‘I have decided to keep a full journal, in the hope that my life will perhaps seem more interesting when it is written down.’ ~ Adrian Mole
‘Loneliness is a mist
Chilling me to the bone!’
(The first stanza from a poem I wrote aged 16)
Always having been interested in writing, I started keeping a journal and recording things on a daily basis from the age of sixteen.
Have you ever tried keeping a journal, a daily log of your life? Here are six very good reasons to start…
1: ‘By putting the thoughts swirling around your head all in one place, it can help you think more clearly about your life circumstances.’
It was Joe Bunting, of TheWritePractice who said this quote. He also said, ‘Writing in a journal is a great way to get your thoughts recorded. Although it might not always be the prettiest writing, journaling often provides insight and perspective.’
2: Journaling is a viable way of doing your “daily pages.”
The teacher and author, Julia Cameron, advocates writers do “the daily pages” and Kate de Goldi, one of my teachers was the same, advocating writing “non-stop for twenty minutes a day,” to keep the writing muscles lubricated and the muse flowing.
3: Keeping a journal gives those of us with overactive imaginations a place to safely vent and release, to process our past, and marshal our thoughts.
One of my former writing tutors, Joy Cowley actively encouraged us to write daily entries, as a way of exorcising the demons and ghosts of childhood. These things needed to come out, she told us. “I see many sad, lonely stories coming out in people’s writing. These sad experiences are still within us, but its therapy writing, these things need to come out. Even accomplished writers will write bleak books that are directly from their own painful childhoods.’
4: A journal is also an effective tool for getting some perspective on our own selves and insight to our own lives.
I remember an elderly friend of my mother’s, who upon hearing I kept a journal, praised me roundly. She said, ‘It’s a great practice because then you can look back and see patterns in your life and relationships.’
5: And also, our diaries are potential material for future stories or books.
As Joe Bunting said, ‘Just like your mind is often racing, so is your character’s. If you’re looking for an alternative way to tell a story, there are a couple reasons to try a diary or epistolary format.
‘Writing with a diary or with letters as the story framework can be a good way to challenge yourself and explore different writing formats while continuing to move your story forward. Just be sure that the story structure continues to make sense, and the plot development moves logically in the context of the existing story.’ ~ Liz Bureman
6: Journals are a terrific way of storing memories.
They keep people alive in a way. How’s this entry I found upon opening my journal from 1994: ‘Tanya rang this morning and after just talking to her for a short while my spirits are soaring. She’s an inspirational woman. She reminds me it’s easy to be happy.’ Although I had no way of knowing at the time, eight years later, Tanya would be dead. Reading snippets about her like this bring her to life and refresh her memory in a whole new way.
*Rule of Thumb*
Yet, in amongst all the happy journaling lies a hidden danger. Be responsible and intelligent about what you’re committing to paper or digital diary.
I read this cautionary tale over the weekend, in an old magazine I found at my father’s house. ‘I never dreamed of destroying my journals until a friend accidentally discovered a three-page rant his mother had scrawled many years before she died. “My children are takers,” she wrote. “They’re not good-natured. They’re selfish, self-centered, self-indulgent, and only need me when they want money.” ~ Mary Pleshette Willis
Let this be your “rule of thumb:” only commit to a journal things you’d be happy with your child accidentally reading.
It is therefore wise to cull one’s collection of journals regularly. I haven’t kept all of them. And some of them I’ve taken great glee in burning on a bonfire at New Year’s! But the important diaries I’ve kept. I will continue to love them, to revisit them. And of course, I continue to write in my current journal every day. A good habit should be hard to break, and it’s how I do my daily pages!
Do you keep a journal? Have you ever kept one? Do you keep yours or throw them away?
Talk to you later.
Keep on Creating!
Yvette K. Carol
‘Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.’ ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
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