Throughout your life, you're always going to be writing. For me, the majority of my writing consists of articles or essays. Most of the time when I write, it's not because I want to, it's because I have to.
Senior year in high school, I split myself between three forms of writing: journalism, English and creative writing. I voluntarily joined the newspaper because I loved to write articles. I took AP Literature because
1) I had to take an English class,
2) I loved the teacher who taught it, and
3) I do genuinely enjoy reading and analyzing many of the things we read in English class. I took a creative writing class because I love poetry, short stories, and books.
At first, I didn't mind all the writing, after it all it was something that I loved to do, but after a while, I became mentally and creatively drained. It's exhausting having to split your writing skills three ways nearly every single week. The best way I could describe it is like having part of your creativity being ripped away from you faster than it could regenerate, leaving me uninspired and grey.
Soon enough, I started to fall out of love with all the types of writing, but I couldn't stop and recharge, I had to keep going because I was being graded on it and because I hate not giving at least 100% to anything I do.
At this point, I was no longer writing for myself, and it was one of the worst feelings in the world. My love for writing started to disintegrate and it left me feeling empty, lost and upset. When a new writing assignment came along, I looked at it with dread instead of it sparking joy and getting my creative juices flowing.
But then, at one point towards the end of the first semester, I got a break. I didn't have any assignments due for any of my writing classes for a week. It was a weird feeling not having any writing obligations so finally, I sat down in my bed, listened to one of my favorite playlists and I wrote. But this time, I wrote for myself. I started to once again, voluntarily give away pieces of my creativity.
This was how I discovered journaling, or at least my version of journaling. I would write whatever came to mind in one of my ever-growing collection of journals. Sometimes it was poems, sometimes it was my thoughts on the political climate, other times they were letters to people in my life, or they were random phrases that would randomly pop into my head, anything and everything.
I was actually exposed to this type of journaling in my creative writing class and we were required to write a certain number of entries each week for a grade, but before this point, journaling didn't feel like something for myself, it felt like a weekly chore that I had to do so that I wouldn't fail the class.
But now, months after I finished that class, I still journal. Not because I have to, but because I don't want to forget why I love writing.