Journal, Primer

After I posted,”Journal, or not to Journal” I assumed at the time that everyone understood the journaling process.  Not so.  So, here is a primer.

Please understand that one does not need a fancy book that is already bound or that has questions for you to fill in.  Someone gave me such a journal a few years ago and I actually did use it, but it stifled my thinking.  I dutifully filled in the blanks, but did not feel a sense of accomplishment. Honestly, the paper usually should not be loose-leaf unless you put it in a binder.  Spiral bound school paper is really perfect and doesn’t cost much.

If you must, self-assign a subject as a beginner.  Teachers assign a subject for journals in English class because students need a “seed” idea.  You can choose the weather, a person, a place, a book, a meal, a project, or all of the subjects mentioned and more!  Sometimes the entry might be a Bible verse that soothed or pricked your soul.

Since no one is going to “grade” you on the journal, make it just a personal as you want.  I keep my journal (which is a spiral-bound school notebook) on my desk most of the time out in the open.  I also live alone.  When I had family, I usually kept the journal with my Bible and I kept is closed.  Like a diary, it is rather personal, after all.  Most of all, because you are not receiving a grade, write just as if you were talking.  Not every sentence needs proper structure.  Burst into poetic form if that is your fancy.  Use as many descriptive words as you like.  Don’t worry about spelling and punctuation. Really!

Reflecting on what you wrote, the day you wrote it, may teach you something about yourself, or about your walk with friends, or family, or your God.  Handwritten is best; just make sure you can read it later.  Some of my entries, to my shame, are not legible. If you use pencil, it will fade.  Red ink does awful bleeding as it ages.

There you go.  I’ll be back on this subject again.   I’ll be challenging you to other writing projects.  You’ll be getting a workshop via weblog.  It won’t cost you anything but neither do you get coffee and sweet rolls while the workshop progresses!


Excerpt from today’s entry in my journal:

Since Kholton was visiting me this morning, I decided he could walk the dog for me.  Dog seemed happy to see the leash.  About half way across the yard she sat down and would not budge!  She turned to look back at me as if to say, “Mama, aren’t you coming?  Hey, if you don’t come, I don’t go.” Kholton turned around and she was happy to come back.  Later tonight, I took her for a walk.  Everything went as usual.  Labs are so sweet.  She didn’t want to leave me alone at home.  Indy Girl is one loving dog.  Oh that I cared for others in such a meaningful way.  Makes me wonder. Do I?



  1. Glenda

    Thank you for the helpful hints. I have often thought about journaling, if for no other reason than to leave some sort of record behind for our children and grandchildren to see how often they were in my thoughts and prayers, but just have never come to the point of actually doing it. Perhaps I should start now, while I can still see, think, and remember! I have also been given a couple of those books, but they seem too impersonal to me.

    Bless Indy’s little heart! She is so accustomed to giving you your daily exercise that she just didn’t want you to feel neglected! Yes, Labs are really sweet and very loyal, and I’m sure she loves you as much as you love her.

    Oh, by the way…a classmate of mine from Clinton, Ron Phillips, has written a book about journaling, called “Spiritual Journaling–God’s Whispers in Daily Living,” which is a very thin book and easy read. I know it’s available on Amazon, but not sure whether it’s on Kindle yet. He is a follower of the teachings of Thomas Merton, and worked as a hospital chaplain before retiring a couple of years ago.

    Anyway, thank you for the nudge in the right direction! 🙂

  2. Well, just get going on it! While many get going on it they change the attitude from “I HAVE to . . . to I GET to! There are so many variables, I will write on this subject again. I think there are things that should be left as a memory. I do have a spiral bound book called, “Grandma’s Book of Memories” that I have filled out–well most of it–for the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, etc. I bought it in a stationary store long ago. A handwritten testimony of salvation should be included, too. I’ll get to those things. But, Glenda, most of all, just start. Start with two of three sentences. Some of my entries are just two or three sentences, and some are two pages or more. All of it is conversational. Happy writing. You might nudge Allen in to collecting a few gems too.
    Yes, my Indy Girl is precious. Until yesterday, though, I never really understood how much she cares for me. Unlike cats, dogs tend to loyalty and more about you than themselves.

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