Why Keep a Journal
“I have no time for that. I have too much to do already.”
“My life is humdrum. There’s nothing to write about.”
“I’ve never been good at writing.”
Okay, you’ve told me why you can’t keep a journal. I’m going to tell you why you can and you should.
The people who are rushing around non-stop are the very people who need at least a few moments to regroup—even better if they take the time to reflect while they regroup. Sitting down with a journal is the time for you to be alone with yourself, away from the “sturm und drang” of everyday life and the myriad demands that come your way. Surely, you can grab 15 minutes out of your day.
Your life is boring? So write about how boring it is. How boring work is. How boring your home life is. Write about the boring things your family, friends, and coworkers do and say. I hate to ruin the surprise, but you’re going to find that your life isn’t boring after all. And I can almost guarantee that you’ll start laughing at some point along the way.
Now here’s the really great news: You don’t have to write well. You can break every grammatical rule in the book. You can put commas all over the place or none at all. And, get this, you don’t even have to know how to spell! Miss Hatchet, that elementary school English teacher, is never going to see it. Your journal doesn’t even care if your handwriting is illegible! Your journal loves you unconditionally.
That’s how to approach your journal—as though it’s a dear friend who never judges, who rejoices in your successes, weeps for your sorrow, and guards your deepest, darkest secrets.
Keeping a journal quiets your mind. You can take those angry or fearful thoughts and give them to your journal. Your frustrations or anxieties are no longer locked inside of you and that neutralizes them. Medical professionals from all disciplines recommend keeping a journal for living a more balanced, emotionally healthy life.
You’ll learn things about yourself. By removing yourself, for even a brief time, from the incessant clatter and chatter of your world, you can hear your own thoughts. As your thoughts crystallize on the journal page, you will find in them ideas and feelings that you were not aware of—if not at the time, then later when you revisit that day in your life.
As you look at problems in black (or blue, green, lavender) and white, you’ll see them from a different perspective—very often a perspective that provides solutions. As you let your thoughts flow onto the page, you’ll surely find surprises: new ideas, new goals, new paths to follow—or not. The point is that the journal is yours. Where it takes you is up to you.
You can’t give yourself any of these experiences by continuing to think up reasons why you can’t keep a journal. How refreshing would it be to have a place where you can be absolutely yourself, learn from that and enhance your life?
A joy is awaiting you. Don’t turn aside from it. Choose a journal that appeals to your senses, that you will look forward to picking up each day, that reflects who you are or who you aspire to be. Choose a pen that feels good in your hand with a color ink that appeals to your inner self.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You’ll learn how insightful and extraordinary your thoughts are—thoughts that only you can express. Start with tentative pen strokes if you must, but start.