Journaling for the Blogger
Why I Journal
Journaling Definition: The practice of keeping a written record usually called a diary or journal that explores various aspects of the events of your life.
Boy that is one seriously dry definition. I promise I will work on it because something as awesome and rewarding as journaling deserves a much more lively description. I journal because it is fun, therapeutic and because it gives me a vehicle to tell my kids to come things I think they should know. My journals have lots of entries I think of as letters to my future kids.
How To Start Journaling
Just start writing and do it. While they are nice, picking out the oh so perfect blank tome to record your soul baring frenzies of personal thought can be exhausting. I know from personal experience.
I have known of important men whose journals are kept in simple ballpoint pen on legal pads. After they have filled up a stack of these pads they send them to the bindery and they are bound into book form, as is, and placed into the libraries for which they are intended.
Point is, start, now, right where you are in life. It will quickly get addictive and it will help you see the future in light of the past.
These tips are purely mine. I list them because I have kept a journal since I was 13 years old. Currently, I am sitting at the double nickel in life (55). That means I have kept a journal off and of for some 42 years.
- Don’t Obsess Too Much.
- Use what is easily available.
- Don’t worry about the medium, the message is the point.
- Make your journal fun, so maybe the medium does count a little bit.
- Set a time…or don’t.
Don’t obsess too much. As I said before, taking a legal pad and recording when you can in a legal pad is a perfectly legit way to go. Also, don’t sweat it over your writing instrument. Most inks fade somewhat but are generally fairly durable. Wait until the habit takes hold bone deep before you spend money on inks that are considered archival quality.
Surprise! Pencil is archival quality. We have fine examples of longhand written in pencil that shows little weathering or lightening after literally hundreds of years. Yes, it can be erased but so can ink by any number of natural disasters or purposeful damage. Also, you can correct as you go with pencil whereas with pen you have to simply scratch it out and go on.
The journals you can buy at the bookstore are awfully pretty. I am using one now. But the truth is, I like the Record Books sold at office supply stores and online. I see examples of those Record Books that are again, many, many decades old or older that show little loss of legibility.
When do you journal? Whenever you feel like it. I like to journal on Sundays. It gives me time to analyze the week and record whatever strikes me as import. I am also given to journaling when my bouts of insomnia come calling. Journaling is a pretty good cure for insomnia. You get off your chest whatever is troubling and then go on to sleep, getting the rest you need. Works for me, at any rate.
Here is a picture of some of the journal I have kept since a teen. Some are personal thoughts, some are detailed notes of things I became fascinated with learning about and investigating. Some are what you would call research records, too.
As you can see, when I talk about making a journal fun, I am quite serious about it. The monks of the Middle Ages used to ‘illuminate’ books, I suppose as a way to burn of the drudgery of living in the Dark Ages when knowledge was often associated with less than positive things. It gives me a happy to use what little artistic talent I have to do what I call illuminating my personal journal, especially the one where I record letters to my future children concerning things I want them to know and learn and especially those things I want them to embrace.
These journals range in age from 40 to 10 years old.
Journals as Planners
DayTimers and the Franklin Planner are wonderful products. Used them for years. I may do so again. What works for me now, though, is the simplest thing I could find in the store.
While I was looking for a simple (and cheap) solution until I could get past my OCD that always sends me into vaporlock when it comes to deciding which of all the magnificent planners I should go with, I lucked up on something called Moleskine cahiers collection.
I like the act of writing, see. Like certain things in mathematics, I also like to keep written notes and find the planning and recording functions of my smartphone just effective and cute enough to piss me off. Anyways, the Moleskin cahiers collection absolves me of the need to use my smartphone thus helping me immunize myself from becoming one of the Walking iPhone Dead while giving me a platform that lets me keep my daily notes and lists in a different format every day if I so desire.
Did you notice that there are two arrows pointing in opposite directions and the writing on the left hand side is upside down? That is because there are things I want to remember and keep up with. Issues like Artificial Intelligence, spiritual lessons, maybe gift ideas for my sweetie. Those things don’t need to be part of my daily planning until it is time to do so. Those notes start in the back. When my list of things to do meets my list of things to think about meet in the middle, I file it and start a new one.
It fits in my pocket right behind my checkbook with a minimum of bulk, too. I like it, so I will carry it with me, every day.
Journaling can be an awesome way to record and celebrate successes, analyze failures and document necessary information for a wide variety of reasons. A daily planner is, in fact, a very directed form of journaling.
A daily planner is a future directed form of a journal; it records what you want to get done while your record or daily notes is a past directed form of journal. It records what you actually did get done and reminds you of what you failed to do or chose not to do.
Another benefit is that you will be able to tell your kids and whoever else reads your journal at some future date exactly what you thought about things. It also creates a permanent records of events and facts that cannot be deleted or accidentally overwritten.
One of my personal favorite benefits is is being able to say to my kids, “Yes, I DO remember what it is like to be 16. I wrote it down!” Yes, I am starting late in life and I think they will be better for it.
Anyways, a short list of benefits:
- Permanent record that cannot be accidentally deleted.
- Therapeutic. The mental benefits of journaling mirror those of meditation, etc., and deserve their own article.
- Let’s you look at your ideas and opinions in writing. Introspection is not a strong suit of many folks. Journaling helps.
Blog. A blog is a journal, too. As I understand it, ‘blog’ is actually a shortening of the 80’s word ‘weblog’ or online journal. I could not see it then, but I see it now. A web based journal is where you write things you want the world to see. A hand written blog, or journal is where you write things you want your family to see, where you can think in private.
It is where you can plan and record and think out loud without the censors of the world, both official and self-appointed, tearing them down.
For me, a journal is a place of bare naked, unfiltered truth. It is a safe space for your mind. It can also serve as a permanent marker stone for you and what you thought.