Thoughts on Journaling

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I've been a journal keeper since the tween years. Those originals are locked up tight, don't you worry. I found a few of them when we moved . . . shudder.

Journaling has waxed and waned for me over the years. There were times when I felt like I didn't have much to say. Then, motherhood. So much to say. So much to ponder, explore, and think about not only for the kiddos, but really, for myself.

These days, I'm keeping three journals: a Bible study companion, a prayer list, and a gift list. Before you get all, Gee, aren't you special, let me be clear - I'm in a write-when-I-can period. I last wrote in the Bible study journal on September 4th, the prayer list on September 12th and the gift list on August 27th. I thoroughly enjoyed the time in my life when I could get up at 5:30, drink coffee and write until 7:00 or later with little or no interruption, but those days are over. These days, I'm trying to figure out when to fit it in. But, (*key concept*) because I've been doing this for so long, and have had times of intensely disciplined writing, I'm not giving up over the fact that now it's hit-or-miss.

The pile, at 0'dark thirty this morning.

In a few days, I'm going to be talking to a group of Bible study friends about journaling, and why it is important. I've spent some time looking back through some of my entries. That is something I rarely do, but it probably the best reason to keep a journal. You get to see how far you've come - or - you read something and think, Wow. I wrote that? Sometimes that's a happy Wow! and sometimes that's a disappointed or even relieved, Wow. Regardless, it is good to check in with yourself, the part of yourself that isn't thinking about a grocery list, a work deadline or a signature on a school paper.

I'm going to start sharing some of my journal entries here. I think I'll do it on Wednesdays, when it feels right. Sharing a page from my journal is sort of counterintuitive, because journaling is my private writing. It is something I do for myself. I write unfiltered, with no audience other than God in mind. But there are some parts I feel comfortable sharing and I hope that when I do, you'll see that journaling doesn't have to be profound or perfect. I hope these occasional pages from my journal will inspire you to start (or continue) writing for yourself. 

So, to prepare the way, I'd love to know where you are: 

Do you keep a journal? 
About what? 
When do you write? 

Please share your experiences - what's worked and what hasn't? It will help and inspire me, for sure, to know your practices.

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7 Responses to “Thoughts on Journaling”

  1. Courtney, You must come share your pages with us for Random Journal Day! Please?

    I am tackling some journal writing posts as well periodically-and every 1st Friday of the month, I share the private writings from the trunk of journals over at my place and invite others to do likewise.

    I do keep journal with me and write everything in it...musings,sermons, ideas, thoughts, prayers, notes from books.
    I was just thinking this morning how this would drive someone with OCD crazy because there is no way to retrieve writing in an organized just flows on and on and on. I have poems, posts, and gems hidden away and sometimes rediscover something wonderful that spilled out on the paper and I'm like whoah? I wrote that? I also start posts and they eventually make there way to the blog. anyway...just my two cents. Oh, I also have kept various journals and different ones, but the ONE at a time with all my randoms is the most consistent. It all get's too hard to keep track of when I use multiples...but I also keep a few going...even though not as regularly as you yourself mention. The Quotes Journal, and I am an obsessive Planner carrier as well. Oh, and a Goals Journal?Binder...which is currently MIA. Um, yeah- how's that one working for me? Ack! ANyhoo- nice share- passionate about the topic, so hope to stay connected!

  2. PS Forgot that I keep a Gratitude Journal!! ;) Knew I was forgetting

    1. Hi Dawn! I will! Random Journal Day looks fantastic :) Thanks for the invitation. I'm right there with you with the "whoa! I wrote that?" Found a few of those. So glad to be connected and thanks again for the awesome comment.

  3. Hi Courtney! How fun to find your blog today! I have kept journals for a while. I did go over some of them from long ago. I was afraid if I died, someone would see them, so believe it or not, I threw them away!

    But, I don't feel bad about it. I know what was going on in my mind and heart then. I just keep plugging away with my current one.

    I love getting up early with coffee to pray and write in a journal too. It's so soothing and quiet. So sorry you don't have that now! But maybe you'll get it again. Good for you for not getting sad that it's gone. Even in bold type! I liked that.

    Such a pleasure to meet you! I hope you'll come and check out my place too.
    Happy Wednesday :)

    1. Hi Ceil - So glad you stopped by today, too. I think you've given some good advice about throwing away the old ones. You'll see that Jessica echoes that, below. Maybe it is best to get some things out and then leave them (forever!) in the past.

  4. Hey Courtney! Such a good post topic.

    I have kept a journal myself since my teenage years and consider it to be very good therapy. My journals are often my prayers to God, my honest feelings to Him on what I am going through in life.

    Since getting married and having kids, I actually now have 3 extra journals that I post in from time to time. Jared and each kid has one. It started as ways to write little love notes to Jared but at the same time, it's honest and real. Then when I had the kids, I wanted them to be able to look at their childhood when they become adults, to understand what my perspective of a mom was. And to have a place to keep record of those cute things they say or do. Or even to place notes on things to look for in a future spouse, or the importance on being encouraging when their wife is breasfeeding, etc. I plan to give each of them their journal when they get married.

    I have to say though, on another note, I highly believe in getting rid of journals that have passed their prime. I can understand the 'neatness' factor of reading a journal entry from a year ago or so and seeing where your life was back then. However, in having come across a dear friend's journals after he passed, I made a decision that once I had reached the end of my journal - it would be tossed. But that's just me!

    Have a great day! Jess

  5. Hi Jess - It's not just you! i'm getting lots of advice to toss old journals and I think it is good advice. I'm a purger and see the wisdom in tidying up that area, for sure. I love you habit of keeping journals for your kids. I think of my blogs as that in a way, but a journal would be more personal - especially the parts about future spouses and qualities to aspire to. Thanks for the comment!