The Most Precious Thing… Journals

In the end, we loaded our technology (computers, hard drives with all the historical pictures on them), my old Smith Corona typewriter (yes-crazy!) and we stood holding what we decided were the most precious things… our cottage journals.

We began our first journal on our first day as we moved in to this place. Our kids’ friends wrote enthusiastic missives about how beautiful everything was. Our kids wrote about their feelings, capturing with words what their hearts were beating. “Powered down. Closed up. Fits perfect.”

The words of our son as he did his first final closing at age 18.

The journals number four now and have chronicled friendships, community losses, high points, low points, activities, picnics, first fingerprints of grandchildren, celebrations, achievements, jobs, retirements, comings and goings, weddings, funerals. Our life is there.

We carried the four journals to the boat. The most precious.

We were lucky, and so many of us felt lucky as the water bombing planes extinguished the fire and summer students were planted in the forest to seek out hot spots for a week afterwards.

We felt so lucky.

And so grateful. The journals are back on the bookshelf,  fuller still after the summer of 2016.

Source: The most precious thing…: COMMUNITY SECRETS | Barrie Examiner

I’ve thought about what I’d save in case of fire too. Likely everyone has at some point. I also think about my old diaries/ journals. I haven’t looked at most of them since the day I wrote the entry. At one point, moving from one place to another (again and again), I was at the point of throwing them all out. Journals are a link to our past selves. Sometimes a burden but irreplaceable too. I deleted an online journal I kept while I was going through a divorce. I don’t remember why I deleted it then. I’ve tried to get it back a couple of times but never found anything that worked. Gone forever, irreplaceable.

Imagine the Long, Lost Journal Found

What does a journal look like? If you found the long, lost journal of long dead explorer, what would you expect it to look like? I see it as leather, beat up, dark cover and dirty, weather beaten held together with string or something else found along the way. What if it were the journal of a dentist? That I’d expect to be pristine, white and not at all dog-earred. What does your own journal look like, if you keep one?

Pick someone: scientist, teacher, fashion designer, etc and write about the journal they keep. What does it look like? How does it reflect the writer? Describe the wear and tear and any extra things like art added to the cover or a lock to hold in all those secrets. Where is the journal kept? Or, has it been lost? Give the journal a whole story of it’s own (before you even open the pages).journal

Journal from: Canada Beauty Supply

My own journal has evolved to a lined page notebook with a flowery cover. No security like a lock or elastic to hold it closed. I don’t keep it in any special place, nor do I hide it away. But, that’s my life now. I used to keep it in my desk drawer. These days my desk is a computer desk and it didn’t come with drawers. Besides, it seems wrong to keep a journal in a desk drawer unless the desk is old and made from wood.

12th May – Keep a One Day Diary for Mass Observation

May 12th 2016 is likely to be quite an ordinary day, but for those researching, the ‘ordinary’ can often provide extraordinary results.  The diaries will be held and used alongside the 1937 documents. We would be very grateful if you could document your May 12th for the future.

Please write as much as you can about what you do, who you meet, what you talk about, what you eat and drink, what you buy or sell, what you are working on, the places you visit, the people you meet, the things you read, see and hear around you, how you are feeling and of course what you yourself think.

Source: 12th May12may

The Culture of the Diary

If you’ve never kept a diary, try it for one week. Write a note to yourself every day and see how it goes. If you already keep a diary give it an update or think of something unusual to write about. What haven’t you confessed to the clean, white pages? What are you holding back, even there?

From Samuel Pepys to Bridget Jones, the private journal combines the mundane with the confessional. Lucy Scholes reveals why the diary still fascinates readers.

Source: BBC – Culture – Anne Frank and the cult of the diary

Blogging 101: Say “Hi!” to the Neighbors

Capture

Today’s challenge is one I am skipping for now. I’ve got a lot of blogs I follow, years and years worth of blogs I follow and I almost never read them. I would like to take time to weed through my list to find which are link rot, moved and can have a fresh link and find new sites which I would love to add to the list. That all takes quite a lot of time though, more than one day for sure.

So this day three of the WordPress Blogging 101 will have to be on the list of extra things to do later. I’d like to do the same for all of my sites. Actually, links I have on the two main sites need to be sorted into relevant topics which would fit on the niche sites too.

Lots of work to be done!

 

Blogging is a communal experience; if you didn’t want anyone to read your posts, you’d keep a private diary. Today, begin engaging with the blogging community, the first step in building an audience.

Today’s assignment: follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs.
Why spend time reading other blogs?

Publishing posts is only half of blogging — engaging with the community is the other.
Considering what other bloggers write will inspire you and sharpen your thoughts.
Part of what makes blogging such a rich experience are the relationships we develop with people from around the world. Those relationships only happen when we engage with one another — just look at The Commons. Plus, reaching out to other bloggers is the best way to have them return the favor.

The first step is finding the people you want to connect with. By following topics you care about in the Reader, you’ll discover a world of blogs. Some of them will become favorite reads, and some of their authors will become your fans.

Want to share your great finds? Visit The Commons.
To get you started, review our tips on using the Reader to find and follow blogs that speak to you. A few of our editors have also shared their favorite Reader topics. Add five topics, so you can access them quickly whenever you feel like doing some reading. As you browse the topics, follow five new blogs, too.

The Blogroll on The Commons is another great place to explore. There are over 1200 of you participating — you’re bound to find some new favorite reads. Scroll through the list, and click on titles that intrigue you, seem up your alley, or make you laugh. (Adding the “blogging101″ topic to your Reader is also a great way to keep up with your co-bloggers.)

If you don’t blog on WordPress.com, you can still use the Reader if you have a WordPress.com username. If not, there are other ways to explore — your blogging platform may allow you to browse, or you can visit blogs you love and check out their blogrolls and commenters’ blogs.

Feel free to publish a post in addition to completing today’s task if you’d like! Write the post that was on your mind when you decided to start a blog, or take a look at our prompts and challenges for more inspiration.

I Used to Write on BackWash Kids

bwkids

If you also wrote for (with) the BackWash community network of writers/ columnists join us for a BackWash reunion.

Here is the content from the post above. In text for those who can’t read it from the screen captured image above.

Spin your Thoughts with a Journal

Do you keep a journal? Sometimes its called a diary, I think thats the old fashioned term. What you write in your journal is up to you. Be creative, rant about your family, chronicle your life, or just spin your thoughts on the web.

Keep your journal in a secret place if you don’t want anyone to read it. Or, if you feel like sharing you can read what you write to friends or even keep your journal online with sites like Blogger. Of course, you can do both. Have an online journal and another secret journal for just yourself.

Journals can be kept in plain notebooks or fancy lined paper books you buy in stationery stores like Hallmark. I like to write with a fine tip black pen but you can experiment with all kinds of pens and colours. Add stickers or stick in clippings from newspapers and magazines. If you really want to put in a lot of clippings have a look at scrapbooking. Thats another form of journaling but there tends to be less writing and more drawings.

There are lots of websites about journaling and scrapbooking. Have a look around and see which appeals to you.

Who Will Read your Diary in the Future?

I write a diary. You could also call it a journal but I prefer diary because that feels connected to history and all the women who have kept a diary through history. Since the early days of writing on paper women have documented their thoughts, their lives and their ideas.

We write with someone in mind, a reader.

It may be a generic reader or you may think of an actual person as you write. I do. The person I write to has changed over the years. I think I wrote to myself when I was a kid. It’s hard to remember and know for sure what I was thinking as I wrote so long ago when my mind was so much less complicated. Then I wrote for the people. I used to think my diary would be read long after I’m gone but it would be used for my biography, whoever took up the task of writing it.

At some point I began to edit myself as I wrote. Having that reader in mind, I started to think about how much I didn’t want the world to know versus how much I wanted to write about everything in my head. Writing a diary is a release, a freedom of thought and a way to organize your emotions too. But, when you think of someone else actually reading all of that… your outlook changes.

Now I try to write just for myself again. Thinking too much about the reader took away too much of what I needed from the whole thing of keeping a diary. So, they all join each other in a big storage box as I run out of space to write. But, I don’t know if anyone will ever read them. At least not until I am long gone and will never know (or hear) what people say about the real me in the pages of those hand written books.

The history of women is in our diaries, our letters and our crafts. I’m so glad to see the history of women being pulled from obscurity.

So few women managed to become a part of recorded history, other than being mentioned as the daughter, wife or sister of some important man. So much of women’s history is lost. What was it really like to be a woman, daughter, wife, Mother or sister in the 1600’s? Those were the days when North America was being discovered by Europeans. I’d really like to know about women in early, ancient and prehistory. In such early days we don’t have history of any people but those who were politically important, enough to have been written about. Of course, in those early days of writing, it was rare for women to be taught to write.

I think about that sometimes. I don’t take writing and being about write for granted. We record our own history, in our own words. That is something of value – our way of having a mark on the world, even if we aren’t sure we really want someone else to read it!

 

Write Like a Diarist

Most people who keep a diary / journal write with an audience in mind. They write to someone, even if they don’t ever plan to let anyone else read what they have written.

Try writing a diary entry about your day, or pick an average sort of day to write about. Choose who your audience is. As you write change your audience to someone else about midway through. How does this change what you write and how you are writing it?

How to Start a Diary or Personal Journal

What to Write

Any time you are not sure what to write or just can’t seem to get started – read back your last post to the journal and comment on it. Did you meet any goals, achieve something or did the day you expected turn out completely different from what you had written?

Write with Pen and Paper

Take a break from the computer, sit in a different chair and use a different table when you write your journal. Buy yourself a paper notebook with blank pages for you to fill. Pick a pen with a nice flow and even a pretty colour of ink to write with. (Blue ink can be pretty – there are all kinds of shades of blue ink in pens once you try out a few of them).

There are endless books created to be journals. You can go to a book store and look at a display full of them. Pick something appealing to you. While you’re there pick out a bookmark too. Not that you really need one but it’s nice to have something to mark the page you last wrote and the new one where you will write again.

There is a nice feeling when you actually write with a pen on paper. Plus you will be practising your penmanship. keeping cursive writing alive and working through writer’s cramp rather than losing those muscles and that hand dexterity.

Writing Every Day, or Not

There are those who believe a journal or diary must be written in every day. That’s a lot to stick with. I know from my own experience how tough it is to stick with a schedule/ plan like that.

However, writing everyday does give you writing discipline. You can get into the habit of writing each day and then it does become easier. You will even find yourself composing your daily journal entry as you get up in the morning, on the drive into work or while you’re doing something routine like brushing your teeth. Then all you need to do is sit down long enough to write it all out.

Putting thoughts on paper is a great way to sort out all the stuff going on in your head. We think about so many things, get so many ideas and plans and then poof, they’re gone as we get busy with something else. Keeping a daily diary is a good way to keep track, solidify, and give more respect to your ideas, thoughts and plans.

As you sort out and give some real space to everything in your head you will find your mind become a little better at organizing everything going on in there. You can define your thoughts as you have to work out just what they are and how they could work in order to put them on paper.

Of course, there is no law saying you have to write in your journal or diary every day. So don’t take it so seriously you end up not writing at all because you feel you haven’t done enough with keeping the journal. It’s there, waiting for you, when ever you come back for it. A journal is just a notebook, a collection of pages, it doesn’t blame you or want you to feel obligated to it.

To Edit or Not to Edit

This is such a tricky thing. I did go back and edit some of my old diary posts. I regret it and yet, those edits are part of the history of my diaries now too. I still feel I should have just left them as I originally wrote them, however. I can never go back in time and be the person I was at the time I wrote them. It seems just a bit snarky to criticize or correct myself in any way.

Of course, some of what I wrote were not so much edits as comments based on how things turned out as time went by. The comments are pretty cool really. Now, even more time has gone by and I have yet another perspective on both the original post and the comments I made on it somewhere in between then and now.

One of the good things about keeping a journal/ diary on paper is that you can’t so easily delete your old posts. Online you can make a quick decision to edit or delete something and it will be lost and gone forever.

Extra Tips for Diary/ Journal Writing