Journaling is the process of writing your thoughts down on a daily basis. Many teen aged (or younger) girls have a diary and whether you call it having a diary or journaling, it is the same thing. Maybe you have a special book or maybe you just write on slips of paper. Why journal you might say? What is so important about journaling? Why would I want to keep a record of the perhaps mundane life or perhaps you are yelling to the computer, me? Journal? I have zero time! This is why journaling is important now and for future generations:
It keeps a record of events: Even if only for family members, it is important and interesting to keep a record of events, even though they may seem small at the moment. These records can then be passed onto future generations. I am a big fan of the Antique Roadshow on PBS and often they have well worn leather books that have been used by famous or not so famous people just detailing their every day life. Being the history fanatic that I am, I love to read the history of the lives of people. I once read a book that was a daily journal of a private during the American Civil War. It probably did not occur to him at the time that his life would be put on paper for all to see. He just wanted to keep a record of what was going on in his life at that moment.
It helps you with your writing skills: My daughter was told by her teacher that she needed to start journaling as it would help her with her English. And if you are an aspiring writer, it is a great idea to write every day!
You can whine, complain, complement yourself, be your own best cheerleader and even gloat and no one will be the wiser! Journal writing allows you both self expression and to see your ideas on paper and it also self exploration and the development of getting to know yourself better. In the keeping of a journal, it provides a way to record details and memories of your life (do you remember when your child got its first tooth?) The journal preserves your thoughts and ideas and is a wonderful means of expressing yourself, explore new ideas and thoughts and sometimes keeping a journal can even help you resolve a problem! It gives shape and substance to our ideas. It is a great place to pour out your heart (and cheaper than a psychologist!!) onto paper and not have to worry about anyone else or their feelings. Journals can allow one to reach the inner most part of themselves and explore it.
If you decide to take journal writing seriously, you will probably want to have a special book that you can write in. You can either purchase a formal diary (maybe even with a lock on it) or just visit your local dollar store and buy a note book. You might want to try and purchase different colour pens even. These are great to code your moods with. If you are feeling especially happy you can try green or red, if you are sad you can use blue or purple if you are mad. Well, you get the picture. I prefer to use different colours because it makes it interesting to look back on and it emphasized my mood of the day.
You will need to set aside some time to write in your journal as well. It is probably best if you choose the same time every day so writing in your journal becomes a regular routine during your day. Of course, writing in a journal can sometimes be like exercise. At the beginning you are excited to do it, but then the novelty may wear off and you may cast your journal aside. Keep at it! So make sure you take some time every day to write in your book (or at least every other). You might find the morning the best time to write as you are feeling (hopefully) fresh.
Writing in your journal before an important meeting or event allows you to focus on what questions or concepts you want to put forth (you could even about a job interview).
Here are a few more ideas on how, where and what to write.
Consider taking a little break during your writing. Perhaps you can stretch your legs or go and get that second cup of coffee.
Consider what environment you will be doing your writing in. I choose to sit in a chair that is in a window that gets the morning sun or perhaps you would like to have music playing softly in the background?
Try and reread your entry for the day, or spend some time and travel back a bit. This is a great tool on the road to self discovery.
Journaling does not really take much to get started and has so many rewards in the long run that it is truly one of the best hobbies that one can do. Who cares if you are not an author? Your journal will be only for you and that is all that matters!