Keep a Journal for 30 Days and Then Burn It

When I read this tweet, it got me to thinking how useful it might be to keep a journal for 30 days during NaJoWriMo with the intent of actually destroying the journal at the end of the month, and, as Sir Prime says, “forget about it.”

Here are a few reasons why I suggest a throw-away journal for some new, veteran, or NaJoWriMo- participating journal writers:

1. One of the challenges for many journal writers is they are not honest enough in their writing. By writing in a throw-away-journal, you can be brutally honest with yourself, without having to think about someone ever reading what you wrote, and you don’t won’t be tempted to read back over your words months or years later. You can also avoid thinking about writing in grammatically correct sentences or spell checking your words.

2. The throw-away-journal can be very cathartic, allowing you to do a brain dump of all the stuff (dare I say, shit) that is cluttering your mind. Keeping a journal is a way to think through and process of what’s going on in your life, but sometimes you may hold back in your writing, as if someone is watching over your shoulder. But with a throw-away-journal, you write whatever comes to mind, no matter how mean or nonsensical. In fact, you simply let go and see where the writing takes you.

3. If you’ve never kept a journal, you will discover that by daily engaging in the process that writing can be a powerful way to learn about yourself. The more you write, the more you learn and process thoughts, feelings, dreams, and  anxieties. Writing slows your brain down, so you can actually start thinking. If you’ve never tried it, you owe it to yourself to do so.

Writing Throw-Away-Journal

I’ve never actually thrown away a journal, but here’s some ideas about  how it could do be done.

1. Purchase an inexpensive notebook. The less you pay for it, the less you will feel guilty about trashing it when you’re done. On the front of the journal write, “Throw-Away” by a specific date. Give yourself plenty of time to write in it. The 30-day NaJoWriMo challenge is a good span of time.

2. If you prefer typing, sign up on 750words.com. Anything you write and type on that site is never seen again, not even by you. You simply write, log out of your account, and then come back the next day to write some more.

3. If you want to have a little fun, you might buy a Wreck This Journal ($8.50 on Amazon) and use it for writing, drawing, and pasting in stuff that’s on your mind. Wreck This Journal notebooks include prompts and fun activities that you can use or ignore for your journaling.

After filling up your journal, throw it away. Rip it apart, put it in a trash bag with other trash, and make sure it’s picked up by the garbage collector. Or if you need to, safely burn it.

Throw-Away-Journal Ideas

Here are some prompt ideas to get your started with a throw-away-journal:

1. Write several pages about what makes you mad.

2. Write pages about your wildest fantasies.

3. Doodle or draw images about how you feel about yourself.

4. Make a list of every person you’ve wanted to slap in the face when growing up.

5. Write the dirtiest, meanest thoughts that come to your mind.

6. Make list of thoughts and experiences that have made you cry.

7. Make a list of everyone and everything you love, and then another list of everything you hate.

8. Write a letter to a person you dislike the most.

9. Write a forgiveness letter to someone your hurt.

10. Write about the part of yourself that others don’t know about.

Revisit these and other questions more than once in your journal. The more you write in your journal, the more you’ll discover other things to write. Choose a time when you can be alone to write, when no one is looking over your shoulder. And then pour your brains out through writing and drawing, and copying and pasting stuff that’s on your mind.

Though I’m very honest in my Day One digital journal, I think I might order Wreck This Journal and have some fun with it, and include thoughts that I want to write and later forget about. Knowing me, I’ll probably at least take a photo of the journal before I toss it out.

What you do you think about the idea of a throw-away journal? Do you think you might try it out?  Let me know.

 

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Bakari Chavanu

is the creator of NaJoWriMo, and is the author of the interactive iBook, Starting From Day One: Using the Day One Journaling App to Record and Enrich Your Life
  • I “demolish” on an ongoing basis. I simply cross out a lot of what I rant about. If there’s one line worth keeping, I’ll copy it to another page.

  • I don’t think I have the guts to throw away a journal. I have no problem with being very honest in my journals.

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