Men Journal, Too – And They’re Starting To Talk About It

Head to the self-help section of any bookshop, and you’ll notice rows of guided journals alongside the books aimed at boosting wellbeing. The production of them has boomed in recent years – from Fearne Cotton’s Happy, Calm and Quiet journals, that match her books of the same titles, to Michelle Obama’s Becoming having an accompanying diary. Looking at my bookshelf crammed with them, it’s fair to say they’re mostly marketed from women, to women.

Sam Topley is a man looking to break that mould and encourage more men to process their feelings through writing. 2017 was a transformational year for the now 30-year-old TV producer from Bermondsey: he decided to get sober. Two months quitting alcohol and drugs, he was at London Bridge the night of the June 3 attacks, where eight people were killed and 48 were injured.

“It was unreal graphic trauma and a night of pain,” says Topley, who managed to escape injury alongside his friends. He couldn’t talk about what’d happened for a year – “I couldn’t even begin to explain how I was feeling; I didn’t know my own story” – and found another way to cope with his thoughts: writing.

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