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Journals: More than Dreams

March 11, 2010

Throughout the years girls have kept a journal; filling the pages with inspiration, creativity and support. Their purpose for keeping a journal was to record daily happenings, deep desires and convictions that they couldn't vocally express, and hopes and dreams. Did you ever think about keeping a journal worth reading again--not only by you, but by others after you?

Your Weapon of Choice

First, you need to decide where you are going to write. In a notebook? Steno pad? Blank pad? Will your paper be lined, blank, colored or a grid? Or maybe you want to use the computer.

When choosing a journal, be sure you are going to be comfortable with it--there is nothing worse than having unlined paper, especially if you are persnickety about neatness. However, if you are OK with crossing out a word here-and-there and aren't afraid of a little scribbling, then a blank pad works just fine! There are other things to consider besides neatness like: easy storage and portability. A steno pad may be easier to tote around than a notepad, plus you can choose from a wide variety of colors. But whatever type of journal you decide to use, remember this, it's the words that you put on the paper that are the real prize, not the paper itself.

A quote from Jennifer Moon (1999: 14-5):

A journal is a friend that is always there and is always a comfort. In bad moments I write, and usually end up feeling better. It reflects back to me things that I can learn about my world and myself. It represents a private space in my life, a beautiful solitude, the moments before I go to sleep just to stop and note what 'there' is about the day or about my life at the time. I think that it has enabled me to feel deeper and more established as a person, more in control and more trusting of life. On a less introverted note, I think that it contributes to my ability to write in general, and it underlies an interest in poetry and creative writing which awaits a quieter time in my life for fulfillment. In addition, I consider that journal writing is closely associated with the extensive counseling and hypnotherapy work that I have been doing over the years. It has been a support and a resource and a means of exploration, though I cannot say whether journal writing led to counselling or whether they both emerged as a result of particular traits in my personality.

Now to Begin

Staring at a blank page can be frustrating and at times discouraging when you want to say the "right" thing the "right" way. Hey, journaling doesn't have to be a routine thing and you don't have to feel like a captive while doing it either. Here are somethings you can do to make journaling a little more fun and interesting!
  • Always put the date and time on your entry page, where you are and a brief summary of your day.
  • Write about the weather and news headlines (really!)
  • Throw in how you feel physically
  • Copy down a bible verse ( one that meant something to you or one that you're puzzling over)
  • You may want to share your thoughts with God, or ask him a question ( this way your journal becomes a truly personal document and dialog. Write down a memory ( describe how you felt then, and how you feel about it now)
  • You may consider emails or letters as you write
Any of these ideas will get you started. When writing, we usually write about the things that we have an interest in, but the things that seem boring and of little recognition may, to others, be out of the ordinary. Go for it! Begin here.


Use Creativity
Keeping a journal doesn't have to be a chore. In fact, it can be rather fun if you allow yourself to be open and creative. You don't have to live with a bland journal because you think that's the way you should do it. No! You can doodle, draw and even scribble as much as you want to. A journal is personal and doesn't need to make you feel closed in and overly confidential. Spruce up your journal with some fun!

Reasons to Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal allows us to vent about friends and frustrating situations, write about daily activities, and make plans and record our dreams. You may not use a journal to write in like a diary, and that’s OK. Some girls use a journal to doodle in, write fictional stories, poems and songs, or all of the above!
Here are some reasons to write:

  • When you feel sad or unhappy and don’t feel comfortable talking to your parents about it— you can write it in your journal.
  • When you’re feeling happy—maybe you can’t find the words to verbally express your excitement.
  • When you are frustrated about something that happened earlier that day but can’t say what you’re feeling out loud
  • When you’ve experienced something memorable and want to keep that memory forever.
  • To record a dream you’ve had.
  • To state your ideas and views.
  • To express yourself through visual art
  • To write songs that were inspired by a situation you’ve been through
  • And to write fictional or nonfictional stories that may have been influenced by something good or bad in your life.

There are more reasons to write in a journal than the ones that have been listed. So don't stop there! You are your own person, you have ideas, thoughts, dreams and stories of your own that are just waiting to be written down. If you have an something to write about—even if it is silly or small in comparison—write it down! There is no wrong or right way to journal!

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