It’s a busy week ahead, what with Lincoln’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day and Random Acts of Kindness Week unfolding in the next seven days. What better time to talk about journaling?
Although there’s no evidence that Lincoln ever kept a diary, he was known to scribble notes on paper and stuff them in his hat before finding a more suitable storage location. To me, that’s a form of journaling.
One of the beauties of recording your own thoughts on a regular basis is that there is no right way or wrong way to do it. One of the drawbacks is that once something is written down, you lose a certain amount of control over how your thoughts might be perceived by others.
It’s important to consider both your intended and unintended audience when practicing journaling. Those sweet-sounding words to your honey today may not be received as well by future sweeties, for example. Therefore, you should always write when you’re relaxed and thinking clearly. Never write when you’re angry or not in control of yourself.
I have a friend who once started a journal to document her unrecognized contributions on her job in case she had a confrontation with management. She expanded it to her personal life and kept it going for years. When she sat down years later to write her life story, she was shocked by the bitter tone imposed by her on-the-job woes. While virtually unusable as a reference document, it raised the question in her mind as to what her family was feeling in those difficult times.
In this cyber age, many people have turned to the blogosphere as a form of electronic journal. I much prefer the intimacy and privacy of a written journal to the irretrievable cyber shout out.
Here are a few places you can go to learn more about journaling:
- Notebookism. If you care about how your journal looks, this is the place to go. Good tips, too.
- Genea-Musings. San Diego genealogist Randy Seaver regularly posts excerpts from his great-grandmother’s diary.
- Kucachoocrafts. For those artsy folks who want to make their own journals.
- Ourstrangeworld. A fascinating article about how a recently discovered young reporter’s diary offers new insights into the 1937 disappearance of aviatrix Amelia Earhart.