I’m a journal junkie. It’s in my DNA. It must be. I remember my very first journal. It was Girl Scout sanctioned green in color and sported a trefoil on the cover. It also had a key, and a tiny lock and I poured my eight-year old heart into it. Discovering my brother picking my precious lock with a safety pin made me a lot more circumspect! Moral of the story, if you’re going to be a serious journaler, don’t have a teenage brother. If you do, don’t tell your journal you want to marry Paul McCartney.
What began with a Girl Scout journal morphed into a lifelong habit. The books above are a small sample and most of them are full. When a personal computer became affordable, I decided having searchable journals would be great. So I typed a number of my more exciting entries into the Wordstar program and stored them on discs. Five and a half inch floppy discs. FAIL. Who knew those discs failed over time. To say nothing of the whole disc thing becoming obsolete.
It was a harsh lesson. Nothing lasts forever, but the hand-written word on the page comes pretty darn close. My next journal project had a longer life history. I re-read and color coded the entries so I would have a system for ready reference. It’s not as bad as it sounds, although it was sometimes embarrassing. Once I got out of high school the books chronicled travels, interesting personalities, story ideas, and sometimes complete short stories. Even now I’ll thumb through the books seeking nuggets to mine for works in process.
There’s an app for everything if you look for it, including journals. I use one called Journey. It’s fun, flexible, I can add photos, and with the click of a mouse, the weather and location appear. It’s resident on my computer and my phone so it’s handy when inspiration strikes. All good, right? This modern day dear diary. It does have one major downside. It fails the hand/eye/flowing ink/paper interface. Poetry happens when thoughts travel from the mind through the hand and on to paper. Nuances and shading appear that are fingers on the keyboard can’t match.
These days I’ve discovered another use for journals. Planning and productivity are hallmarks of The Freedom Journal and The Mastery Journal. Both are available from Amazon and they offer something none of my other journals did. Accountability. The pages are filled with templates designed to help the journaler keep on track to attain goals in 100 days. These journals force me to focus, and hold me accountable every ten days. Will I attain my 100 day goal? I don’t know, but I look forward to the time I spend with the journals. That can’t be bad.
Are you a journaler? Do you refer to your past journals? Is journaler a word?