I was a very good girl last year and kept a detailed journal from February through December. In the past, my journaling has been rather inconsistent, but I’m confident my sporadic efforts will add up nicely to give a sweet picture of my life for my future great-great grandchildren, especially if I keep the habit up and add childhood memories as I go.
There are many benefits to keeping a journal. For me, writing in a journal is therapeutic. It’s like a friend who is always available to only listen and never judge! I’ve also found that writing down special moments or occasions soon after they happen keeps those memories fresh and accurate. When my kids have read my childhood journal entries, they’ve realized that even with our generation gaps, we have a lot in common (such as peer pressure). But most of all, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate many of my blessings, big and small.
- A journal can be as simple as a spiral notebook or you can find pretty or themed journals at bookstores such as Barnes and Noble.
- Always date each entry.
- Write from your heart and be honest. Share your ups and your downs of life.
- You never know. Your trials and mistakes and the way you handle them or learned from them might inspire or help someone years from now.
- Get detailed! Saying you had a fun day won’t mean anything unless you list the specific events that made it fun.
- Write both first and last names of people you mention, and add their relationship to you.
- Don’t worry about spelling or perfect penmanship. If you make a mistake, just cross it out instead of ripping out the page and starting over. Cross outs and doodles give your journal personality! I’ve even glued paper items into my journal, such as a turtle drawing my niece made for me or a ticket stub.
- Think outside the box if you want. I created a type of journal by printing out personal email conversations I had years ago with my sister and my closest friends, while I lived in Peru. I put each printout in protective sleeves and compiled them in a binder. Bloggers who journal in their posts can turn their blog into books with services such as blog2print.com (I’ve never used this so I can’t vouch for it.)
Today I came across this article on familysearch.org that has a challenge, called, the 52 Stories project, which I’m going to do this year. I’m hoping some of my readers will join me. The idea is to record (in any form) one life story each week of this year. The best way to do this is by random memory. If you don’t know where to start, try asking yourself one of these questions.
Here is a snippet from the article that stood out to me:
“On nearly every headstone, no matter how plain or ornate, is carved one universal symbol. It’s a simple horizontal line—a dash—separating two significant dates. The first marks the day one precious soul entered this mortal life. The second marks his or her inevitable journey onward.
A well-known poem by Linda Ellis, “The Dash,” speaks of this symbol:
“For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.”
We are each, right now, standing somewhere in the middle of our own individual dashes.”
♥ Do you keep a journal? If you decide to participate in the 52 Stories challenge, let me know! ♥