Sunday, January 24, 2010

Curious about Journals: Do You or Have You Kept a Journal? What Are the Benefits?

I receive the “Early to Rise” e-newsletter Monday through Saturday. It is so good that even though I am often pressed for time, I read it word for word. Yesterday, my hero Michael Masterson wrote the article (I think of his articles as life’s lessons), “Tracking Your Success: Why You Should Keep a Daily Journal.”

Masterson wrote, “It may seem a self-centered pastime, but keeping a journal is actually an excellent career-building tool. It can help you figure out new directions for your life and then guide you as you go. . . . I've been keeping journals for more than 30 years now, and the pleasure of writing them has only increased over the years. In my earlier years, I kept journals sporadically.”

I have just returned to keeping a daily journal and find that it is like having someone keeping you accountable. Several years ago, I religiously, wrote “Morning Pages” (three pages written every morning, by hand, in a journal) and the results were fabulous. If I had worries, gripes or problems, once they were down on paper, they disappeared. And the good events and successes were always fun and enlightening to write about.

However, as I became more time strapped, I became a sporadic journaler. I am thrilled that I am back to it and the guidance and clarity I am enjoying. For today’s quotations, I am only including those that relate to the kind of journal Masterson and I refer to. Not the Journal of Medicine or the Wall Street Journal.

Here goes:

  • I write journals and would recommend journal writing to anyone who wishes to pursue a writing career. You learn a lot. You also remember a lot... and memory is important.” - Judy Collins, American musician
  • American Splendor is just an ongoing journal. It's an ongoing autobiography. I started it when I was in my early 30s, and I just keep going.” - Harvey Pekar, American writer
  • Keep a journal, and learn how to see how you as an individual sees information so you can learn your own sign language. Meditate and practice psychic self defense and surrounding yourself with prayer.” - John Edward, American entertainer
  • My job in space will be to observe and write a journal. I am also going to be teaching a class for students on earth about life in space and on the space shuttle and conducting experiments.” -Christa McAuliffe, American astronaut
  • When we saw our plane on TV as breaking news, it was the most surreal experience. A lot of the women were crying. There was a gentleman who was writing in his journal and crying. Seeing that isn't easy.” - Taryn Manning, American actress
  • After the writer's death, reading his journal is like receiving a long letter.” - Jean Cocteau, French director

And one more for fun:

A page of my journal is like a cake of portable soup. A little may be diffused into a considerable portion.” - James Boswell, Scottish lawyer

Do you keep a journal? How about daily? It doesn’t have to be a fancy, leather bound version. It can be a straight forward spiral notebook. I suggest hand writing it. I feel that there is a better connection between the hand and mind. And, let me know how it goes for you.