Have you ever had the impulse to begin writing down your thoughts? Perhaps you kept a diary when you were young or you maintain a habit of periodic entries in a book by your bed. Maybe you’ve never taken up writing at all but the desire has lived in you over time.
Deciding on a journaling theme and understanding your level of commitment, is the first step. Many journals, famous or otherwise, cover only the course of six months to two years, describing the tumult of war or noting the challenges and insights of a great project, failed relationship, diplomatic mission or extended travel. Some great diarists, such as Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) describe in detail the daily life of their historic period, personal and public, over the course of decades or in the case of Thoreau’s, On Walden Pond, describe a life philosophy and changing ecology of place. Others, such as Andy Warhol’s journal, full of famous names and gossip, illuminate historic periods of culture.
What is my purpose in keeping a journal, what will satisfy me and most importantly, is my writing strictly for my own private design or something others may read in the future. Regardless, keep in mind that the most memorable and helpful journal or diary writing is that which is free flowing, honest, unselfconscious, and unedited. Never lose sight that writing is a personal process whose purpose is soulful and intellectual pursuit of understanding yourself and the world around you.
If you are interested in the craft of writing, noting life circumstance with regard to situations and characters for fictional writing or documenting facts and information for historical or non-fiction writing, create a indexed format that helps you reference material for later recall.
Perodic Entry...Perhaps you’re most interested in a practice of periodic entries for a practical purpose such as a dream journal or family memory book that references notations on holidays, graduations, births and marriages. Remember, this activity is for you in the spirit of unselfconscious recording. This is your book and your decision to pause and begin again is dictated by no one but yourself. Be free to reinvent your commitment as life dictates the need.