We’ve all probably had journals at some point in our lives, right? When I was around 9 years old I had a gel pen diary that I was very fond of (that is, it had black pages and you could write on them with neon-colored gel pens, ooooh). I remember being very inspired by the Dear America books and how they made me want to record my own life story.
At some point I stopped keeping a journal and didn’t take up the practice again for a very long time. Then, just a couple years ago, I was required to keep a daily journal for a class. Although I was happy this would motivate me to start journaling again, I was afraid it would just end up feeling like a chore and I’d struggle to come up with things to say.
But I found that I had a lot more to say than I thought I did. A lot more happens in a day than you might think, even on “boring” days: You learn something interesting, someone tells you a hilarious story, you overhear a weird conversation, you see something particularly unusual/beautiful/mysterious. And on top of that, there’s so much more to talk about––your thoughts, feelings, fears, hopes … the list goes on and on!
I’ve started to really love my journal for a lot of reasons––for mental health, for writing, for some other random, practical reasons. And now I will share 4 of those reasons why I love it so much:
My journal, so you have an idea of what it looks like. I know the picture is grainy, sorry. 😛
1. It helps me keep up the practice of writing. I wish I had the motivation to work on my fictional writing every day––but the reality is, I don’t. Some days I am just not inspired at all. But the great thing about life is that it provides constant inspiration. Even if I just make a list of all the things I did in a day, I feel like I’ve done something productive. Whatever it is, at least it’s practice.
2. It’s meditative. I always really feel “in the zone” when I’m writing in my journal. I’ve found that sometimes I’ll write in it for more than an hour and it feels like no time went by. It really helps me to focus, to concentrate on remembering things and reflect on all my thoughts, feelings, experiences, and observations. In turn, this helps me feel more relaxed and in control.
3. It makes me notice details. Ever since I started journaling regularly, I feel like I’ve become much more observant of the world around me. I’m always looking out for small, interesting things that I can write about. This is also great from a fiction-writing standpoint, since it helps me to think about how to make the “everyday” more interesting and to come up with ideas and descriptions that I can use in future writing projects.
4. It helps me remember things. I’m always worried I’m going to forget the small (but significant) things that happen in my life, so I enjoy having a record of (mostly) everything that happens to me. I enjoy going through my journals and reading about what I did each day, since there are often events I might have forgotten about otherwise. It’s also interesting to read my thoughts and reflections on those experiences, and to see how much I’m changing over time.
So, how about you guys? Does anyone else keep a journal? If so––why do you enjoy doing it?