Date (I always write the date. If I don't, there's usually some significance why. I'm probably hiding something)
Location (Where are you? What are you doing? Are you with anyone? Why are you here? Music on?)
End writing time
And so, I kept my regular journal for a couple of months, daily lists of random crap I did through the day. Usually things of non-importance but I did like keeping track of who I interacted with through the day. (I have a really bad memory and these things would be lost otherwise.)
Then something happened and I started falling a little off kilter. I found a composition notebook that Laura had given me before I'd started college. I'd been saving it and bringing it along everywhere because I knew someday I'd need it. So, I started a Fear Journal. When I would start worrying about something, I'd write about it and specifically track what I was afraid of, possible outcomes, then probable outcomes. Entries are far between, usually once a month, maybe less. (I lost the journal in my trunk for a long while.)
Just recently, I've been writing just about every day. Today, I asked Laura if I could read her my entry from yesterday though it was a million pages long. She sat on the phone with me while I read. There's something nice about reading out loud, it allows you to detach if you just focus on the words and not the fact that something horrific has just happened to you. There was one point during the reading I almost cried, but I kept it together. Her response?
"That....was intense. I know someday you're going to write about this...."
Which I found funny, because hadn't I just written about it?
This is kind of my point. As a writer, we channel a lot of energy through our writing. I keep journals and write when things become too much because it's like releasing it. It can't eat me from the inside out if it's on paper. I try to write when wounds are fresh because it's much more honest and someday when I come back to it, I can face it again and turn it into a story of some sort. I don't have a lot of coping mechanisms, but writing is by far one of the strongest ones I have.
And so....when you're scared or overwhelmed, what do you do?