English classes have ruined writing. The hammering into our minds of five paragraph essays and timed AP prep papers have taken away the fun and creativity of crafting works and putting them to paper. I used to love to write: short stories, poems, you name it; creative writing was one of my favorite hobbies. But as I progressed through the school system, writing didn’t seem to let me express myself anymore; I was just writing whatever my teacher wanted to hear, a mindless introduction, three body paragraphs and conclusion.
However, writing can actually be really fun. Keeping a journal or diary is one great way to get back into writing. You can make your journal as artsy or as plain as you want, keep your entries in a spiral notebook, a leather bound one or even the notes app on your phone. However you want to do it, writing down your thoughts after every day is a great way to reflect and think, and to use writing in a way that helps you, instead of just for passing an exam.
When I was younger, I absolutely loved to write. I found creative writing to be something that would let me put the ideas in my head onto paper. Now, unless I’m in a specific “creative writing” class, all of the writing I now do is academic, and I don’t really get a chance to write for fun anymore. Having my own journal, not for a class, just for me, has given me an opportunity to write down whatever I want, and I don’t have to write in paragraphs or craft a thesis statement.
With the current mental state of many Americans, keeping in touch with your emotions is more important than ever. In fact, journaling daily has been shown to help manage anxiety and stress. Speaking from personal experience, recapping each day has been able to help me think about what’s happening in my life and point out to myself things that I wouldn’t notice otherwise.
Since the start of this year, I’ve kept a journal and written in it daily. While I’m not sure how much it has helped my mental health, it has given me an outlet at the end of each day to think about how I’m feeling. Especially now, during the ongoing pandemic, getting in touch with yourself is super important, and writing in a journal every day is one of the best ways to do just that.