Keeping Journals

Journals are a wonderful way to keep track of so many things. Whether it’s a diet journal where you keep track of the foods you eat, a workout journal to record progress, a personal journal for important thoughts or a travel journal to remind you of where you have been, journals rock!

So what’s the best way to keep a journal?

    Like everything else, different things work best for different people. I’m a computer person, so for a lot of my things – like my travels for research – I jot down notes on my computer and upload the photos I take. But I also hang onto the tickets and pamphlets from the various places we go. My daughter and I will then often sit down and create a scrapbook for our trip to retain the memories for the future.

    My daughter is very hands-on, so she keeps a paper journal with her where she writes down her thoughts and stories and adds pictures and other keepsakes.

    Many writers keep journals of their personal thoughts or of ideas for new books. Some do it on paper, others on computers. Some even do it online via their blogs or websites. You can use blog sites to keep online journals, just make sure of two things:

    • If you want to keep it personal, make sure there is a way to set the blog as being private and not public.
    • Make sure there is a way to download or copy that journal to your hard drive or move it to another blog platform.

How often should you keep journal entries?

    Again there is no right or wrong to it, except maybe one wrong – Not doing it.

    Find the best time for you to collect your thoughts or the information you want to record. It may be private time or it may be out in public. At the gym I see a number of people with note pads to track their workout progress. They record the weight and repetitions that they do in order to have an effective exercise routine.

What do I get out of journaling?

    As a writer, you build your writing chops with each writing exercise that you do.

    Plus, it’s a way to keep track of important events or memories that might be lost if they are not recorded in any way. Many years ago I wrote down the history of how my family had come here for my nephew and it was amazing how much there was that he didn’t know and how much I had never really discussed with anyone. I thought it would only be a few pages when I got started and it ended up being more like 20. And that was just general information about the short two year stretch around when we left Cuba!

    If you have a family elder that is still alive, it may be a good time to see about making a video journal of them with some of the stories of when they were younger. There are so many differences from then to now and in the future, all those stories and memories might be lost if don’t record them or if you don’t repeat those stories to the next generation.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Tuesday Tip!

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