Creating a Personal Journal

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Journal writing is a voyage to the interior. (Christina Baldwin)

Constant updates to add for your personal history[edit | edit source]

If your personal history hasn’t been published posthumously, you are still alive and you will have more life to write about. Well, what do you do until you are ready to update it? Keep a journal.

Now, we're not talking about a diary. A diary is usually just a record what you’re doing every day. A journal, on the other hand does that too, but it includes thoughts, opinions, reactions, insights, feelings, etc.

Try to write in your journal every day. You might not be perfect, but it's good to strive for daily entries.

Where can you find inspiration of what to write?  If you read good books, watch the news closely, pay attention to your family, and think about life in general, you’ll find plenty of material.

It is amazing how the mind almost compels us to want to record our reactions if we are actively keeping a journal. And keeping a journal, in turn, seems to cause you to pay more attention to what is going on around you and in your family, especially if you have children.

However, there are other benefits to keeping a journal besides just keeping track of what’s happening. Consider the following items:

Gives You a Chance To Sound Off Even If No One Cares[edit | edit source]

  • Journals give you a chance to sound off on whatever topic that is gripping your attention at the moment. If no one wants to hear your opinion, you can at least tell yourself.
  • This helps you to get those stirrings of the mind or soul out in the open for you to get a better look at them. Sometimes writing down what’s on your mind helps you to see if those thoughts have any real value.
  • Someone once said when asked what he thought about a certain thing that he did not know yet as he had not written about it. As a result of putting your thoughts down on paper, you might decide to quit worrying about it because it didn’t sound all that important anyway.

Keep Detailed Notes On Events[edit | edit source]

  • You can keep detailed notes on events so they can be recounted at a later date. The memory fades very fast. But it is amazing how the memory will respond when you read your detailed notes on a past event in family history.

Record Conversations[edit | edit source]

  • You can record conversations with family members. And instead of paraphrasing what was said, try to remember the exact words and put them in quotes.
  • Written out conversations are far easier to read than paraphrasing. After all, you don’t see paraphrasing of conversations in novels.

Record Feelings[edit | edit source]

  • Record feelings about people and events that you know about or have witnessed. Feelings have a tendency to slip away and are hard to recall sometimes.
  • Here you have a chance to record feelings at the time of the event. At a later date, you can compare your present feelings with how you felt about something then.

Record Insights[edit | edit source]

  • Record personal insights gained because of events witnessed, speeches heard or books read. This will tell who you are better than anything I can think of.
  • Insights and feelings do slip away. And if they come back, often times they do not come back with the same impact.

Record Insights[edit | edit source]

  • Record personal insights gained because of events witnessed, speeches heard or books read. This will tell who you are better than anything I can think of.
  • Insights and feelings do slip away. And if they come back, often times they do not come back with the same impact.

A great technique that is very useful in recording events and reactions is the table below.

First column
  • I record the event or passage that impress me.
Second column
  • Record why it caught your attention.
  • Did it remind me of something else I read?
  • Was it in opposition to a dearly held opinion?
  • Did I not understand was the author was talking about?
  • Here your reader can see what things affect you and why.
Third column
  • If you really want to take this technique a step further, make a third column and write down what you learned about yourself by your reactions. *What is it about you that caused you to be affected as you were?

I personally think this is one of the very best techniques for self-discovery and personal evaluation.

Record Medical Problems or Treatments[edit | edit source]

  • Record medical problems or treatments for yourself or family members as they happen. This might be critical at some future time if a doctor is trying to see if a past condition might be the cause of the present illness. This is particularly true if the doctors wants to know if the condition is hereditary or not.

Capture Ideas Before They Vanish[edit | edit source]

  • Writing down ideas allows you to hold on to them. Many famous people in literature, politics or business find it necessary to have a paper memory. Those who have thought keeping notes a pain have lived to regret it.

Helps You To Make Up Your Mind[edit | edit source]

  • Use your journal to make up your mind about things. Record the pros on one side of the page and the cons on the other.
  • Here again, you get those stirrings of the mind out in the open. And here again, you can go back over them in the future to see if you were justified in your decision.

Record Reactions[edit | edit source]

  • Recording facts is good, but what is just as important is your reactions to them. This gives you a chance to see if your reactions were correct as the future unfolds.
  • Again, these reactions may not come back and if they do, they never seem to come back with the same impact.

Pour Out Your Soul[edit | edit source]

  • Don’t be afraid to pour out your soul. Who has not remembered speeches that were given by people who were mad and didn’t care who heard them or how they sounded.

Carry A Small Notebook[edit | edit source]

  • Most thoughts and insights seem to come whenever they want and not when you are sitting down with pen and paper or when at your computer.
  • You may want to carry a small notebook or 3x5 cards to write down those brilliant flashes of inspiration.
  • You have to be ready. It does get hard, however, to record them especially when you're driving down the freeway at 75 miles an hour. So be careful. You might consider a voice recorder if thoughts come to you often while driving. Now that I think about it, many ideas have come while driving.

Gives You a Chance To See What Interests You The Most[edit | edit source]

  • Writing about what impresses you in your journal can point out to you what subjects give you the greatest satisfaction to think about.
  • Genius has been described as thinking about things which gives us the greatest satisfaction without effort, the things which we would hate to forego. You may find out you are a genius at something by seeing what you write about the most.

Place To Record Accumulated Knowledge[edit | edit source]

A well-known publisher of the past gave this advice to every new employee:

  • Become immediately an expert on anything that interests you. It doesn’t matter what it is.
  • Keep a record of what you learn. And you will find that you will be attracted to or be attracted by other people of like interests.
  • Your opinions will be valued and sought for. If you keep up your interest, you may find yourself in communication with others around the world. The Internet has made this a reality.

Writing Encourages More Reading[edit | edit source]

  • Writing on a regular basis may encourage you to read more good books. Reading good books, in turn, creates great thoughts for you to write about.

Journals Show You What You Need To Know More About[edit | edit source]

  • Use your journal to write down what things you are indeed vague about and what you would like to know. This will help you decide what you need to read about next.
  • You will be now on the lookout for what you need. You mind is prepared to received what you are looking for.
  • Louie Pasteur once said that “chance favors the prepared mind,” or as the longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer once remarked, “You get lucky.” It is only when you can tell yourself what you need that you are in a mental state to receive it.

Journal Is A Measure To See If You Are Making Progress[edit | edit source]

  • Writing helps you to see if you are making any progress in your intellectual development. You can see if you are writing often.
  • You can go over past entries and see if you are thinking more clearly. You can check your language to see if it is getting more precise or if you need to rewrite to make yourself clear.
  • As you keep a journal over the years, you can see how your interests change. You can also see how your opinions have changed about the issues of life. It is interesting to see that was important in the past is of no consequence now.

Not Everything In Your Journal Goes Into Your Personal History[edit | edit source]

  • You will only pick out those things which show who you are, not the fact that you went golfing last Saturday. You’ll be pulling out feelings over major events in your life or events in the world that affected you.
  • You’ll be including what you have learned and what changes you made as a results of events you personally experienced or saw on TV. You’ll be taking out experiences with family and friends which you want your descendants to know about. I think you get the idea.
  • All this and more can be yours by just keeping a journal. Anyone can keep one, even children. So please consider keeping one of your own.