I started keeping a journal in 1976. It was one of the suggestions made by the instructor of the writing course I was taking. The idea was that it got one into a habit of regular writing.
Over 34 years, you can imagine how many journals I've filled. I don't profess to write in the journal every day. Sometimes whole weeks go by, especially when my creative writing is zipping along. But if something significant happens in my life, both private and professional, I write it down.
Over the years I've found journal writing helps to focus me. Too often my brain seems to run in every direction -- things to do, deadlines to meet, talks to prepare, commitments to home and family. But taking a few minutes to write about what I'm feeling, how I'm coping (or not) slows me down. I close my journal, promising myself to do one thing at a time, and to do it mindfully.
I enjoy looking back at my journal to see what was happening last year on this date. Or 20 years ago. It has even served to settle the odd argument!
Just for fun, here's what I wrote on this day in 2005. (I was still working at that time.)
Monday. The one day in the week when I get to stay home. Ideally, it would be the day I spend 8 hours, writing. In fact, I write between laundry loads and trips from room to room with the vacuum cleaner.
There's a winter storm watch in effect. We could get more than 15 cms. of snow tonight and tomorrow. Sometimes these watches are overblown. With temperatures just below freezing, it may not be too bad. I only hope none of this happens two weeks from now -- when we are en route to Myrtle Beach. That trip this time of year has always frightened me.
We enjoyed having Z. (our 5-year-old granddaughter) with us overnight Saturday. Yesterday, we drove to Barcovan Beach to see the swans. There were dozens of them, and we were all thrilled when they swam right up to see us.
Z. had a full agenda of what she wanted to do when she was here: play a game with Grandpa, make a craft with Grandma, help with the cooking, watch her movie, have a bedtime story, and go to church( a special joy for me). She's such a happy little girl, well-behaved and polite, but not in the least timid. It's wonderful how much confidence she has.