I don't know about you, but I do not typically enjoy writing, especially when it is mandatory. Luckily, I have been blessed with decent writing skills but I still probably wouldn't gravitate to my laptop to write an essay if I didn't have to. However, when it comes to creative writing or writing at my own leisure, that's a different story.

I am the kind of person to go to Target on a whim and buy 12 or 13 journals when I'm in the mood to write stories or test out my new gel pens. I am a little bit ashamed to admit that I have actually bought this many journals on one shopping trip. (Okay, maybe buying journals was the entire purpose of that Target trip.) I may not write frequently but when I need to rant or want to write about my day, I go ham.

Journals, diaries, notebooks. You don't even need a booklet -- loose scraps of paper will suffice if that's your style. Whatever you choose to call 'em, these creative outlets can be incredibly helpful for maintaining sanity or getting your creative juices flowing. It is so important to be able to express yourself and to be able to do so in a safe space. Your journal is only for you and you have sole jurisdiction over whether someone else is allowed to read it or even if you want to go back and reread past entries.

I also love having journals because there are no rules; everything is completely up to you. You can have a separate journal for every year or every category. You can write in yours once a day or once every couple of months. You can decide whether you want to keep it pristine and follow the same format for each entry or you can include newspaper articles and write poetry, rants, and lists.

Journals are totally flexible and a solid investment because they aren't costly (especially the simpler ones) and can be carried around anywhere. An invention idea at 3 am? Good thing your journal's right by your bedside. Oh! What's that? Do you need to rant about how you feel while you're eating lunch in the dining hall? Good thing your journal's in your backpack.

Even though journals are wonderful, there are a few reasons people don't keep them.

The first? My guess is laziness. I resonate with this because laziness is the bane of my existence. BUT, if you recall, I mentioned that you control how often you jot down thoughts in your journal. So even if your laziness zaps over you for most of the time, you'll still have a little time where you're inspired enough to write, right?

Another probable issue, especially for the dudes out there, is the feminine stigma associated with the idea of expressing feelings and the term "diary." Let me clarify: expressing feelings is not reserved for a gender and neither is writing down these feelings. Please don't be afraid to do either of these things. I promise you and your feelings/thoughts are valid.

And then, of course, there are those that are simply disinterested in keeping a journal. I can understand this and, truth be told, the idea doesn't always appeal to me either. I strongly believe that keeping a journal is worth it, though, because it's a release for all the pent-up emotions you may be experiencing and because you can look back at your past entries and reflect on how you have changed.

Yes, I am a sappy person and, no, being emotional is certainly not for everyone but you definitely do not need to be emotional in order to have a journal. Like I said, there are no requirements. I urge you to go write every now and then, just for the sake of it. Free your mind.