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Our Newsletter for Memoirs Fans
March 19, 2007
After lunch we drove south on Route 4 along the Pacific Ocean shore. We turned left at a sign that read Jungle Boat Ride. Earlier we had arranged for a private tour in a covered boat. We left the dock using a fairly quiet out-board motor and felt the wind blow through our hair. Fog obstructed the bright sun and heat. The unusual haze that had hung over Guam for two weeks dissipated. The afternoon breeze, air temperature in the high eighties, and the beauty of Guam captured my senses…
I have been journaling in one form or another for almost sixty years. Each time I take one of my notebooks, dated by year, off the shelf, a smile crosses my face as I read and relive the story on the page. My first surviving journal, after many years of travel, is titled Mom’s Diary Deming, New Mexico, 1977. The first entry begins Summer 1977: “My neighbor insisted that we enter our children into the prince and princess beauty contest. Today’s entry says Kennesaw, Georgia 2019: “I wanted to watch my daughter’s tennis match, but she already left by the time I woke.” Today I use a five year journal. I write a little bit of something that happened each day of the year. I do the same consecutively for five years. Once in a while, I sit and type more detail When I am out and about, I dictate into my cell phone using Penzu. Why do I journal? I like to write about myself. That’s why I am a memoir writer. I think everyone’s life’s stories need telling.
On Feb. 20, 2018, Bryan Collins explains why you should start writing a journal now. He presents 7 Surprising Benefits of Writing a Journal .
- Journal writing helps you think things through, instead of leaving them jumbled up in your brain.
2. Journal writing can be like having a therapist on retainer.
3. Journal writing gets you into the habit of writing daily.
4. Journal writing is an ancient practice.
5. Reading old entries helps you remember more accurately.
6. Journal writing helps you express gratitude.
7. Journaling helps you find ideas to write about.
In keeping with the rule of seven, Rhonda writes 7 of the best types of creative journaling you should try. They are:
- Traditional Journals. Like a diary, these journals are kept as ways to chronicle your day, thoughts and feelings. A creative journal is different from a traditional journal in that the writer uses it for inspiration and to record ideas, thoughts, and feelings which may ignite creativity.
- Art Journal. Similar to written journals, the writer draws, sketches, and pastes cuttings clipped from magazines that may generate creative ideas for writing.
- Those who scrapbook, place photos of events, people and places with short stories about those photos on pages, often embellished and quite creative.
- Memento Journal. Similar to scrapbooks, the creator attaches parts of their everyday life like, bills, envelopes, scraps of material, into this book with or without writing.
- Prompt journal. This is a journal which asks you questions you can answer.
- Mind Mapping Journal. This is often used in writing classes. Write the main idea you may want to write about, draw a circle around it, extend lines out from the circle with smaller circles at the end. The writer places other ideas related to the main theme inside those smaller circles.
- Bullet Journal. This journal usually has a dot background to help you create uniform boxes, layouts, and keep your handwriting in a straight line. This is a type of creative journaling you can use to document the day, keep track of any schedule and use to organize your life.
I have used each of the seven ideas above, but find I prefer the traditional.
When putting their personal thoughts and feelings into a journal, many folks still cling to the tried and true method of writing with pen or pencil on paper. Others, like myself, prefer to type on the computer. Younger writers or those of us who have embraced the computer age, use online programs like Life Journal or Diary networks where you can elect to keep your writing private or share it with other diarists. I have recently downloaded Penzu onto my cellphone and have recorded my various ideas, feelings, and happenings. Penzu is free. The recording is almost immediately converted into text ready to print. Be sure to reread the text to be certain the computer understands exactly what you say.