Have you ever come up with a idea, only to discover that you’ve had it before? (In some cases, not just once, but many times?)
Over the Labor Day weekend, I unpacked a few more of the remaining boxes from our move. One of those boxes contained my creative journals dating back nearly 20 years. As I flipped through pages, I was at once dismayed and intrigued to see thoughts and ideas I’ve recently been mulling over. Was it too early or just not the right time to pursue these ideas in the past? Did they just not land at the top of my priority list at the time or did I eventually deem them unworthy? Am I stuck in a rut? Or is this a sign that, yes, I’m on the right track—that these ideas and subjects have resonated deeply for much longer than I realized.
After sleeping on it, I’ve decided that not only can such recurring themes and ideas be a good thing, but that there is, indeed, value in occasionally reviewing those old journal entries. What light might they shed on my current explorations and what other ideas might be worth revisiting?
It also reminded me of the benefit of writing daily in my journal—something I’ve been lax about in recent years. I still write, but not as routinely and the entries are split between notebooks and my laptop. Also, I have developed an unfortunate habit of sending myself emails instead of journaling—simply because I carry my cell phone more places than my journals and it is such an easy thing to do. The thought process and writing practice is still there, but the ideas are scattered, and not as easily accessible. It is a messy system—or perhaps not a system at all.
Do you keep a regular journal? If so, is it in your computer or do you write your notes by hand in a bound notebook of some kind? Or do you, perhaps, keep a visual journal instead? If you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear about your journaling practice and how it serves you.