Sometimes when prowling through old journals I feel like a scavenger looking for dead meat. Rummaging around your old journals can be an interesting and useful exercise for writers, non-writers and ‘wannabe’ writers. It’s fun to examine our past obsessions, loves and dislikes. Often these don’t change over the years as mine have been writing about losses and fantasies—quite a spectrum!
The best time to reread old journals is when we need nourishment for writing ideas. Our old journals are gems packed with little darlings. On rainy days, for example, try highlighting sections which still spark your interest. Then, pick one and free-write for 10-20 minutes. In other words, write nonstop without making corrections and without paying attention to grammar. Don’t judge and certainly don’t edit. This practice helps bypass the inner critic and also releases tension, plus it might end up being a bigger seed which could actually blossom into a published piece, whether it’s a poem or story.