interesting post! I’m tired of hearing that technology is going to totally replace paper and books; it might become more dominant, but I think the two can co-exist.

  3. I too recently started keeping a journal (a Shinola though, for what it matters), and I’ve found it has served a variety of purposes, all of which were never anywhere close to the original reasons or intentions that I had for purchasing it. It has provided me a lot of entertainment to look back on and read the reactions and emotions I had on particular days, but looking back and reflecting on the things I had going on in my life at that time have also provided me with a lot of clarity and helpfulness moving forward. It’s something that not everyone does, but after having started to keep a journal, I think it’s something I want to continue to do, especially as college and life afterwards will continue to be so formative, it’ll be great to one day look back and have a day by day account of what was going on around me and also in my head at the time. Thanks for sharing!

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