Thoughts on Journaling

Looking back, I think it happened in college: the knowledge that journaling isn’t just a hobby for growing up, but for growing. I knew then that I never wanted to live my life without incorporating journaling.

When my first daughter was born, I didn’t write much until she was nearly a year and a half. I began again then, recording taking my toddler to the ocean on an uncommonly warm May day, my fears that I would lose my grandfather when he was admitted to the ICU after an operation, and when my friend’s mother was diagnosed with a serious medical condition and died not long after.

Writing is how I process my experiences, how I (attempt to) stay calm and engaged in my life, how I remember, and how I express myself creatively. Writing is also how I heal. There really is no way to sum up the tremendous value journaling holds for me.

I never view my past writing as a waste of time. On the contrary, I find inspiration and joy in going back and rereading the pages of my past. I love that by opening a notebook, I can relive almost any part of my life that I choose. I can be a newlywed again, a college student, pregnant with my first, a mother of a toddler and a newborn, or, if I want to be embarrassed, a teenager. The times that I have loved most in my life, challenged me, and even the times that have been the most painful are all there – like grapes or cheese they are aging into something better – life lessons, wisdom, experience.

Why do you journal? What keeps you writing?


  1. I journal exclusively for the process.

    Hashing in my mind about things, talking them over with close friends, and journaling are the main ways I come to important realizations, process trauma, and grow as you have described. Many times I will realize things as they are coming out of the pen onto the paper that I was not conscious of before. I can also tell things about my status by looking at my handwriting.

    I did start a few years ago to re-read my first journal from the first year I was married. I didn't really get into it. But I keep filling journals and sticking them in a crate--well, now, ON a crate--in my closet.

  2. My turn to link! This is wonderful! I especially like the part about reliving parts of our lives. I never thought of it that way, but it's so true. Look for a link on my blog soon.

  3. I remember in high school I have ALWAYS processed my feelings and thoughts by writing them down, but at some point I stopped doing it, and that is so sad. I wonder if it happened when I stopped writing, at all....as in when we started using computers and typing everything. I am so glad to be doing it again, even if not every day as I would like. So thanks for your continued inspiration and encouragement by making it fun!

  4. So glad I found your blog through Bonita's "Encouraging Words for Writers" blog. I journal sporadically, which means I probably could *grow* more if I would be more consistent. I've found I tend to grab for my pen and notebook during times when I'm frustrated; I should journal about the good times as well. (I do scrapbook and journaling about the pictures is a large part of what I do; a picture may be worth a thousand words, but only if the person looking at the picture was there too!)
    Keep up the good work! I will be following!

  5. Hi Jenn,

    I dropped over from Bonita's blog to read your thoughts on keeping a journal. This is such a timely post for me as I expressed something similar on my post today. Journal keeping for me now is helping in the grieving process. I am so glad to have found your encouraging blog. Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Thank you for both for dropping by, and for the comments!

  7. I journal so that I know what I think. Otherwise, it stays inside, a jumbled mess, going nowhere fast.

  8. I so agree with your comment, Kim. When I am the most conflicted, I always turn to journaling.

  9. What a beautiful site, Jenn. I've put you on my blogroll. Would love to have you as a guest blogger on my Journal Therapy Cures.

    Journal Writing is my most healthy addiction! It clears my mental chatter, helps me heal my diseases, helps me be a better writer, singer, artist and that's just the beginning!

  10. I would love to be a guest blogger on your site, Mari! Thanks so much for coming by.

  11. Words are powerful things. God has made it so. We are creatures of words, just as He is. It's woven into our design like blue is woven into the sky and light is woven into the green and growing things on the earth.

    All that I have learned and passed on, was a word in my mind first. I have learned to write something is to know that I know it. I live differently when I write. I am more sure, more deliberate, more focused. It makes possible what I would not have done otherwise.


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