What’s so great about journals?

journals copy 2I know that keeping a journal is important, healing—maybe even life-saving—for me. But why? Or how?

I’ve read a lot about it, and learned from some masters, as you can see in this journal page from 2006. I was planning to expand on it by quoting other writers when I realized I could quote myself.

Ten years ago I created my own list of why a journal matters, and today somehow found it. What I wrote then is just as relevant today: a journal is a good place to…

Experience the present more fully. Notice what you’re thinking, sort out the random experiences of your life, and find patterns, perspective, and deeper meaning.

Express yourself, safely. A journal is a safe place to release your anger, name your fears, explore your dreams, and figure out what to do with all this raw material.

Flex your creative muscles. Try things out, see what works, and just as important, what doesn’t. Keep practicing and watch your skills improve and your style emerge.

Record things you want to remember: stories, books, quotes, ideas, inspirations. (One of my favorites is a conversation wi th many years ago. Ben: Mom, is there such a thing as the human race? Me: Yes. Ben: Well, who won?)

Practice a form of meditation. Writing in a journal is time to be alone and quiet—a rare pleasure in our busy world and a necessity in developing creativity.

Play. Enjoy yourself! Explore writing, lettering, doodling, color, and just plain messing around.

Bear witness. Ultimately, keeping a journal is a way of saying that your life matters. Which it does.

Obviously, I want everyone to keep a  journal, whether it’s about gardens, trips, dreams, cooking, children, books or anything else. So I’ll leave you with this blessing from one of my favorite journal/authors, Christina Baldwin:

May you have good journeys and full journals.