The Benefits Of Keeping A Journal

Write Daily in your journal.

Writing morning pages is a way of discovering or re-discovering the inconspicuous things that would otherwise slip below our radar

I was introduced to keeping a journal when I was about twelve years old. My great, great Aunt had passed away and left a copy of a journal written by an ancestor of mine dated 1879. Her name was Sophia Hendricks and each page was hand written with ink and nib pen. Her handwriting was perfect; her daily entries were on her observations of life, inspirational and religious books she had read. Accompanying her writing were pictures she had cut from postcards, greeting cards, etc. each covered with tissue paper to protect them.

I was so excited with the book. It has been a treasured possession of mine for many years. I tried to copy Sophia’s style. It has been read by me so many times over the years, that the pages are turning yellow and is in need of  being rebound has a few pages have become loose with wear.

The book was such an inspiration to me that I just had to keep a journal, and I kept up with the daily entries until I was sixteen. I had written a love poem about my boyfriend at the time. Then some family members got hold of it and proceeded to read it aloud. I never wrote anything personal in it for quite some time.

Over the years, I used it for goal setting and visualization of dreams and found it very beneficial.

Due to Arthritis and Depression, it became necessary for me to take an early retirement. It was then, that I decided to follow one of those dreams. That was to be a writer.

I took several courses and read many books, such as Julia Cameron’s “The Artists Way” in which she suggests that to improve our writing; writers should write three morning pages a day. This was to allow one to get the creative juices flowing, and the muddled thought out of our heads.

Writing these pages is a way of discovering or re-discovering the inconspicuous things that would otherwise slip below our radar. I found that writing the three morning pages also allowed me to work through some of the problems that had led to my depression and would suggest to anyone the benefit outweighs the time they take.

The idea is to write them first thing in the morning, I usually have my coffee or tea and my breakfast. By then I can focus on both my feeling and my writing,

To start keeping a journal you will need, a notebook. I try to find ones that look extra nice, not just a doodle book. One that can make me take this seriously. I then look for a nice pen; my daughter and I love to use a fountain pen. You will also need of course a good writing surface. If you want to keep your journal on your computer, some programs are available on-line. The following is one I have tried and is quite good.

http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Utilities/Misc__Utilities/Smart_Diary_Download.htm

flexible and you can create your own or download additional “Life Factor” packs.The diary features uses unique Life Factors that allows you to see how different aspects of your life affect your health and happiness, by plotting them on a graph, showing how exercise and diet affects your mood. They are completely

When writing a journal this is something personal, there are no rules about writing in your journal; you can write about whatever, whoever, and whenever you want.

You can write in it every day, week, month whenever you feel you would like to express yourself. Write whatever is important to you. There is no set time to write this is a very personal thing. You can use your special book, plain or lined paper, write with pen or pencil. Type your entries or just use a digital version like the one above.

Some people like me use their journal to help set long-time goals. Others use it to help focus on their thoughts.  When they are put down on paper this helps with the understanding of them. If one is angry or confused writing the problem down in a journal, helps get it out and the understanding of your feelings. A Journal can also be used to help people explore their inner lives to improve their psychophysical health as I did when trying to understand my depression.

Keeping a journal is your story your feeling and life experience; it can improve one’s well being spiritually, emotionally and physically. It is finding and taking personal time for one’s self. It is a record of your life, a treasured keepsake a written scrapbook. When we list our daily thoughts and problems sometimes as we read it back we can see a positive side, and we see the things we should be grateful for.

The information you write could also be used to keep a family history journal that can be handed down to future generations.

Over the centuries there have been several journals  written by famous people such as Ann Frank, Lewis Carroll, Virginia Wolf, George Washington to name a few.

Please let me have your comments and ideas, I will write a follow-up blog and include some of them in it.

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may
not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty,
believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
Louisa May Alcott

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About writingmama

Sylvia McGrath ~ AKA Writingmama, a freelance writer from King City, Ontario has worked in the business field for about forty years obtaining business management experience and business writing skills. She also spent several years in social work for Children’s Services. Now retired is living her childhood dream of being a writer. A few years ago Sylvia decided to take a course in freelance writing, which she really enjoyed as it was the key to follow her dreams. Since completing the course, she has worked as a professional writer, a published poet and co-authored a book with Two Maximum Life Coaches about living with chronic illness; this is titled After The Diagnosis: The Journey Beyond.” She also co-authored an E-Book of Resources for the parents of children with special needs, chronic illness and learning challenges titled “The Treasure Chest of Resources,” part-one has already been sent to the Canadian National Library Archives. Sylvia has also written several articles on chronic illness for the following online sites. •www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/writingmama •www.helium.com/users/32475 •www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=Writingmom Besides working as a freelance writer, Sylvia still finds time for two other passions of hers; to volunteer as a literacy tutor for her local Learning Centre, and assist in facilitating of workshops on disability awareness. Her main mission for the future is to write a series of books for young adults and children who have learning challenges and suffer chronic illness. At present she is also the co-owner and columnist for “Professor Owl’s Newsletter” which is published on-line monthly for children.
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5 Responses to The Benefits Of Keeping A Journal

  1. macjam47 says:

    I’ve tried journaling in the past and, for one reason or another, stopped. Maybe it was a time crunch thing. I can’t really say why I didn’t keep up with it. Maybe I should start again.

    • writingmama says:

      I have times when I go and miss a few days ~ then I miss the benefits, I just think a lot clearer when I write them on a daily basis. Do not fret over missing the odd day it happens to us all. Warm regards, Sylvia.

  2. simonfalk28 says:

    Can’t believe I missed this, Sylvia. Journaling was a lifeline for me during difficult adolescent years. Journaling greatly helped a school friend of mine cope with the separation and divorce of his mum and dad. Over the years I’ve been pretty spasmodic with journaling. But there have always been rewarding moments. As for your great Aunt’s one, that sounds like a veritable family heirloom and historic artefact.

    • writingmama says:

      It is a family heirloom, I have already passed it on to Belinda she has such a great love for collecting old antiques, I have also passed on other old documents, she just loves analysing old papers. She also does volunteer word for the Smithsonian translating old documents one or two days a week.

  3. dgkaye says:

    Journaling was the start of my road to writing books from there too Sylvia. 🙂

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