Keeping a journal allows you to read about your thoughts, emotions and life happenings from various times in your life.
One of the comments I often hear from others who want to write about their life is that it is hard to keep it up. And they are correct! Life writing is not easy. But there are simple things we can do on a regular basis.
All productive writers tell us that regular writing sessions are essential.
I best practice this by writing in my journal. I've been doing this for many years. I've tried different approaches, from handwriting in notebooks and bound books with lovely blank pages to typing away on the keypad and storing it in computer documents.
I recommend you do whatever works best for you.
I find I am more productive if I can type it on a computer. But the handwriting work can result in a slower pace and more reflection and you can also spend time doodling and drawing.
Adding artwork to your journals can be a wonderful way to inspire you to deeper and richer writing.
I've journaled for many years. I do think handwritten journals are good and fun.
Especially if you like to carry it around with you, write when inspired, and even add doodles.
But I also like the ability to preserve my writing on a computer. There are software programs you can try. I've used some over the years. Or you can even just open up a document and save your writing.
Currently I have been using Google Docs. That allows me to access my writing from whatever computer I am on as long as I can connect to the internet.
Saving your writing in a digital form, be it a document or a website, allows you to archive your writing. I find it helpful to go back once in a while to see what was going on in my life that I was writing about.
It's kind of like a blog to myself, but I have also used material from my journals for writing that I share with others, such as right here on this site.
All writing should be done with an audience in mind. My public writing appears in my blogging, websites and teaching.
My journal writing is personal, but there is still an audience - it is me! That being the case, the "me audience" needs to take time to go back and read past entries and reflect. This can yield lots of benefits.
If you are working on a memoir, keeping a journal allows you to read about your thoughts, emotions and life happenings from various times in your life.
Granted, it is mostly the past few years for me, but inevitably those journal entries contain some reminiscences of earlier life.
That material can be gold for a life story.
It was revealing this afternoon to do a lengthy journal entry and then go back and read what I wrote near the end of each of the last four Januarys.
I read about my search for a new career following leaving radio broadcasting, my path to becoming a certified teacher, the death of my father and the ongoing evolution of this personal history work.
The reflection that comes from that happens not only today, but in the days ahead.
This is good stuff.
Take the time to write.
Do it regularly.
Set aside a time each day if possible. Even if you just sit down to journal and can't think of anything to write about then try expressing that.
"Here I am writing another journal entry. My mind is a blank. I really don't know what to say."
This might lead to,
"But writing that just now helps me realize that I am thinking about writing and taking the action. And that's causing my fingers to move across the page (or continue to type). Okay, that's better than nothing.
Why do I struggle with writing? I know it serves a purpose. And I've been stuck before. The key is to just do it. Yes, that's the ticket! Action yields results. And as I write I reflect. There really is much about my life journey worth remembering and writing about. Hey, this isn't so bad after all."
Do you get the idea?
So take some time to write. Take some time later to go back and read what you wrote and then reflect on it.
Save it and savor it. Persevere.
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” - Robert J. Collier (1876-1918).
More articles and information about journal writing:
The importance of keeping a journal for personal and spiritual growth. Journaling is truly a great tool. In our journey through life we need to spend time reflecting on our days and considering the implications of the events in our lives.
Even if you have never kept a journal or diary I’m willing to bet you have had days when you thought a great deal about events in your life. It’s a mistaken idea to think you have to be a gifted writer to keep a journal. Anyone can write short entries. It is so important to do this. Over time, our recall may fail us. Memories fade.