Keeping A Journal as a Fishing Net of Ideas

Do you keep a journal? I’ve written about it before, but I’ve been keeping a journal since 1985 when I was thirteen years old. That’s probably stereotypical, right? Teenage girls have so many secrets! My journals have always been on again/off again romances. I lose interest or get busy and forget to write anything, then I’m solid as a rock again, writing every thought and idea as it comes up throughout the day.

keeping a journal
So much space for so many ideas!

This past week, I was listening to Joe Rogan’s interview with Akaash Singh while I drove and right at the end of three and a half hours of glorious conversation, I hear him start to talk about writing every day. He was asking the fellow stand-up comedian about his process, how he gathers ideas and puts them together. Akaash said he does it on the fly, on stage, throwing things out there to see what resonates with his audience. It reminded me of how my dad knows spaghetti noodles are done cooking.

Joe said he keeps a notebook and writes every day, gathering thoughts along the way. They argued back and forth about it, reasons for and against that I’ve heard many times before. But I agree with Joe, maybe we have a similar learning style.

The reason I write every day, here and in my journal, is because I’m storing up random thoughts and ideas. It’s like a net to catch everything that floats by, then when I have more time, I pick through and see if there was anything good to use hidden inside.

I’m still working on that last part, the time to read through and sort, but it’s coming along.

Yesterday while I was doing the dishes, a thought came to me and I rushed to dry my hands and write it down, catch it in my net before it floated away. It was this:

“A journal is only a record of thoughts. Thoughts don’t always mean anything, they simply occur, randomly or triggered. We record them, look back, organize, and see if any of it makes sense.”

Like in meditation practice, I don’t judge the thoughts and ideas when I write them down. They are not good or bad, they just are. They occurred, I recorded it, and I set it aside for later, much in the way I notice and let them pass by while I sit in meditation.

One of my goals this year, probably next month’s goal the way things are going, is to make time each week to read through and organize those random and triggered thoughts and ideas. If I find ones that look like they might go somewhere interesting, I’ll spend time seriously exploring and posting about them.

Like the comedian on stage throws out new material he’s been working on to see if people are picking it up, I’ll be posting those ideas here on my blog. I could never do stand-up comedy. It’s too dangerous. The feedback is instant, up-front, and personal. I think blogging is more my speed. The feedback is a bit slower, and when I get it, I’m home alone with a cup of tea to cry into when my idea isn’t received the way I had hoped.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll gather enough material for a whole book and publish. The only question is, a book about what? Only time will tell. I’ll keep reading, journaling, organizing, writing, and posting for now. And while I’m at it, I’ll watch to see where my passions intersect with the audience in the best ways.

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