Hello one and all!
What do you want to gain by keeping a journal?
Most of my journals throughout my childhood, or diaries as I usually called them, were filled with boring tales and complaints. The entries were pages long, started neat and ended messy, contained obsessive documentation of my friendships, and for a few months were written in Tolkien’s elvish script. Those hours I spent hunched over my pen didn’t leave me with much more than bad posture and prescription glasses; there was rarely anything worth looking back on, nor any personal growth accomplished through my ramblings.
As an adult, I could never commit to a journal for very long. I attempted to write in the manner I was used to, but felt I had nothing of interest or importance to make a record of. So I turned to store-bought journals that prompted me with questions; they tended to be too restrictive in their scope and the space I was provided for answers. I would rarely look forward to writing in them, and it wouldn’t take long for them to be tossed aside. Once again, nothing was gained from the endeavor.
This year, I decided I wanted to try again. I wouldn’t wander aimlessly through a blank notebook, nor would I purchase yet another book of prompts.
I compiled a list of my own prompts and questions that I would write out myself, and I have kept to that list. Every evening, or occasionally the morning after, I reflect on the past day. I have found that this method gives me the structure lacking in my childhood ramblings while providing the freedom lacking in store-bought journals.
Furthermore, I have found that I look forward to writing at the end of each day, even if it keeps me up a little later. My outlook on life has been more positive, my anger is less prolonged, and my productivity has spiked. I don’t just think about these questions when I sit down with my pen; I think about them throughout the day. When I choose to eat poorly, I do so knowing I will hold myself accountable when I ask how I could have been healthier. When something good happens, I hold it in my mind to record later (which also tends to keep me in a happier mindset). When I can’t decide whether I will do a task that needs doing, I consider how I will want to record it when writing about what I accomplished that day. When I am irritated, I ask myself then and there whether it is worth the energy to be bothered over.
I have found something that works for me now, and I hope I continue this practice for quite some time.
Do you keep a journal? What are your reasons and methods? How have they changed over the years?
As always, much love, and happy writing!