Monday 5 June 2023

Overcoming the fear of journalling in public

I started journalling seriously in February this year and I've kept up the habit, mostly writing daily. I record about what I've done that day, I glue in ephemera, I write about things that I've learned or that have interested me in the news, I copy notes from research about things that have interested me and recently I've started illustrating it with very simple sketches and watercolours.

I write with a fountain pen, and because my journal has smooth pages I love how the ink flows onto the page. Sometimes I write a paragraph or so and sometimes I'll write several pages, and I pick it up throughout the day whenever the fancy takes me.

On the first page of my journal I wrote a list of places that I wanted to write. I wanted to conquer my fear of writing in public, I intended to take it out and about with me, even though I hate the thought of anyone reading what I write.

I started by writing in different positions around the house - in bed, in the egg chair, on the sofa, on the garden chairs, in the car or on the floor. This helped me to find comfortable ways of holding the book and the pen. I also wrote in front of other family members, I think they all took a peek and realised that it wasn't particularly interesting!

Woman sitting on a hill writing in a journal
Photo credit Ashlyn Ciara via Unsplash

The first time that I truly wrote my journal in public was on our cruise holiday over Easter. I wrote while sitting on a chair on deck with my back to the wall and holding the book almost upright so that no-one could see. And I'm pretty sure that no-one even noticed! Then I took it to the beach a couple of times and wrote while sitting on a sun lounger. This was much less private as the beaches were busy with lots of people walking past, but again no-one cared. 

My next step is to become more comfortable with drawing in my journal in public. I think that this will be much more obvious, especially if I get the paints out, and also I'm very aware that my sketching definitely has room for improvement. I don't think anyone would criticise me out loud but I don't want people judging my efforts even internally, especially when they are a work in progress. 

I'm going to start by taking a very small sketchbook up to school with me and drawing in the car, just sketching the things that I can see from where I'm sitting. The houses on the road, trees, and maybe people if anyone stops in one place for long enough. Then I think that my next step will be taking it to the beach and finding a quiet spot while I get used to working outside. Eventually I'd love to be able to create an illustrated journal which I'd be happy to share with others!

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