Three Good Reasons to Keep a Journal
Many people are under the mistaken impression that writing a journal involves writing down your deepest, darkest secrets and thoughts. This idea is what I call the "teenage girl effect", because it is teen girls who usually like to write about who they have a crush on at one one particular time during their junior high and high school careers. This may be why many adults think journal writing is childish. No, diary writing is childish, OK? Now that that's established we can safely claim the journal writing is for adults. I've put together three good reason to keep a journal. It's never too late to start.
1. Just to Remember
You don't need to write earth-shattering revelations in your journal. Many people think that writing one is only for those with exciting lives who travel a lot or for those who think too much. This is not true. You can put anything in a journal. You'll be surprised when you look back at an obscure entry from years back and it brings that day back to your mind. Even a one sentence entry like "Had lunch with Tom and Vladimir in town today: steak and fries" can have the power to bring back details of the conversations you had and what you did the rest of the day. Just a few words can trigger memories that you would never have remembered otherwise.I sometimes think I am being mundane by sometimes writing almost identical entries everyday, but small differences of routine noted down bring those day back to my mind very clearly after I read them months or years later. People, places and things pop into my mind just from a few words written down years ago.
2. For Reference
Remember, the vast majority of people will never have their journals published. If you keep in mind that you are writing for yourself and not for an audience, you can write however you want: using bullet points; jotting down random words; making sketches; noting down recipes, places, or good quotes; shopping lists, etc. Believe it or not, whenever I've come across a jotted down shopping list from years ago I can sometimes distinctly remember that experience - which all tend to be roughly the same - from that particular day (the weather, who I saw, what I wore and so on).
Years later you will have your memory jogged by a short scrawled funny quote you heard from a stranger on the bus, and you might remember what you did that whole day.
I tend to write down when I put in my new pair of 30 day contact lenses as well, which I inevitable forget. This way I can just flip back through the journal and find the date. Sometimes it is the most mundane things that can be the most interesting years later.
3. Improve Your Handwriting
Hardly anyone writes much nowadays besides signing our names on checks. When I started journal writing I found that my hand got cramped very quickly, I wrote slow, and my handwriting was almost illegible. As time went on my handwriting got readable and nicer to look at, not to mention that my finger became stronger and I could write faster. Writing by hand is becoming a lost art. I'm always amazed by how nice people's handwriting was when I see old documents and letters. I tend to think my thoughts through better when I write by hand than when I type (which might very well be visible in my hubs).
I just like the feel of writing on better quality paper with a nice pen. It makes me feel like I am actually putting something down which might be read by someone in the future, no matter how unlikely that seems. Also, there is only one copy of what I write in my journal and it won't get lost in cyber space.
For those of you out there who have never tried it, I suggest you give it a shot. Just write something down every day, no matter how short or mundane it seems. You'll be surprised and pleased in the future when you look back on what you wrote and find that they weren't so mundane afer all.