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Journaling: Ideas and How-to

Updated on March 3, 2012
My Journal
My Journal | Source

Why keep a journal?

I don't think everyone must keep a journal, but I found it to be an interesting exercise and a therapeutic experience. Some may be drawn to journaling because they enjoy writing, others, because they find they have no one else to confide in. Whatever your reasoning may be, I encourage you to give journaling a try. It may become your next great hobby, and an artistic outlet so many of us crave in a day to day life.

Reading Journal
Reading Journal | Source

1. Reading Journal

If you are an avid reader, and complete at least one or two books a month, you may enjoy keeping a simple Reading Journal.

How To: Use Amazon, Wikipedia, or Barns and Noble website to find an image of a book you recently read. Print out the image, cut it out, and glue it in when making a new entry. Come up with a quick rating system (can be as simple as 1-5 stars). Write down when you read the book, a general summary, and your honest opinion. If you end up watching a movie based on this novel, you can add a quick reflection on the quality of the movie and a ticket stub.

Add stickers and drawings to embellish your entry.
Add stickers and drawings to embellish your entry. | Source

2. Gardening Journal

For a gardener, keeping a journal may turn out to be not only enjoyable, but also a useful endeavor. It can help you keep track of what you planted, when you planted and how successful a particular gardening project turned out to be.

How To: Sketch various areas of your garden, staple or glue in the seed packets you used, date when you planted particular seeds, when they came up, and when they began to flower or produce fruit. You can add pictures of your garden, dried herbs and flowers, and ideas you would like to try.

How about...

  • Making your own journal?
  • If you would like to make an entry but feeling stuck on the topic, search on-line for journaling prompts.
  • Come up with your own purpose for a journal: nature walks? travel? romantic? religious?

3. Personal Journal

Usually people think that personal journal is for writing, well, I beg to differ. I say it's for creating and documenting our lives in a method that suits us best.

How To: Your entry can be a stapled note someone wrote to you at work, a receipt from a family dinner, or a simple doodle. Your entry can be just one word, or a poem you printed from a website. And certainly, there is nothing wrong with setting a realistic writing goal, which can be as little as one written entry a month.

Game Score Journal
Game Score Journal | Source

4. Game Score Journal

The idea is as simple as it sounds. If your family enjoys playing board games, it might be fun to keep a record of all the scores in one place.

How To: Date the entries, write the title of the game you played, and record everyone's scores. Even if you go bowling, you can choose to print out the score-sheet and add it to the journal once you get home. Feel free to add photos of the occasion that brought you together.

You can make just one journal entry a month.
You can make just one journal entry a month. | Source

5. A Journal for Your Child

There are many prefabricated journals out there for a new baby, but the truth is, you can keep a journal for your child no matter what their age is. You can choose to make just one entry a month, and it will still be a treasured notebook they will always cherish.

How To: Write a letter to your child. Add your advice, review an experience you've shared, talk about your take on their actions. As always, add pictures, receipts, tickets stubs of the events you've been to together, recipes you've made over the holidays. End every entry with "I love you", because you do. This will make a perfect gift for their 18th birthday.

Remember - there are no rules!

You get to set your own writing goals and the materials that appeal to you. You get to set the purpose and the quality of your writing. It is your decision on how long your entries should be, and how honest you want your writing to be.

Take a new look at a scrapbooking section of a craft store: borders, stickers, quotes, all can become a welcome addition to your journal. Wallet size photos can find a new home on the pages of your notebooks, and color pencils are not just for kids. Even if you don't feel comfortable drawing a picture, shading an entry with a rainbow pattern can make a statement. It is your journal. These are your rules. Give it a try.


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