Exploring the different types of journals to express yourself and aid in improving your writing, coming up with ideas, and keeping a record of different areas of your life.
Many years ago people kept diaries where they wrote about their daily thoughts and events. Today the word “diary” has been replaced with journal. Many people would love to find their grandmother’s diaries or journals, but do you want generations of offspring to read your journals? There is a way around this by keeping different journals.
1. There is the diary type journal where you write your most personal thoughts and feelings. This type of journal should be kept hidden and private. If you want to write about your first date or even your first sexual experience, you can write it here. If you want to write about your frustrations in life with children, work, spouse, or anything else, you can write it here.
2. If you are a budding writer, Julia Cameron suggests writing morning pages. In writing these pages you just write what comes to mind in order to get the creative juices flowing. These writing exercises can lead to ideas for articles, poems or stories. If you start writing about the weather this can lead to a poem. If you need a writing prompt to help get you started there are many websites and books that provide writing prompts.
3. In order to try and keep a positive attitude about life, keep a Gratitude Journal. At the end of every day write down 10 things you are grateful for. Simple things like someone holding a door open for you is something to be grateful for. I write about how grateful I am for my children, for the sunshine, for a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in.
4. Sometimes I have trouble praying. I don’t always know what to say. I believe in God and know that He is with me but I struggle with what to say, or sometimes I get distracted. I find that if I write down my prayers I am not only focused, I feel more certain that God is getting my message. This is different from a Gratitude Journal in that I am usually asking for God’s help.
5. I started this idea a little late wishing I had started writing the minute my children were born, but it is never too late to start writing a journal for your child. Write a separate journal for each child. Keep a page strictly for Halloween where you can write down what their costume was each year. Be sure to date them. Write about their triumphs and achievements whether it be the day they took their first step or the day they won their first sports trophy. (Baby books aren’t big enough to cover the entire 18 years of their growing life). Write about their birthdays and Christmases, who was there, what gifts they received. Write about the funny things they say. These journals will be priceless to your children when they grow up. To read about how proud you were of them, or the things they said that made you laugh, will be a great treasure to them.
6. When my father passed away suddenly I wrote in a separate journal. I wrote about everything that happened every minute of every day leading up to the funeral and the days following. I wrote about when he came to me in dreams. If your parent or other family member develops an illness you can start writing from the day you learned this and all the struggles, feelings and triumphs you went through alone and as a family.
7. As an anniversary present for my husband, I kept a special journal every day for a year. I wrote about what we did each day and how it made me feel. On the opposite page (left side) I printed quotes from love songs, poems and the Bible. If you want you can also add photographs of the certain event. “We went for a walk today in the sunshine. We held hands. We talked. I felt very close to you, very much loved.” My husband is not very sentimental or romantic. He’s not even much of a reader, but he did appreciate this journal and read it from beginning to end.
You may be able to think of other journal ideas. The point is you are keeping a record of different events in separate books. They may bring you inspiration to write a book one day. A memoir is a book written about a certain point in time in your life; a biography is the complete story of your life. And things that happen in your life make good fodder for fiction. If you don’t plan on publishing your life story, perhaps one of your decendents will. These journals will help them and make it easier to keep things organized. If you don’t care about publishing at all, these different journals will benefit yourself simply by writing everything down.