Friday, March 30, 2012

FYI: My Story of Journaling

In December of last year Laura of Along for the Ride contacted me about my paper and fabric-covered composition books and invited me to share my story of journaling as part of a series she runs on her blog. Seems my every new year comes with a resolution to journal more regularly. Do yours? Well, it's a full quarter into the new year now and I'm sharing this as a way to motivate myself again, and perhaps you too! Click to read more.

I received my first journal the Christmas after I turned eight. It is bound in burgundy leather with gold imprinting and has smooth white unlined pages so my irregular writing weaved across them. I wrote in it that first night after unwrapping it and ever night thereafter for at least a year. I must have twenty different journals since then. They vary in shape, size and aesthetics. I laugh when I see the padded one with a bear illustration on the front and remember fondly when I purchased the one bound in hand-printed paper and linen on a college trip to Venice. My writing improved, and then seems to have become worse, but still nothing beats something written directly by hand. Don't you agree?

Some of the journals catalog a year, and some not quite a year, and others span a five year period! Unfortunately the books that cover more time are the more recent and I lament the fact that I haven't been journaling as regularly about my young adulthood and early married years. There was a time when I journaled regularly but found the habit a bit rote. Seemed each entry would simply list the days activities, which didn't change all that much. But when I moved the box of my journals out of the basement for a remodel a couple years ago I flipped through those junior high journals and laughed myself silly at the personality they portrayed. I was giddy, I was boy-crazy, I was a dreamer full of lists of things to do (I guess not everything changes when you grow up). So even the mundane recordings have a lot to reveal.

A few years ago I decided it would be easier to journal online, through a family blog. I'm on the computer so much anyway, it seemed a simple idea to type a few paragraphs about an experience or a first in my child's life, or something funny one of them just said. And so great to have pictures to go along! The online journaling started off about like my offline: with a flurry of activity and regularity for about the first year and then it has trailed off a bit. I am always recommitting to be more regular about it.

In this busy life with lots of good things to do I believe there is a lot of value in stopping to think about what we should be noticing, remembering, and learning from. If I write it down perhaps I won't forget and perhaps I will find it instructive in a few years, or perhaps my children, or even grandchildren will.

So online, or in a leather bound book, or a simple composition notebook, I will continue to journal my life and can't wait for the Christmas or Birthday when I gift my daughters their first journal to record the perspectives that can belong only to their little souls.

Do you journal? If so, how do you do it? Online? By hand? Some way in-between? I'd love to know.

My "FYI" posts share news or a perspective about something that's been on my mind. You can read them all here.


Emily said...

Love hearing your story! I used to journal, much like you. I think I wrote every day for close to twenty years. In college we'd have journal parties and all write in our journals at the same time, which would sometimes evolve into the journal game (reading a random sentence from a random page). One of my roommates must be on her 70th journal by now! I've kind of given up over the last seven years but started a blog instead of a journal b/c I like including pictures and can do it one handed.

tealeaver said...

I am almost 60 years old, have been married almost 40 years, and have been journaling for 40 years. I must. It is my place to speak. I have a box in the basement that I someday will go thru, full of my old journals, like yours, each one is different, some covering a year, some a few years. I will always journal on paper, never computer. It's just not the same. Thru many years of ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, my journal has always been my friend, listening to my words, that I sometimes could not speak to anyone but my journal and God. Infact, I felt many times as I would write, it was really God I was writing to. I intend on writing until I can write no more.

miamihoney said...

I love journaling and I have for a very long time. I consider my blog a version of my journaling- as well as the blog I write about raising my son. There are times that I write a ton and times I have a hard time filling a page. Oh the journals from my college years are filled with so much-heart break, big plans, broke days and the like. I love laughing at that girl. She was a hoot. This yr I started a multimedia journal and that has me so motivated to share and be creative too.

Peppermint Mocha Mama said...

I have been keeping a journal since I was about 8 years old. I have since moved on to the online blog version roughly six years ago but I do it every day. I love how I have a record of everything to share with those I love... my little stamp on the world.

@jenhalloran said...

Thanks for the great reminder / nudge to keep recording life as it happens. I have the same first journal as you (only mine was white) and I love reading those old, cringe-worthy entries.

玉芳 said...

I did wrote journals, but I can't read what a wrote. Strange huh?

Anneliese said...

Thank you for your thought-provoking comments! I love thinking about journals as a way to capture the women we were and are and loving ourselves in all our incarnatations.



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