Friday 5 May 2023

How I use my journal

Recently I wrote about how I was building up a collection of notebooks and pens, and one of these notebooks was my new journal. As a teenager I was an avid diary writer, but I fell out of the habit at university. I did keep travel journals as a young adult, but since then only my blog has filled the gap. 

I've always loved the idea of keeping a written journal. Maybe part of the appeal is having important things on my mind that need to be recorded for posterity, as well as a need to get back to something analogue in this digital world. I'd been spending time on Reddit reading about bullet journals when I stumbled across the subreddit r/journaling and that was what finally inspired me to start a 'journal' rather than just a diary. It was seeing pictures of pages that people shared, and realising that they were in fact often just as dull as what I would write!

My journal is an Amazon Basics black notebook, slightly narrower than A5 in size. I write in it with a Helix Oxford fountain pen, or a black rollerball pen when travelling. I chose blank pages because I wanted the option to add drawings or sketches. 

I write the journal like a diary, with the date at the beginning of the entry, and I often write about what I've done that day. But I don't write about the day in detail like I used to as a teenager. Instead I pick a few things from the day and write about what they meant to me. So I might write that I've been for a run, but only if I saw something particularly interesting on that run. I write throughout the day, not just in the evening.

I'll often write about the book that I'm reading, maybe copying a quote or something that has particularly stuck in my mind. Sometimes a book has inspired me to do a bit of research into a topic, like a haunting book I read about the ship the St. Louis, that was carrying Jewish refugees from Europe in 1939 and was turned away by Cuba, the US and Canada, eventually being forced to return to Europe. I read about what had happened to the passengers on board and made some notes.

I write what's on my mind, but I don't write anything too personal that I wouldn't want others to read. I don't write anything negative about others, and I always write with a future reader in mind (although I'm sure most people would find it very boring!) 

I stick things in too - tickets, pictures cut from leaflets, seed packets, other random bits of ephemera. I've not added as many of my own drawings as I'd like to, I'm still a bit shy although I'd love to create a full on art journal! But I have written in it in public lots of times, mostly on holiday when I wrote on the beach and on the cruise ship deck. 

Journaling for me is a peaceful way to spend some screen free time, and it often helps me to get my thoughts in order. I might find it interesting to look back on the journal one day although I hate to look back at my teenage diaries as they make me cringe! But I try to write a little bit about current events, for example I'll write about the coronation next week, as I imagine that reading about historical events might be something that I'd enjoy reading back about. 

Closed journal with fountain pen on top

Do you keep a journal? What kinds of things do you write about? I'd love to hear!

1 comment:

  1. My youngest loves her journals. She has been writing in them for a few years and has made me promise to keep them forever. Bless her! She writes about things that she loves and her thoughts. x


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