Keeping An Interesting Journal
Select a Place for Recording Your Thoughts
When I was looking for journals, I chose one with slightly thicker pages. I knew that I would be gluing in photos, clippings and other items. With thinner pages, the glue, even if a glue stick would be a mess.
I also chose a book that had at least 50 pages. Thinner books, though they may be pretty were not useful to me as I do tend to write a good deal in my journal.
If you are of limited funds, even a simple spiral notebook or composition notebook can be a journal. You can make it more personal with designs, stickers, drawings, and more. Don't go glue crazy, though. The pages won't stand up to the weight of the glue if you put in a lot of external items.
The cover ideally should be hard, this is to protect the book from tearing apart. A friend of mine glued cardboard panels from a cereal box that was cut down to the size of her journal. This allowed the book, when full of items and entries to still stand up on the shelf, and nothing was lost from the journal.
I also like the elastic strap that allows the book to remain closed and if you are adding items and elements, this is nice to firmly hold the pages in place while glue dries.
Have a Journal Goal In Mind
For some, journaling is simply a recording of the days' events, or a written catalog of a specific event or timeline.
For others, using a journal can be a valuable tool to help with meeting goals. When I was getting ready for an international trip, keeping a pre-travel journal allowed me to notate all of the things that I felt were needed, such as progress with my visa, progress in mastering a new language, and finally, progress on getting to the country. Later, I was able to look back and see the steps that were needed and share the information with someone else that was traveling there. Additionally, a pre-travel journal is a great place to note where you have packed or stored things. (Passport is in carry on bag is a note I made in the journal.)
A friend of mine wrote letters every single day to her unborn child. They were filled with hopes, dreams, photos and poems. The child is grown now, and cherishes the small book of "Before you were here in the open".
Journals can be a safe place for sadness, anger and other feelings of unhappiness. By keeping a journal of this, it allows for a place where it is safe to vent, safe to express, and safe to feel fully the emotions that you are experiencing.
If in counseling, sometimes counselors will suggest keeping a journal, and then ask you to bring them in occasionally. This can be to look back and see what progress is being made.
A journal is a personal tracking device that measures or records what you decide. When I first discovered an artist whose style I liked, I would clip out and glue into my journal artwork that was similar. I would then follow up with small pencil sketches of my own. It helped to give me a feel for the style that I liked.
Deciding What to Include Other Than Writing
I went through a very bad breakup many years ago. I decided to keep a 30 day journal to get past how very hurt I felt. Every single day, I would look at online and print media. If I saw something of interest, I would clip it out. If I went somewhere, I would take a memento, even if it was only a candy wrapper.
During that time, I was so sad that getting out of bed was sometimes an issue. Now, when I look through that journal years later, I can see the pattern of disbelief, grief, anger, healing, and acceptance that I went through.
I love seeing the little pumpkin Godiva wrapper taped into the book next to some faded autumn leaves. It was the first time in over a week that I went outdoors. I rewarded myself with a piece of candy. I searched and found fall leaves in four different colors. I look at that day as remarkable because in that journal entry, there is no mention of my ex. No mention of sadness about him. Just taking a walk on a cool fall day, rainfall, Godiva chocolate and fall leaves.
Reading journals from your past can shed insights on how you handle things. It really will remind you of past times. A friend and myself went to go see a movie. I pasted the ticket into the book, as well as a movie review. That night, I took a snap shot of us in the theater with my camera, and I got that printed off. She is now living in Australia, and we don't see one another. When I see that photo, it makes me smile, because it was simply a fun evening out.
Journals Are a Time Capsule
In high school English, we were required to keep a journal. We could write what we wanted, as long as we made an entry every single day, the teacher did not care. I am so glad that I have this book now, filled with names of friends, places we went, songs we listened to and clothes we wore. Even some current events are covered from a different point of view. I actually glued a photo of myself and my sister into this book. A complete treasure.
Your journals will also be time capsules. As long as you use them. The most useless journal of all is the one that is not kept. If this is your first journal, set an appointment with yourself for once a week. Even if you write in your journal more than once a week, make sure that one time per week you sit down for a few moments. What seems like a chore will become easier over time.
Make Your Journal As Interesting As You Are
When you first begin to keep a journal, it can seem formidable to come up with something to write. Coming up with interesting things is easy. Think of one topic that you really like and enjoy thinking about. Look for items online that relate to this topic and note them in your journal. I once did three pages on the color yellow and the different ways that I saw it being used.
The result of this small journal exersize is that it forced me to think about color in different and abstract ways. I begin to see how designers used color in their setting of mood and design. This experiment helped later when I was trying out different colors for a room. I was able to look back at my carefully recorded thoughts in a journal and experience the way I felt with only the color yellow. I did a further journal entry for each of the colors I was considering and ended up going with the least likely of all of them. Why? Because the journal entries showed me how I felt about each of the colors.
Another interesting journal project that I did was about the different herbs that were native to the area that I lived in. I was able to try some new herbs and I learned a lot about the local plants. Having an interesting journal is a chance to learn more about yourself and the world around you.
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