Wednesday, July 17, 2013

To Journal or Not to Journal

Here's a picture from a baseball game we played with the kids.
For the past week, I've been away on a missions trip of sorts. A team of twenty people from my church went to Manitoulin Island to run a day-camp on a native reserve. Despite some of my opinions on short-term mission trips, I felt this one was truly beneficial. In case anyone was wondering, that's where I've disappeared to these past few weeks. However the blog was not completely forgotten, I had some interesting writer-y thoughts on journaling while I was away, so a blog post was in order.

 I was introduced to journaling at a very young age, thanks to books like these:

I really don't like reading novels in diary format now-a-days (except for the Beka Cooper books by Tamora Pierce), but as a kid I ate those babies up. I must of read all of those Dear Canada books and the Royal Diaries ones. I think that reading those books is what subconsciously got me thinking so highly about journaling. At least that is my Freudian-esque theory on the matter.

Anyways, back to the present.

While we were away I took up journaling. Last year when I went on this same trip, I didn't write anything down except some half-hearted, vague scribbles of memories. I looked over that page that I wrote last year a few weeks ago and found that I couldn't even remember what half the references were to. So this time I resolved to journal in detail.

However, my plan was met with a few obstacles. The main one being time. I learned very quickly that "journaling in detail" takes significant time set aside each day, not just a few minutes in the tent before going to sleep at night. If you've ever been away with twenty (or even two!) people for a week, I'm sure you know how distracting (in the best way possible, of course) their presence can be to any writing you may want to do.

Here's the real question of this post:

Is journaling really worth it?

In short, yes, I believe it is.

Here's my new-found policy on journaling.

I will not journal everyday. I have in the past, for a few weeks at a time, but I usually end up failing miserably. I feel good about my decision not to journal everyday, because to be honest, I don't want to remember every little detail of my life. Especially since I know that I would mostly be complaining about whatever irks me that day. It's usually better to just let minor annoyances pass by me as they come, instead of dredging them up every night in my journal. Also, it'd get kind of boring after awhile.

Dear Diary,
Today I had PB and J for breakfast. Then I went to work. No creepy customers today. Ate supper, came home and watched an episode of Suits. Speaking of which, I still need to finish watching Merlin before stuff on Pinterest spoils the last season for me. Read my book and went to bed. 
That's all for now,

BORING. I know that journaling is supposed to be deeper than that, but sometimes by brain can't handle being deep. Which is why I've adapted this system...

I will journal when important events come along in my life. This trip is a perfect example. Every time I do something or something of some consequence happens to me, I'll journal a little bit about it. For me, the purpose of journaling isn't really a therapeutic one; it's a record of my life and feelings for myself and eventually others in my life. A record to remind me of where I was and where I'm going.

What about you? Are you a journaler? Do you write everyday or just on occasion like me? Favourite book written in journal-style?

Also, just a quick plug for my new blog. You should go check it out: So far I've written about street photography and taking pictures of fireworks. Thanks for the support guys.

What I'm reading: Article Five by Kirsten Simmons
What I'm watching: Covert Affairs
What I'm listening to: King Charles


  1. I used to read those journal-like stories when I was younger as well. I really liked (and still do like) Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. And I agree–reading books written like that did make me want to journal when I got older. And I do, every day. I enjoy it, because it helps me reflect on what I did and how it affected me.

    1. Wow, I'm impressed with your journaling skills. Whenever someone tells me that they journal everyday, I'm always very impressed with their commitment.

      I vaguely recall reading Book of a Thousand Days and enjoying it. It's about a maid named Dashti right?

      Anyways, thanks for commenting!

  2. I used to be a faithful journaler, but then I slipped and I still haven't gotten back into it, which I feel bad about. I have always been sad my mum never kept a journal as a girl, so I wanted to keep one, in case I ever had kids.

    I should try your idea, and not try and make myself write in it every day. I think it would make it seem less daunting at the moment.

    1. I agree; I want to be able to share my journal with my children someday.

      Good luck with your journaling. I find goals work out way better when they're a bit easier and more realistic.

  3. I agree with this post, writing everyday is a no go, I can't be deep everyday and it would just be me venting anyways. I just started journaling last fall and find it a great outlet when I need it though. Is it anywhere near a chronicle of my life? No. More like a compilation of major thoughts, poems, Scripture, prayers and quotes all relevant to me.

    1. Journaling is one of those things that is going to be different for everyone and means something different to everyone. That's the beauty of it.

      I'm glad that you find it helpful to you and your thought process. It's a great system you have.

      Thanks for sharing!:)


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