The Art of Journal Writing

These weeks away from work have given me time to start five new journals. Each journal has a theme and some days, I write in two or more of them. The themes I have chosen are: Love Letters to My Sons and Grandsons (Memories Made); My Spiritual Journey; Adventures in Teaching (Memories from My Time As An Educator); The Important Influencers: Cherished People in My Life; and Family Legacy: Funny Stories on the Gift of Play in My Family. Writing gifts me with freedom; once it's down on paper, my memories, stories, thoughts and emotions are stored, kept in books for future generations. My journals are my memory keepers.

Many websites offer journal prompts for adults and children if you need ideas to get started. You can check out the following books from Saline County Library's e-book library:

1. The Year of You by Hannah Braime

2. The Story You Need to Tell: Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness or Loss by Sandra Marinella and Christina Baldwin

3. Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life by Diana Raab

4. Time to Write to Yourself by Dianne Sandland

During my years as a genealogical researcher, I would ask for stories from my elders and record them. Some of the questions I would ask can be used as journal prompts:

1. What is your most cherished  childhood Christmas memory? Who was there? What smells do you remember? How did you feel? What was the main event?

2. How did you or your spouse propose? Describe your wedding day.

3. What is the most favorite place you have visited? When? Who was with you? What did you do?

4. What was your favorite food that your mother cooked for you when you were a child?

5. When did you learn to drive? Who taught you? How did that first lesson go?

As you can see, there are many methods for journal writing: theme, memories, historical context, self exploration. The variations are endless. The writing tool can fit your particular style: computer files, journal app, journal book, loose-leaf paper in a 3-ring binder. Choose a method and a tool and get started today!

- Yvonne Dougherty

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