I’ve never been really good at writing in a journal or diary on a consistent basis. I’m good at keeping 500 notebooks that are filled with random ideas, notes, and doodles though… although I’m not sure that counts. Somehow I seem to get my ideas down in a chaotic albeit effective manner. But it sure is an adventure trying to go through them later on…

In an odd way then, while I think that I know what I should be writing for this week’s writing prompt, Write a Journal Entry About Your COVID-19 Year, I’m also not very familiar with what I should be writing at all because I’m not exactly familiar with writing in a journal on a consistent basis.

“It’s not lost on me that I’m so busy recording life, I don’t have time to really live it.”

David Sedaris, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

I suppose in the past I always owned the view expressed in the quote above when it came to journaling. I was too busy living life. I didn’t have time to stop and record fleeting facts or feelings about things that seemed to happen so quickly or things that seemed mundane or unimportant at the time. I also wasn’t eager to analyze my life or feelings all the time and was certain that I would always be able to remember the important stuff when it mattered because it mattered, even if I didn’t record it all.

As I get older, however, I’m starting to see how journaling on a consistent basis can have significant value. It can help you process things you’ve experienced. And it can help you take note of the small but important, everyday things that can slip by and go unnoticed if you’re not, well… noticing them enough to write about them. And if you read your journal entries later on in life, they can allow you to reflect on what you were going through and what you were feeling and thinking during pivotal moments in your life.

While I’m not necessarily an expert at keeping a journal, at the present moment at least, I do realize that 2020 would be the year to record my thoughts and feelings in a journal if ever there was a time to do so. So, today I’m reflecting on what I want to record in my journal entry for 2020, and why.

Here are a few quotes about journaling I came across this week that are worth thinking about.

“I wanted to write in my journal but couldn’t bring myself to. There are so many shades to what passed through me in those days. And I would shrink from committing myself to paper because the light would change before the word was out, the ink was dry.”

Audre Lorde

“Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell.”

Louisa May Alcott

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

Anne Frank

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

Ernest Hemingway

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

Flannery O’Connor

“Is not the poet bound to write his own biography? Is there any other work for him but a good journal? We do not wish to know how his imaginary hero, but how he, the actual hero, lived from day to day.”

Henry David Thoreau

“The diary is an art form just as much as the novel or the play. The diary simply requires a greater canvas; it is a chronological tapestry which, in its ensemble, or at whatever point it is abandoned, reveals a form and language as exacting as other literary forms.” 

Henry Miller

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

Oscar Wilde

“If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair.” 

Madeleine L’Engle

“When I go back and read my journals or fiction, I am always surprised. I may not remember having those thoughts, but they still exist and I know they are mine, and it’s all part of making sense of who I am.”

Amy Tan

What are your thoughts on journaling? Do you keep a journal?


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