Monday, November 28, 2011

10 things Mondays: reasons to keep a journal

Pretty blue journal with flowers and dragonfly

As a child I kept starting journals but the habit never stuck. A few years ago I worked my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way and have been journalling ever since. I don’t often write every day but I journal regularly. Here’s a few thoughts on why.

1.       Record the major events of your life.
We always think we will remember the details of our lives but we forget lots of things really. It’s nice to occasionally go back over your diary and relive those moments.
2.       Identify patterns and habits
In The Artists Way you write every day but don’t re-read any pages for 9 weeks. When I went back over that time I discovered that I complained every single day about being tired. That was a revelation for me and changed my relationship to time. I make a concerted effort to winge less too.
3.       Capture ideas
Your journal is a great place to write down those ideas that pop into your head at otherwise inopportune moments.  Some of those thoughts are lost forever because you were running into a meeting and can’t recall them.
4.       To do list
I use my journal to write long term and day to day lists of things I need or want to do. This hasn’t always been the case, for a long time I kept it for musings but now it’s more of a one stop shop.
5.       Other sorts of lists
Books you’ve read or want to read.
6.       Drawings and creative musings
By using a non-lined journal you can illustrate your diary or record ideas and images that you want to use later on. Perhaps look for a journal that has one lined and one plain page. I don’t tend to draw in my diary but have a separate creative visual journal where I explore key themes like creative blocks or just play.
7.       Canvas for art work
I like to make covers for my journals.  I sew cloth slip covers for otherwise plain hard bound journals. My covers feature beautiful fabrics ( my current cover is made from a vintage placemat and an old pillow case), hand painting, embroidery and found object collages. It is a great way to explore techniques. Similarly it is a great way to make something useful out of your creative experiments.
8.       Scrapbooking
Whilst not a scrapbooker in the modern sense my journals are full of theatre ticket stubbs, business cards, inspirational bits and pieces that I pick up and like. I love to slip these little mementoes between the pages of my journal. Sometimes I glue in an envelope or two to hold the pieces. They are such an evocative thing to rediscover years down the track when you open an old journal.
9.       History
Throughout history journals have been one of our best sources of information about events of a global or personal nature. Whilst I don’t write for posterity as such if a major event moves me I will write about it and my reaction. Many people write specifically to record events for their children. I think it’s important if you do this to write about how it makes you feel.
10.   Connected
The overwhelming reason I keep journalling however is to feel connected to me, to my life. We all comment on how life just seems to get quicker ever year. We wonder where time has gone and what we did with it all. I write so that I can remember. I write so that I can spend a few moments quietly with my own thoughts. I write to stop the thoughts  keeping me awake all night. I write so that I notice when work and other realities of life keep me from pursuing what’s important to me.  My blog is an online journal, just as originally intended by their inventor.  If I don’t have anything worth sharing on my blog then I am not living the life of my dreams, not experiencing my own brand of homespunbliss.

So in conclusion I journal to keep me living the life I dream about.  Do you journal? Please share your experiences, I’d love to hear why you do or don’t journal.

Note to readers: I have been trawling through the web looking for what other people say about keeping a journal. I can't fnd anything that inspires me. Some people blog about weight loss journals, some record their bird watching exploits. Others blod about just journalling. I haven't found anything on blogs about art, craft, sewing, gardening all the things I enjoy. I find it nice to connect with people writing about similar things to me. So, please share your ideas here.


  1. that's so true
    guess i have to keep a journal as well

  2. Hey farouk, glad my post hit a chord. Thanks for stopping by, hope you update me on how your journal goes.



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