Do you keep a journal, a place where you can record your thoughts about, well, anything? Travel, gratitude, observations. Family, love, motherhood, fatherhood memoir. Job or career, school, relationships, story ideas. The topics are endless.
You may jot down an observation, a word you like, a thought, a saying, a name of someone or something you admire. A poem. These items can trigger new thoughts and ideas.
You may paste in mementos, make drawings, add a photo, add borders and/or background colors to the pages. I have friends whose journals are almost works of art in themselves with streamers, buttons, and baubles dangling from them, with drawings and watercolor pictures inside to accompany their writings.
During a stressful period a few years back, I kept a “WTF Now?” journal. I had moved into a new townhouse besieged by poor workmanship and faulty design that didn’t manifest until the first rain. Leaking roof and leaking windows big time. Within the journal pages, I vented. And vented. Obviously, journal writing can be very therapeutic.
Recently, I took a journal-making class taught by artist Vicki Scudamore. In it, we took a colorful file folder (mine had the Eiffel Tower on it), trimmed a few inches of it here and there, and attached five folded white sheets inside by stitching them onto the folder’s spine. Voila. A ten page journal. The band around the center securing it is called a belly band. The new journal now waits for words on its blank pages.
It’s interesting to read the journal pages of famous writers, artists, and historical figures. At left is a notebook belonging to Charles Darwin. (Caption paraphrased from website below.)
One journal I use quite often is a small bright-yellow spiral notebook I call “Notes on Writing.” In it I record ideas and discoveries about writing in general – or about a particular piece I’m working on – or ideas for something I’d like to write in the future.
And I find writing in a journal is a great way to write regularly.
Whatever your motivation – to explore, list, create, record, experiment – keeping a journal is a satisfying – and useful – endeavor. However you do it, here’s to the journaling habit.
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For more on Darwin and 19 other famous journal keepers: