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Thursday, March 26, 2009

No Rules

Life brings so many different restrictions. If it's not speeding in your car, it's something about your health. Moderation and control rule the day. While I'm not saying these limits are exactly evil, perhaps we need a space in our daily lives where the rules don't apply. To really enjoy journal writing I try to keep one rule in mind - there are no rules.

Once I open the cover of my journal the pages are for me alone. I can mark them, write on them, stick things into them, draw, scribble, doodle, splash paint, ink or glitter glue, if that's how I feel. No one can tell me I'm doing this journal writing business right or wrong. There are no rules.

I can use a crayon, a pencil, typed pieces printed off from the computer, newspaper articles, pictures, jigsaw pieces, a paintbrush, stickers, lipstick, eyeliner or with any tool or object I want. Because it's my journal and I can use those pages to express myself any way I need to. There are no rules.

The pages are for me. I don't show them to friends or post scanned images of their content online, though there's nothing wrong with that if you feel the need. Journal writing serves me the way a trusted friend does. But the journal ranks superior, even over the best of friends. My journal listens and makes no comment or judgement. I can goof off, rant and rave, act down-right indecently or reveal the most intimate of secrets there. Did I mention there are no rules?

Many people desire to keep a journal, but fail at this point. Give up all your expectations and just write. Pick up whatever tools you have at hand and begin. You might have a dog-eared notebook leftover from school. That's what I used for my first journal. I left the old Physical Education work in the front of the book, perhaps as ruse to any snoopers, and used up the many pages still in the back. Use whatever pen or writing implement you have and make marks on those pages.

You don't have to be interesting or even a good writer to keep a journal. You don't even need to have terrific drawing skills or have an amazing of expensive tools. Read Dawn Vinson's Seven Myths about Keeping a Journal.
Bust these myths in your own journal. Remember, there are no rules.

Image created by my daughter Leonie

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