Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Why I Keep A Journal | 5 Tips for Starting Yours

Empty white paper has always inspired me. I remember coming back to my grandparents house with “a little book.” The whole way from the dollar store, I daydreamed about writing an important story, and filling the pages with my work. I just couldn’t come up with any ideas that seemed good enough - grown up enough. 

(Some things never change...I remain ever, faithfully, the starry-eyed Anne of Green Gables type.)

Back on the patio, on the swing, I finally gave up and offered the book to my Papaw. Thought it was sad that he hadn’t gotten anything from the store. “No, honey. That’s your diary. You write in that every day, all about what happens…”

And I guess that’s how my life as a “personal journalist” started. All through my growing up years I kept a journal of nearly everything that happened in my little world, and now those entries have become invaluable memories, starting out in nine year old handwriting. I don’t regret a word of it. 

Now it’s harder to find time to sit down and relive the day (in words) like I used to, but with a growing family of my own, I find it’s more important than ever. Precious moments slip away too quickly. Memories fade too fast. A few lines at the end of the day may seem trivial now, but in years to come, they’ll bring laughter, maybe tears, but always so much love. 

Tip #1. KEEP IT POSITIVE. My adolescent journals are full of dismal moments. They’re entirely pessimistic, and I wrote about all the mountains that I see as molehills now. For heaven’s sake - count your blessings, guys! If somebody dies, yeah. It’s okay to be sad - but keep whining to a mininum. Focus on making your readers laugh, not dragging them down in the dumps. 

Tip#2 DON’T KEEP A SCHEDULE. Anything that’s rigidly demanding will turn into drudgery after a while. Write when you’re so happy you can’t handle it, or so sad it overwhelms you. When your entries become dogmatic “I write because I can’t miss a day,” the life goes out of them.

Tip #3 STAY SIMPLE. It doesn’t have to be a powerful work of literature. Even one simple sentence like, “Hope laughed for the first time.” Is enough to jog a memory and bring a smile. That’s the whole point. 

Tip #4 BUILD UP! Never write anything about someone that you’ll regret later. Record priceless moments and the love you share - don’t immortalize things that should be forgotten. 

Tip #5 WRITE FEARLESSLY! Honestly, I HATE reading my own work. From old newspaper articles to blog posts, to journal entries — It embarrasses the daylights out of me. I cringe, and my confidence bites dust. Yours will too, but the written accounts will bring back happy memories in years to come. Chin up, and write anyway! You never know how it may bless someone. 

Do you keep a journal?


Anonymous said...

Always loved finding things you had written when we cleaned out the many hilarious moments relived!

Anonymous said...

I love to journal now, it's a nice way to end the day (or start it:P) but I can't tell you how much I hate reading it! :D

- Rose

Abigail said...

I’ve kept a journal since I was nine too. It’s so special!
Abigail B