The volumes of journals I've written over the years
The urge to put pen to paper (or these days, fingers to keyboard) has been with me ever since I discovered that by putting letters together you could express ideas. I was only seven years old when I first started writing in a journal. It's the cute pink one you see below.
And here is my first entry from that day, April 19th, 1989:
I won the journal as a prize for a writing contest, and ever since then I have been a journal-keeper. During those very early years I wrote only a handful of times each year, but once I hit 8th grade my inner thoughts became too much for me to keep in my head and it became more of a regular, several-times-a-week habit.
My reasons for writing have varied over the years- when I was an adolescent and a teenager, I felt that nobody understood me, but when I wrote in my journal I couldn't mess up- there was no one to critique my words or tell me I was wrong. It was freeing for me.
As I grew up and left for college, I used my journals as a place to make sense of the world around me. I was facing new challenges and was often overwhelmed by the choices I had to make. Writing through these experiences helped me to clarify my thoughts and understand the person I was becoming.
Now, as a mother, my journals are a place to reconnect with myself and spend some time with my often-neglected spiritual self. They are also a place to record life events that I know would be lost in the recesses of memory if I did not write them down. There are so many times when I go back to read past journal entries and realize I had completely forgotten a certain event had occurred! I cherish my journals and the perspective they give me on my life.
If you want to start a journal, or even just improve upon your journal-writing, here are a few tips for you.
- Choose a medium that's right for you. I used to use books, but now that my life is so hectic I find it better to journal on the computer. I use LDS Journal, a free site that allows you to keep your journal through their secure server (which is great because if your computer crashes it's still safe and sound), add photos to journal entries, automatically get e-mail reminders to write in your journal, and get your journal printed into an affordable high-quality hardbound book. It's awesome! I love it!
- If you do use a standard journal, include a photo of yourself at the beginning of the book. It's fun to see how you change over the years.
- Every once in awhile, do an entry where you just write down your daily schedule. Wouldn't you like to know what your mother's daily schedule was like when you were a young child and she was raising you? It's those little things that provide such insight into your life that will be invaluable for future generations.
- Just write. Whatever's on your mind, just get it out there. If your mind goes blank when you sit down, then keep a pen and paper handy throughout the day and make notes of things to write about- funny things that happen, etc. Pretend that your journal is your best friend and you're going to call her at the end of the day. What will you talk about?
- Don't stress about it. At this point in my life, I'm only writing about once a month, and while I'd like it to be more, I'm not stressing. (you get more here on my blog than my journal does!
I hope these tips help you to become a better journal writer, not just for yourself but for future generations. Start now and you'll be glad you did. :-)
Do you keep a journal? If so, what are your tips for better journaling?
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