I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point in the 20th century it no longer was manly to journal.
Really, it became sacrosanct for men to be involved in writing. And that’s quite dangerous, factually.
Men exist, therefore they are. And the idea that men should reduce their role in any aspect of life is counterintuitive to any growth that any person may desire, man or otherwise.
It’s not to say that men do not write, we can be certain that James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and Cormac McCarthy carry on a legacy all their own. And there are also many men in the non-fiction categories carrying a torch so bold.
But our numbers dwindle. And dwindle. And continue to dwindle. I would not believe that men would stop writing altogether, but mind you as the numbers continue to lower, our appreciation for writing and even more, reading, goes away.
I can’t speak for you, but I don’t want to live in a world where men don’t have strong appreciation for reading and writing. And I surely don’t want to perpetuate this trend long after I am gone.
What I do want is to make men stronger than where they are now. And reading, and writing for personal reasons, are two major components to anyone being stronger.
Ernest Hemingway journaled. William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe surely did. And while the common trait is that these three men are writers, there are those among us that are not writers that do write.
This is why I’m a proponent to journaling. Stereotypes tell us that journaling is the domain of women, where they write dreams, and hopes, and gossip, and probably a whole host of things so toxic no one but those women would dare lay claim to them.
Men need to journal. They need to remember their history accurately. They need to have their compass aimed in the right direction. They need to know where they came from, and where they are going.
Life is not something you can figure out exclusively within. You have to have outlets, and you have to have a way to retain the memories that fit into the bigger picture. Men workout. They build furniture, cars, and houses. They fish and hunt. They sail, run, invent new beer, and a host of many other things. These are all outlets. Extremely excellent outlets. But somewhere in all that, men write about these experiences to retain accurate records, which are of course memories.
Hunters write logs of their hunts, detailing weather, terrain, pacing, angles, and so forth. Furniture builders write basic assembly instructions which become part of manuals for repeating a particular build. Runners write journals which cover much the same ground as hunters, except the focus is how they felt in their performance. Sailors write logs of the sea, what they encountered, and chart their routes.
I could go on, but the fact remains that men by and large already do journal, but they skip over the most important topic: themselves.
As men, we are routinely asked to support others, mainly women, through relationships. Kids, households, ensuring security and stability for all. We hold down jobs that tie into that paradigm, and at those jobs we are eventually asked to be leaders of work, rather than just workers.
Still some of us are self-employed, own a business, where we have to continue that legacy of security to ensure that others are taken care of long before we are, and still we have household to think of. Even without thinking about it, men are largely self-sacrificial, whether society recognizes it or not.
Our biggest obstacle is recognizing that the nature of life demands this of us.
As men, we have to get ourselves motivated for the path we choose, and sustain that motivation throughout a lifetime of achievement, failures, happiness, sadness, disappointment, and even the brutality visited upon us by our significant others, physical or otherwise.
Journaling is what created success for Hemingway. It created success for Theodore Roosevelt. It created success for Andrew Carnegie. And it will help create success for you.
While physical outlets are very much worthy of our time, and should always be pursued, journaling helps process thoughts in your mind. Don’t think of this as place where you talk exclusively of feelings. Surely, if feelings come up, don’t be afraid to document them.
This is about recalling what you did that day, how that informs tomorrow, and what could have gone better. It’s a place to recall your top ten goals. It’s a place to figure out what that next big move is going to be. It’s a place to explore the why behind a failure.
Men must journal, especially men that accept their role in life, so that they can get through those feelings of loss of themselves, and get on with exploring, adventuring, and taking on the challenge that lie ahead.
Men must journal so that they can become better writers overall. Men must journal so that they become better readers, and better editors, and these things lead to better leadership. Better leaders lead to better men.
If you are a man reading this, I want you to consider the social landscape you are currently operating in. Regardless of your political affiliation, this world is not healthy for your survival. And whether you, or popular opinion realize it, in order for this world to be healthy and to survive, you must exist greatly. You must be vivid, and bright, and visionary in all that you do.
You don’t need to conquer the world, but you do need to conquer the portion you are in. The more succinct you are at that, the more people surrounding you will back off, realizing they cannot compete. And while this thought may seem far distant from what I just wrote, you must also realize that uncluttering your brain, your soul, and making yourself better at reading and writing are the four pillars that get you to a place where you are in charge of your domain, and no one else can threaten it.
If you fail to engage here, you will eventually die in some massive capacity, be it professional, personally, or just plain life.
Journal. Become the man that you’re destined to be.