Updated: Aug 20
As I write down my inner thoughts in my journal, I often find clarity.
I was afraid of journaling. What if someone found my journal and read my most intimate thoughts about people, experiences, regrets or worse. I started a few journals as a teenager, but I destroyed them all based on fear.
I’m mad at myself for not persevering. I would love to read quotes and stories that were important to me at sixteen. I only have memories now and we all know that they fade with time. Details blur and timelines warp. I’m way past sixteen years old but it’s never too late to document memories.
My biggest benefit is that it helps me remember things. I’m a bit of a day dreamer with a memory of a strainer. Not a great combination. I write everything down. I have lists everywhere on scraps of paper or the back of a receipt. I lose many. It made far more sense to record my life in one place. I might stop at grocery lists but hey it’s an option. Journals don’t judge us.
I did decide to be consistent about one thing and that was to write down what I was grateful for daily. It’s a mood enhancer and a motivator for me. It starts my day off on the right foot and once I’ve had at least two cups of strong coffee, I’m ready for the day.
I finally realized that a journal can be more than just words.
I made a list:
Art — I can fill it with project ideas.
Quotes — Quotes are awesome. Sometimes it’s a word and at other times it’s a phrase. Either way, they are worth recording so that I can reflect on them later.
Memories — When I sit with a friend or a family member, we reminisce. Things come up that I completely forgot about. Those are the forgotten memories that need a place to rest. Why not in my journal.
Photos or prints — I don’t want to make my journal into a photo album, but a few here and there are nice.
Tickets — The first time I went to a museum with my son was to a Harry Potter exhibition. I wish I still had those tickets to paste in the journal.
Chronological — No, I really don’t mind if my memories are in date order. I’m not filing them away in the journal. Just preserving them.
Heirloom — I don’t know too much about my great grandparents, What if they had kept a journal. I would love to have learned more about them. Perhaps my journal of tickets, anecdotes, quotes, and short stories could provide a window into my world. My grandchildren and their children might (hopefully) find me interesting. At least the world I lived in might be of interest to them.
Questions — I can write down questions for myself. I don’t have to answer them. I can just write them down to give them a voice.
Manifestations — I want to be a successful published author of young adult fantasy fiction. I can write it down and manifest my dream.
Positive moments — Maybe someone smiled at me or helped me with something. That’s worth remembering. I should write it down.
Dreams — Ok, maybe this one is a bit personal but if I’m brave enough I might record some of the highlights.
Timing — I write in my journal late at night, it’s nice to reflect on my day. Sometimes I start with a sentence of gratitude in the morning.
Ideas — I’m in a constant state of creativity and I my mind wonders to crafty ideas all day long. If I don’t write them down, they’re gone. The ether collects them from me and takes them away. Sometimes for good. I have a horrible memory, but my journal could be an extension of my brain.
Sometimes I write down an article idea or an idea for a character in one of my books.
Our neighbor’s little girl likes to give me stickers or pictures. I glue them into my journal with a note of the time and day, and smile when I see them again.
I could go on and on about the benefits of keeping a journal. The more I think about it, the more I want to kick myself for not starting sooner. It’s never too late. Maybe I’ll find that print I made of my son’s foot when he was 3 months old. That will be a neat thing to paste in my journal. I thought of taking another print of his foot and pasting it next to the baby one but somewhere along the line the kid grew — like a lot. A size 11 foot probably won’t fit in my journal pages. Unless I trifold it.
Moments are easily forgotten but when we treasure and preserve them, we can enjoy them just as much as we did the first time around.
If I write it down, I can clear my head for new ideas. A quote from Flannery O’Connor sums it up for me.
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O’Connor
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