Monday, April 20, 2009

The Art of Keeping a Journal

"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."
- Oscar Wilde, “The Importance of Being Earnest”

As a writer, I find myself loving words, loving nearly anything that has to do with the art of creating words, creating stories, reading...just about anything about stories and words, words, words.

I just don't mean to make people feel guilty or weird or stupid if they aren't as crazy about them as I am. Take journaling, for instance. I absolutely love journaling and have kept up a journal of some sort for most of my life; for me, journaling has come in the form of pen on paper, but also in the form of an online journal for friends to read and comment on. Journaling is just something I have always done because I enjoy it. I love writing. I love journaling for many, many reasons.

But I know that it isn't for everyone. Not everyone likes to write. And not everyone likes to journal.

That caveat aside, this post is about journaling and most definitely is pro-journaling. Why? Because...well, I love journaling and want to offer up a few reasons why you *might* want to keep a journal.

Journal…

1) for posterity. It’s true. Even if your life feels the most boring on earth, we are living through a time period that future generations will look back on as HISTORY. We are living in historic times, people! For the first time ever in American history, we have a black president – that mere fact alone is history. We are living during one of the worst economic recessions since the Great Depression. It isn’t fun; it can be depressing. But it is history. Tell your journal about it. Tell your journal what you think about it.

Journal about every day life for you and how what is happening affects you. My journal entries lately have told stories about my family and friends, but also about how my job situation has changed because of the economy. I’ve clipped articles out of the paper and tucked them in between pages, too. Someday, it may be interesting to look back on and see how my references to the economy pertain to these news clippings.

2) for yourself. A journal can be a wonderful way to work out things in your life. A journal is a quiet place, where nobody else can comment or criticize. Your journal can be the place to sort out things in your spiritual life with God.

Recently, I went back and read a journal I kept last summer and realized that events that occurred laid a bit of the foundation of things that are occurring in my life right now. Without my journal, I might not have realized quite as fully when and how these things began. A journal gives you an opportunity to keep a record of the intricate threads God sows into your life on a daily basis. Some of them may blossom into glorious things…others into hard times, but it is always amazing to see where God is leading.

3) for writing material. Write about the people you see waiting for the bus every morning as you travel to work. Jot down conversations you hear, amusing and intriguing tidbits. As a writer, these notes could one day prove to be invaluable, a ready source of material for stories and articles.

There are a million reasons to keep a journal. The key isn’t so much to figure out why you keep a journal, but to keep one. Keep one for yourself or for family members or just because. But if you keep a journal, write. Write what you see and hear and think. Just write. That’s all it takes to keep a journal.

To be continued…

2 comments:

Emily April 23, 2009 at 12:55 PM  

Great post, Krista! You have some good tips here. I've kept up with online journaling, of course, but I don't always put pen to real paper. I'm encouraged to do so! PS - love the picture!

Elizabeth May 3, 2009 at 5:45 AM  

Excellent post, Krista! :)

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