The Meet the Author series features Vagabroad diarists
speaking on their relationship with journaling:
authoring blank books (most likely their own VGB journal)
and how doing so fits into/ has enhanced their lives..
or your inspiration.
Veronica Elle Leynes is living inspired and making life gainz. Based in Los Angeles, CA she is a passionate student of life, aspiring author and entrepreneur. Obsessed with personal development Veronica is always looking for ways to better her best. When she isn’t eating or sleeping, you can find her at the gym, training for her first powerlifting meet and another obstacle course race.
When did you start journaling as a practice?
Sitting on the bus for my hour and a half long commutes to Santa Monica for work five years ago.
If I wasn’t reading, I was journaling.
I was reflecting, trying to make sense of a bad relationship, writing poems, making plans, setting goals…
(Before I knew what it was) building a relationship/making a connection with my (higher) self.
Documenting these moments, these thoughts and feelings because
I had the time and did not want to waste it focused on the crazy person on the bus.
Anything done for 21 days becomes habit, a ritual.
Why did you decide to keep a journal? Has your reason changed over the years?
I have been journaling since I can remember.
The first set of poems I wrote was in a blue spiral wide ruled notebook I had in the second grade.
Thanks to a children’s book called “Amelia’s Notebook” by Marissa Moss and movies like Harriet the Spy,
I was obsessed with collecting journals at a young age and just as obsessed with writing in them.
I can remember using my fourth grade journal as a way to vent,
I was extremely angry and depressed as a child, this was the way I chose to escape.
Up until high school my journaling was still very on the surface.
It wasn’t until after I turned 21 I realized that I had been running away from my problems instead of facing them head on.
It wasn’t until I had made peace with who I was and how I was raised that my reason for writing had changed.
Once I had decided to allow myself the space to heal did my narrative begin to evolve.
Since then my focus has been on my journey to
completely loving myself and being the mother I never had.
What date did you start your Vagabroad Journal?
I started my second Vagabroad Journal 12/01/2015, I have two pages left :)
Update: I started my third Vagabroad journal 10/01/2016
What’s your journaling style: bullets, quotes, poems, paragraphs…?
All of them. Depending on the journal I’m writing in.
In my vagabroad journals I’m a freewriter, poet, and [I write a] quote when it really touches me.
In my business/finance and fitness journals I list and bullet point.
Have you ever finished a journal? Can you describe the feeling?
Technically no, if you consider finished filled from the first page to the last. I always leave 2-4 pages in the front or back blank in the case I want to add more. But I never do. So by my definition yes and it feels amazing.
There is a sense of accomplishment when things come to completion.
Like “You see this thing I did. Yes, I did that”.
Like you wanna climb to the roof tops, hold your journal up in the air like Raffiki did with Simba and scream it to the world.
Ok, maybe not as dramatic...
but it is pretty cool to know you did a thing from start to finish.
Not many people can finish things they start.
Especially if you have commitment issues like I do.
How long does it usually take you to finish a journal?
Three to nine months depending on the frequency of my entries.
Is there a greater reason for you to keep a journal beyond self care?
Documentation, without it did we even exist?
History has shown us that lifetimes, legacies, entire cultures and countries can be erased from existence.
If it weren’t for remnants of their past we would not even know of their existence.
How many people have been erased from history?
I always think about my journal being found in the post apocalyptic world
and fantasize about the civilization that could be built on top of my words...
Don’t you ever question if this is how our society was founded?
Can you imagine all this was created based on someone’s (God’s) journal?
I journal to honor my past and my ancestors. To help push forward the evolution of mankind. I believe that the more I know myself the more I will get to know everyone else. Effecting change starts with you. If you do not have the capacity to change or lead yourself, how can you do the same for others?
Have you ever written a dream, vision, or desire and then it happens?
Oh girl, yes!
I wholeheartedly believe in the powers of manifestation and visualization.
Everything I write down with the intent to manifest comes to fruition when it is time.
Journaling is like meditation, for me, an active meditation.
During these specific sessions: I want something, I ask for it (write it out) with intent and confidence, and I forget about it.
You have to let the universe work it’s magic while you actively pursue what it is that you want.
Asking is not enough, you also need to support what you’re asking for with action
otherwise the universe will not recognize the seriousness of your request.
Your actions always confirm what it truly is that you want on that level.
You are a powerlifter! That’s amazing. What insights has your sport given you about the journey?
Thank you. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned and been able to put into practice on this journey is how to set and execute my goals. In the beginning I just wanted to be healthy, and then I wanted to be strong. I still don’t consider myself a competitive athlete, but I have the goal to be. I want to compete in my first powerlifting meet April to June of next year. I made the decision to start this journey last November. So I have been working at this consistently and passionately for almost a year. I know I’ll be in this thing for the long haul and I don’t plan on giving up. But sometimes life will happen (you’ll get injured, your dog will run away, you’ll get fired from your job, shit happens) and you’ll need to adjust… outside of training for powerlifting and obstacle course racing I am also a full time employee at a Medical Billing company and aspiring author/entrepreneur, among other things. Sometimes wearing all these hats can be exhausting and hard. But in all these things I am a student- especially that of life, and in order for me to get to the end goal of being my own boss I need to go through the challenges that come with all these things. At the end of the day I asked for this and the physical strength I exhibit and train for in the gym translates to the mental, emotional and spiritual strength I need to live my life. If I can train to be physically strong I can train to be just strong.
No on else is going to lift these weights for me. If I want results I need to go and put in the work. Not everyday is going to be easy; you’re going to want to quit.
As an athlete, does journaling help you bring together what goes through your head in the gym and what you think when outside of the gym?
Journaling definitely helps me to make sense of what’s going on in my mind in and out of the gym. For me, attitude is everything. And when I’m in a mode where I need to compete, race, or hit a goal during training having the space to explore my mental game is extremely necessary. For me to perform at my optimum best I need to be get my mind right.
What advice would you give to a teastained woman who does not know how to translate her passion into documentation? Like, she knows she’s dope but she doesn’t know how to tell this story.
Write everything down!
Being a great writer is a matter of opinion and the only opinion that should matter is yours.
Journaling is a practice and if you don’t use it you lose it.
You won’t ever “get it” if you don’t start.
Even if it’s just one sentence about how you felt about your day or a list of what you ate, just start.
Developing your voice on paper takes time.
Expose yourself to different works, read books, google, watch youtube, go to open mics, hang out at barns and noble,
become a mentor to yourself.
(Or you can eventually be like me and stop reading other peoples’ work all together and just write...) It starts off as emulation, but as time goes on you will begin to add your own flare and become more authentic in your writings.
Know your journey is worth documenting.
Know that what drives action is also mental. Once the mind-body-spirit connection is made there is no severing that.
Use journaling as a way to strengthen that resolve.
What do you have to loose? You’re already dope as fuck.