For the record

Since I was 12 years old, I have kept a journal. For the past several years, I have made a project of typing up my journals. At first, I told myself it was for posterity. Apparently I trust Google's servers more than I trust that my residence will not burn to the ground. Then I decided the purpose of typing my old journals was to have a searchable record. Wouldn't it be great to be able to quickly find the entry about my first date or what it felt like to compete in the science fair?
Then, something extraordinary happened.

As I typed, I began to see an even greater purpose to keeping a record. I'm happy to report that over the last 12 years, I have become a better person! And I have proof! I learned that I have changed slowly, like we all do. We may struggle to notice change in ourselves day to day because we change so gradually. If it were not for my journals, I would not be able to say confidently that I have gradually become kinder, more selfless, less judgmental, and more open minded. Why? Because most days I don't necessarily feel kind, selfless, non-judgmental, and open minded. Without a record of the process of becoming, I would have great difficulty evaluating my life in terms of where I've been, where I am, and where I want to be.

I love writing a journal, and I often tell people how much I love it. When I talk about journal writing with friends, my enthusiasm is almost universally met with the following: "I don't know what to write about. I don't want people to know about [fill in the blank]. I don't see the point of writing. Etc."
Lame, people. Lame, lame, LAME.

If you do not keep some kind of personal journal, you are missing out on one of life's most rewarding experiences. Good excuses do not really exist. I personally have huge gaps in my journal. Sometimes I don't write anything for months at a time, but I don't let that stop me. Huge swaths of your life may be missing from your journal, or you may not have one at all, but please explain to me why that means you can't write an entry today.

Yes, I feel passionately about this. And I want you to feel passionately about it as well. But the only way that will happen is if you will do it. Trust me, it's awesome.

I used to write for posterity. Now I write for myself, and that's made all the diffence.
How do you journal? What motivates you? What have you learned about yourself?
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Comments

  1. I am on if those people that has lots of gaps in my journal, but whenever I go back to start again, I look back at past entries and I wonder why I don't write more often. I love going back and looking at myself. Even if I just wrote about my reaction to a news article I read that day. Life is full of little moments that we would like to remember or relive from time to time, but we just can't. I agree with Tyler, there is no good excuse, just do it!

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