A Time to Edit and a Time to Write

This entry is part 14 of the series How to Journal

In a previous post I ended with the words, “Don’t try to write well. Just get it down.” Today, I want to expand on that thought.

You’re not writing your journal for publication. You’re not writing it for anyone’s eyes but your own. So loosen up, and write, or type, fast. Pour out your emotions and reactions onto the paper or screen. Forget about good grammar. Write as you would speak. If you make a spelling mistake, who’s telling? Keep going.

This form of writing is often called “Stream of Consciousness Writing” or “Free Writing”. The latter makes more sense to me. You’re free to write whatever you like.

This can help where you have a problem in a relationship. How often have you come away from a conversation and thought, “I wish I’d said . . . ” or, “If I could only tell her . . . “?  Well, now’s our chance. Say it! Write a letter to the person, and tell him or her all you wish you’d said. Explain how (s)he hurt you or made you mad. Tell it like it is. They’re not going to read the letter, so you don’t need to worry if you’re not being fair. Maybe you aren’t, who cares? It’s how you feel, so that’s what matters.

One caution. Make sure this journal will never fall into wrong hands. If you die suddenly, you don’t want others reading how upset you were with them.

For that reason, I like to use an electronic version of journalling which I secure with a password only known to me.

Some months ago I downloaded a free version of Life Journal. Unlike many free trials, Life Journal doesn’t only give you half the features, not does it expire just as you’re getting to know it. It has a limit on the number of entries, that’s all. e.g. It only allows 15 new entries, so instead of opening a new entry each day, I used the same one for a week, adding to it each day.

This gave me a chance to truly decide if i wanted the programme, or if it was a whim that would fade after a few days. I then bought the programme. (If you decide to give this a try, first take a look at the various options available. As a writer, I use Life Journal for Writers. But they offer a selection.

Sodo you have your journal yet? If not, look for a book with some free pages, or open your word processing programme. Make yourself a cup of coffee, sit down, and spend the next fifteen minutes writing, not editing. Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below.