On Journaling

notebookLike many of you, I keep a journal. And like many of you, I’m sure, I am really bad at it. I never sat down and thought about why until very recently, and I came to a few conclusions.


I often have trouble journaling because the writing feels way too personal. I know that sounds strange, but it stops me dead in my tracks when I veer into confessional territory. I’m not one to get super emotional and need to talk every little thing out. If I am having a specific emotional issue, I’ll talk with my wife or my friends about it. Something about writing it down in a book feels masturbatory to me.


Going along that same “self-pleasuring” line of thinking… I have a hard time writing a journal because I have no audience. Except for myself. No one will ever see my journal and writing for no one seems pretty pointless. Maybe it’s a failing in me that I cannot treat my journal as a person I’m pouring my heart out to. Who knows?


If I’m not pouring out my guts to my imaginary friend, I have a hard time coming up with things to write about. I had ONE good year of journaling, in 2005. That year, I came up with a pretty ingenious plan. I gave myself broad topics to write about, like “School”, “Women”, “Drugs” and so on. Then I proceeded to fill up the journal book in a few weeks. It was pretty awesome. And really fun to re-read. But once that was over, I fell right back into writing about what I had for breakfast, and what clothes I was wearing that day… and other terribly boring topics. Yawn.


I think I came up with a good solution, though. I have decided to keep “notebooks” instead of “journals”. What is the difference, you may wonder? To me, a notebook can house story ideas, and poem ideas, and lists of books I’d like to buy, and stuff like that. It creates much more room to move around in than a diary/journal.

If any of you guys out on the interwebs have any thoughts on journaling, post them in the comments! I’d be very interested in hearing them!

Until next time, amigos and amigas…

By joshmedsker

Josh Medsker is a writer living in northern New Jersey. His writing has appeared in many magazines and websites. For a full listing of Mr. Medsker's publications, please visit

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