The purpose for writing often shapes the product created. This applies to professional writing as well—when teachers begin writing a professional journal (or diary, or log, or whatever you would like to call it) they must have a general purpose in mind. This will shape the format, writing styles, and frequency of entries. Writing has become a therapeutic outlet for me; a place where I can release emotions and reflect upon a day (or oftentimes week if I haven’t had time to write much) and its events. I call my notebook a journal, but it is encompasses all types of writings: diary entries, logs, etc. Inside are recollections of events and how I felt about them; things I would not say to others, things I wish I could; ideas for events/gifts/random day to day necessities. I do include inspirational quotes, pictures that move me, song lyrics that are particularly touching. In a way, I suppose this is how I breathe in. Rarely do I breathe out, however. My insights are far too personal, leave me too vulnerable to the world. My journal is “a safe, nonthreatening place where I never [get] graded, laughed at, or rejected” (Fletcher 3). It helps me to make sense of the world, to make sense of myself.

When I do not write for a long time, my life feels empty. I have switch into autopilot, where I stop noticing the smaller details in life. Everything becomes common and normal, causing me to forget to appreciate life. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day to sit down and reflect upon life. I’m too busy living it. For this reason I am hesitant to suggest that everyone would benefit from keeping a journal. While what is written inside can be personalized to the individual, I feel other would benefit more through use of other outlets and mediums. This holds true for the use of journaling in the classroom. Some students would benefit from the use of a reading/discussion journal, while others would feel more comfortable in a roundtable discussion or partnering up to brainstorm ideas. The isolation of journaling makes me nervous—as society becomes more reliant on technology and emphasis shifts away from face to face interaction, I wonder how to maintain a balance between personal reflection and collaboration. Often the ideas of others are more helpful than working through one’s own ideas.

“Learning to write is a matter of learning to shatter the silences, of making meaning, of learning to learn.” I think that any sort of artistic outlet helps an individual to do these things. That is one of the main purposes of expression—to share ideas and experiences with others while coming to a personal understanding yourself. Whether this is done formatively or summatively, randomly or at carefully planned times, I think the most important issue to address through any sort of artistic release, including journaling, is the idea Jerry presented in Writing to Grow about confronting oneself in order to truly accept and appreciate all the possibilities that await (51).

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