As a writer, keeping a journal has always come naturally to me. I first wrote in a journal, after reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank. I was touched by how she had one place to turn to when she needed to express her deepest held feelings, longings, and fears. She was living in a small space with a lot of people and yet, the safest place for her thoughts was in the pages of her diary.
Different ways to journal
Since then, I’ve always had a journal of some sort. Although, the way I use them has varied. As a young girl, like Ann Frank, I chose to write down my dreams. Which boy did I have a crush on? How would I overcome the obstacles to “popularity?” What were my friends and I going to do over the weekend?
As a teenager, I got really artsy in my journal. Really, my whole life got artsy. I would write about dreams, the hopeful kind. Instead, I would write down what and those that I dreamed during my sleep. Poetry also filled my journal.
What I didn’t write about
What I didn’t write down was anything I didn’t want my parents to know. My mom had read my diary once. I knew she did because she brought up something that I’d never told a soul, but that I had written about in my private journal. By doing that, she stole my ability to confide in, even my diary. Unless a parent has good cause to fear for their child’s safety, this is something they should never do.
Journaling as an adult
I kept two journals to get through an abusive marriage. One was for the times that I needed to sort out my situation. I had to know that I was thinking about things in a reasonable way. The other journal was my gratitude journal. No matter what, I would write in it daily so that I could keep my eyes on the blessings in my life.
Now, my life is a good one. I write in one journal every couple of weeks, to collect my thoughts and observations. To remember the basics of each day, and perhaps pass those memories on to my children, I also keep a 5-year journal with only a few lines for each day.
The effect of another person’s life
About a year and a half ago, my great precious aunt, Verna, died. I was given some wonderful family treasures, including some of my great-grandmother’s (her mother) journals. The words on those journal pages transport me back in time. I can hear the voice of Grandma Alma with her strong Minnesota accent. I remember touching the soft velvety leaves of the violets she would propagate and give to family and friends as gifts. Reading the notes she wrote about her day to day life is like an anchor. They are a tether through time from her to me.
It has meant a lot to me that my husband has taken the time to write down his memories. Of course, I had to create the Memory Maker’s Journal to get him to do so. Each page has a question about your life. When you answer these questions, it’s with the intention of passing on your memories to your family members.
Once again I will be doing double duty in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I will be sharing ways to avoid burnout, here at Facing Cancer with Grace. At Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways of thinking creatively, using Brainsparker’s Kickstart Course of A to Z prompts. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites.
What Are Your Thoughts?
What helps you make a shift in perspective? I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!
In 2012 doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, our family has been learning what it means to face cancer. I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at Amazon.com:
I also blog at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker