I have always been somewhat of a journal keeper. I can remember in my senior year of high school (You know, when life was DRAMA) coming to the realization: “I think better with a pen in my hand” (and now-a-days, more likely a mechanical pencil).
Although, I was never a daily diarist, journaling as a life practice has held steady, even if sometimes a month or so elapsed between entries.
This past year journaling has exploded as a practice in my life, and I move into 2019 with a deep commitment to a diversity of forms of journaling, including:
- basic, general journaling
- working through a “Journey Journal”
- maintaining a gratitude journal
- using a hybrid bullet journal/planner
My Digital Journal
I do I basic, general journaling on my computer. In this journal I do the typical things like capture memories, plan, dream, work out my concerns… However, to this basic function, I have also added the recording of quotes, my responses to them, and correspondence between myself and family and friends (Once I’ve written something in a letter or email it seems redundant to write it again in my journal). The digital journal works particularly well for this; I love “copy” and “paste.”
My Journey Journal
These last two years have been particularly filled with trials and seismic events. Life is irrevocably changed and will never be the same again. To process the impact of all this, I began my Journey Journal. I am using it to sit with and understand my emotions, explore the roots of ongoing issues, practice and build my resilience, and dream of the new horizons that lie ahead. Needless to say, I’ve been using my digital journal a lot less since starting this.
My Gratitude Journal
My gratitude journal (pictured above) is a beautiful little book someone gifted me. (I am so sorry I do not remember who, but know, if it was you, I love it!) My gratitude practice stems from three sources, my faith and gratitude to God, my susceptibility to seasonal affective disorder and the value of gratitude in fighting depression, and my desire to capture the little things, as well as the big, that I value in my life.
Each day, I simply write in the date and “Thank you,” then write a brief bulleted list of things I am grateful for from the previous day—usually just 3. I love doing this. It is a real mood lifter. Despite my troubles or inner conundrums, it keeps me aware of how incredibly blessed I am (And it’s likely, so are you).
My Bullet Journal/Planner, or is it Planner/Bullet Journal?
During the months I have been ill, I did a LOT of online reading, and as is the case online, one blog post links to another, and another, and another, and I found myself exploring new and interesting things. One of them was bullet journaling, popularized by Ryder Caroll. Here is a little video.
Now I have used a planner ever since I started teaching and was required to keep an open, filled-out lesson book on my desk. I very quickly learned how handy it is to use a planner and have done so both personally and professionally ever since.
Bullet journaling, however, was a whole new world. The planning part blended well with my already developed planning instincts, but the discovery of decorative page spreads, trackers, reflection pages, and the wonderful omnibus of lists that could be incorporated… I was enchanted.
I immediately began practicing, using the disc-bound planner I had already purchased for 2018. I added dividers for sections instead of “indexing” –as by-the-book bullet journalers do, began experimenting with different forms of trackers, and have been following planner and bullet journaling blogs online and pinning oodles of inspirational images on Pinterest.
This year I am making my own pages for last year’s disc binder. I finished the “Future Log” this week, and have weekly spreads in place for January and February, with templates for weekly spreads, and more on my computer. I love the creativity of making my own pages, and the efficiency of tracking what I need to do and have accomplished. (I especially love checking or tallying items off! There’s just this little kid inside of me who delights in a “showy” completion.)
- What kinds of journaling or planning do you include in your literate lifestyle?
- Do you hand draw or create digital bullet journal spreads?
- Would you be willing to share pictures in the comments?
I look forward to hearing from you. Let’s encourage one another!