Your journal is not a daily diary: you don’t have to force yourself to write something, anything without fail every day. Approaching your journal in this way is likely to demotivate and make you avoid writing entirely. As an alternative, it is a good idea to keep a small note book or a few note books in strategic places: for instance by your bedside so that just before dropping off you can jot down a few notes of the day’s events that will trigger your memory when you have time to write.
I would advise that you don’t use a formal diary with dates, in fact I recommend a blank paged note book to help free your mind from constraints – in my case my doodles help me and blank pages make for inspired doodling! You might also consider carrying a small camera or using your phone to take photos of events that you find worthy and another tip is to carry and use a small voice recorder – this allows you to record your impressions really quickly and easily for later transcription.
A few things to think through before you start: Think about how, or if, you are going to collate your notes. What should you use for this? It could be a ring binder, a box file, you bind your own journals as my Grandad did, or get this done for you. alternatively you could keep an online journal. If you can’t decide, then I recommend the latter, because the other formats can be produced from the material in your online journal at a later date. a note of caution: Always, without fail back up your online journal!
If you intend to look into your family history, beware of becoming fatally side tracked. It is very easy to keep digging and delving into past lives and never get one word set down about your own life and that of your living relatives and friends! If in doubt, stick to what and who you know best and write about or record these aspects.
Speak to the living – a chat with elderly relatives can unearth a hoard of fascinating childhood reminiscences and stories, so take down these precious memories before it is too late.
It is worth setting up a simple system to collate and organise the materials and information you collect. You could use box files, paper wallets, concertina files or a filing cabinet. You will find that having a system allows you to keep the materials relating to specific topics and events from being lost or forgotten.
However you choose to do it, it is my hope that you will take the plunge and add new meaning to your life by writing a journal – forget hard and fast rules and express yourself!
About the Author: Mo Redman
Mo Redman is founder and regular contributor to http://www.lightbulbmomentsforyou.com where she records the rocky rides and occasional pleasure cruises of life.