Journaling: Keeper of Thoughts, Feelings, and Memories

I’ve always been a writer at heart. Math and science came easy to me as school subjects- yet there was an attraction to expressive writing of all types. Digging in deep into subject matter, organizing my thoughts- or even coming up with something from my imagination and putting it into words.

I think I started to keep a personal journal in junior high. Granted it wasn’t fancy- I think it was a small 4 x 6 notebook that I could carry around with me everywhere. When one filled up I would go to a store to purchase another one. Only recently have I purchased journal books a little fancier to record my thoughts, feelings and memories.

Some days I write a full entry, other days may be reserved for note taking and reflection upon the books I’m reading or audio/ visual material I’ve been taking in. Often the entries will be an endless stream of the day’s events- asking myself a series of questions to see if I can work out what I’ve been wrestling with in my mind.

I remember reading a recent Tweet from one of my writing friends that I follow who asked to give a writing tip in 6 words or less. My contribution was “Let writing flow- edit later.” Too often we want our words to be perfect right then and there- so we stall in the breakdown lane of completion. Great writers realize that you need to put on a second hat when you look at your writing in edit mode. Being creative and being an editor are on opposite ends of the spectrum- thus you need to leave one hat off until the first hat is finished.

In college one of my writing professors assigned us the book On Writing Well by William Zinsser. He took the subject of non-fiction writing and looked at elements I rarely considered (style, attitude, tone) to better your ability. He gave clear cut examples of great writing, and with every paper I wrote in that class I felt my knowledge increasing as well as my confidence.

Even if all you do is record the days events, I think journaling is essential to clear your mind and approach the next day with a blank slate. The words allow you to maintain a distance and work out problems from a third person perspective. I suggest once a week you go back and review what you’ve written to absorb it again and reflect on what has happened.

Tonight for instance I wrote about 3 audio clips I’ve listened to from Darren Hardy of Success magazine who interviewed Chicken Soup For The Soul co-author Jack Canfield. They were extended clips he didn’t include in the latest issue of Success magazine where he did an interview with Jack for the audio portion of a dual disc that comes with the magazine. Putting those interview clips into easy to read notes for my viewing will preserve what I heard and also allow me to take action as a result of the tips I consider important.

I’ll speak about the day’s events, about my victories, about what I’m grateful for in life, what may frustrate me- it’s my soundboard that I can view again and again. It also captures ideas that I can put to use at a later date.

Pursue your dreams- put them in writing and go for what you want!

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