‘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

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‘Loneliness is a mist

Surrounding me

Enveloping me

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.’

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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.’

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

Oops!

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?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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‘Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.’ ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

 

 

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Comments
  1. Susan Feniak says:

    Food for thought. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. davidprosser says:

    My blog is an online journal from which I can draw events to broaden or embellish if I wish or just add more details to give a fuller picture of my life.
    xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great idea, Yvette. Good luck with it! It ties in with a video I watched today about getting to know yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Catherine. Yep, I’d say journaling is a good way of getting to know yourself. It’s also an excellent way of looking back over the years and gaining insight on how you’ve changed and evolved along the way.

      I had such fun preparing this post. From cringing over reading my sixteen-year-old self’s words, to marvelling that as a young twenty-something in one of my diaries, I speak about being ‘depressed,’ which is something I don’t remember about my twenties at all.

      And, I love how these private missives then become this portal in time. For instance, I have the journal entries of my first son’s birth, when I was newly turned seventeen. Dated January 21, 1982: ‘Believe it or not, I’m writing this entry from my hospital bed! I have had the baby at last.’ The baby we, the teenage parents, were giving up for adoption, was left with us for a few minutes. I noted, ‘He’s wide awake and cheeky looking. He poked his tongue out.’ And so it goes on. An invaluable record that the old photographs retained from that era just can’t convey.

      I could basically write a whole series of posts on journaling, that’s how big of a fan I am. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. BunKaryudo says:

    For me personally, the fifth of these is the most important reason. I try to have my journal to hand at all times to take notes of anything that might be useful for me in my writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. yvettecarol says:

    Yes, Bun, I’m the same way. I write down odd snippets all the time. I like to have an old-style notepad and pen in the glove compartment of my car, my handbag, my second handbag, on my desk, by my computer at the table and, of course, in the bedside table. 🙂

    Like

  6. emaginette says:

    I journal to vent. Better a book than someone I love. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

  7. S. M. Pace says:

    This is excellent advice. I’ve been journaling almost daily since I was 16. I have tons of notebooks now, and I read through them periodically to get ideas. Maybe there are a few pages I should tear out and get rid of 🙂

    Like

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Stephanie! Yes, I started fooling around with the idea after turning 15, and then once I began my first proper journal the following year, I’ve kept one ever since. You would understand. 🙂
      An elderly friend of my mother’s told me they are valuable tools for insight into ourselves and our own patterns. I love being able to look back. It’s not digital, on any kind of device that requires power of any kind, it’s on paper I can look at any time I like. I love that!
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Like

  8. Pinar Tarhan says:

    I should totally dig into my journals. I kept several as a teenager. As an outcast (being a writer and not following crowds and trends do that to you) and an only-child, it was a safe space. Moreover, I wrote fast in a handwriting only I could decipher, and it was written in English so no one in my family would be tempted. I don’t think they even knew they existed, but those journals did some really great therapy. 🙂 But my favorite journals are my pages from my Erasmus stint in Norway. My neighbors were so funny and interesting that they could give Friends characters a run for their money. Thanks for reminding me that I’m one of the last writers who should ever feel blocked. 😀

    PS Welcome to WordPress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hi, Pinar!
      Isn’t it terrific to have that record in your own hand, waiting to be discovered. You were so clever to write in another language and in different handwriting! The most I ever did was to put a single hair in the page of my journal, as a way of knowing if anyone else was reading my pages – when the hair vanished, I knew for sure my mother was secretly reading it!
      Your journal from the Erasmus stint will make good reading. You never know, there could be some valuable material in there useful for future scripts! 🙂
      Thanks for the welcome!

      Like

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