“I’ve tried to write journals over and over but just can’t seem to stick with it,” said Jake.
“You mean like a diary?” asked Clair.
“Yeah. I realized this morning some of it comes from the idea a journal is only for myself to read.” Jake thought he better continue to elaborate. “I can’t get motivated to write stuff if I’m the only one who is going to ever read it. What’s the point?”
Jake hoped Clair would acknowledge his point, not treat it as a question. He was disappointed. Clair said, “Well, I’ve not had any problem writing a journal. I scribble down ideas to myself and reflect on things I might enjoy going back and reading some day when I have a chance. I don’t see it as pointless. The point is to get down on paper those things you are not likely to remember.”
Jake let his frustration with his own inability to keep up a journal affect how he spoke to Clair. He said, “Yeah, well good for you! You might have what it takes, but I don’t! All those folks who tell you a person needs to keep a journal for their mental health, or their spiritual growth and all that crap tick me off. I guess I’m just doomed to be mentally unhealthy and have no advance in my spirituality!”
“Whoa, Jake!” Clair seemed taken aback by Jake’s tirade. “It’s not my fault. I never suggested you needed to keep a journal”
“Sorry,” Jake said. “I should have warned you I wanted to vent about the pressure I feel.”
“It’s OK. I can take it. I want to say, though, most folks who talk about writing journals probably would agree there’s no rule saying you have to write it to yourself. Go ahead and write for any imagined audience.”
“What if I have something I want to write down but don’t want anyone else to ever see it?”
Clair stared at him. Jake realized he may have contradicted himself in a way. He said, “I guess I would write to myself sometimes. I don’t think I do it very often.”
Clair dropped her stare. “I suggest you keep a separate private notebook and write in your journal something like -Private note for today listed elsewhere.- If, later on, you read back what you’ve written for others, you’ll see your own note and know you could find the notes on what you were thinking would be in that other notebook.”
“Might work,” Jake said. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” Clair grinned. “Now stop being such a jerk about it.”
Jake knew she was teasing. They walked off together.