Write and Remember

When I was seven-years-old, my parents gave me a treasure: a pale pink diary. Shiny, dark pink daisies adorned the cover and surrounded the words, “My Daily Journal.” Even the pages were pink! There was one more detail–and probably my favorite feature–it had a lock. I was ecstatic and I wrote in it the very next day.

December 26, 1977

7:30 in the morning we left for Utah in an airplane. When we got to the cabin we got stuck. But we got out so everybody had fun in the snow.

p.s. the plane had good food.

That began my habit of journaling. It has changed a lot since 1977. My earliest entries catalogued daily events and often included details like “tonight I watched ‘Diff’rent Strokes and we had pizza for dinner.” I also have one entire journal where each entry is a slight variation of, “Today was nice. I can’t wait until tomorrow.” And I can’t forget the many entries that mention which 7th grade boys were cute. Fascinating, no? As I got older, my entries became less about listing details and more about how I felt.

I know keeping a journal can bless our posterity (although I’m not sure anyone will really care that on Saturday, February 7, 1981, “Love Boat” was really good). The significance of writing is stressed throughout the Book of Mormon–prophets and the Lord’s people are commanded to record. Even though records are kept in heaven, we keep them on earth to bless future generations–and ourselves. This was my little discovery.

I have always enjoyed browsing through my old journals and remembering, but a couple of years ago, I sat reading through past entries and realized something. The Lord’s hand has been in my life. Something about reading my life in synopsis form made it so clear to me. I am being watched over, protected, and taught. It wasn’t really a new revelation, but reading about my life, in my own words, made it sink deeper into my heart. I looked at my journal differently, and began to see it more like personal scripture–my own record of God’s dealings with me.

I’ve started another kind of journal recently when I began to blog and I notice that I write in my journal less. It is fun, but different in one critical way–I am aware of an audience. My writing is affected by the fact that people may read it. Also, it is not as personal or as revealing because it is public. My blog serves a purpose, I suppose, but I do not want it to replace journaling. In our recent General Conference, when President Eyring spoke about recognizing and remembering the Lord’s kindness by writing about it daily, I felt I should re-commit myself to my personal journal and try to do what he had done. I want to remember–not just what I ate and watched or who I liked–but how the Lord has blessed me. I want to write and remember.

Do you keep a journal? Do you enjoy it? How would you consider it a blessing?
Do you blog? If you do, has it affected your journaling? Let’s talk about it.

11 thoughts on “Write and Remember

  1. I recaptured my blog to be private for much this reason. I wasn’t journaling as much, and I needed to be. I still find typing faster and easier to capture my thoughts in quick order, so I blog privately now. It’s a nice way to keep my thoughts ordered and in correct succession, and I can write on-the-fly, even if I just have a minute.

    I’d be so embarrassed to have my posterity read through my High School years, but I find great joy in writing now, and look forward to sharing it with my family when I am old and pruned.

    Oh, and Loveboat was good. Especially if you had a crush on Gopher.

  2. I kept a journal for years. Then, I kind of fell off the journal-keeping bandwagon. When I moved to Sweden, I wrote long emails to friends and family. I started copying those into my journal. And now I have a combination of entries just for the journal and then copies of letters.

    Journals are amazing. And, even if the high school years were embarrassing, I would be happy to read my Grandma’s journal or mother’s journal about those years in their lives. Sadly, neither kept a journal and I can only ask my mom questions. Journals reflect the moment, our feelings and experiences. And they reveal how normal we are–even when we think that we are most abnormal!

  3. Earlier this year I transcribed my late 70’s/early 80’s journals onto the computer. Your 1977 entry brings back memories! It was so fun to see what I thought about (or did) back then. Loveboat was very cool.

    I love keeping a journal, and I’m pretty “tell all” in those volumes. It has blessed me mostly as a place to sort things out.

    Blogging has been different for a few reasons. I first started blogging to have a place to try some creative writing, and very few people knew about it. The public nature of blogging has been good for me in that I examine myself a little more thoroughly, catching some of my bad attitudes as I think through things. I really think it’s had a refining influence. I hope it has improved my writing abilities! It’s definitely been fun.

    Since starting a blog, I do journal less if I’m not careful. I think my journal has fewer of the funny and silly life events than it used to, but otherwise, I don’t think it’s changed all that much . . . in fact, I’m not sure how often I wrote about funny or silly things in my journal. It’s still my primary source for unraveling my thoughts and feelings.

    I have been meaning to take on Elder Eyring’s challenge . . . thanks for the reminder!

  4. I recently printed out all of my blog posts from the last year and a half plus. They are in sheet protectors and are going in a binder. I still write in my journal, too, but I consider my blog posts to be a sort of small plates in a way. Nephi wrote for an audience, too. :)

    I also print out family letters and notable quotables from my kids that I send out to the extended family.

    I hope someday to do a condensed, small-plates version of my journals. I don’t want my posterity to have to sift through all the drama (you think I’m verbose online? You should see my dozen and a half or so journals!). The drama isn’t all bad (they will know I was human) but I want them to have access to the spiritual stuff most of all.

  5. I know this is long, but after this and President Eyring’s talk, I have started a private blog (thanks Justine) and I’m going to kick butt journaling!! Here’s what I wrote for my very first post:

    I have a new avenue. I had become so wrapped up in life that I wasn’t writing in my journal anymore, at all. That is sad news. The President Eyring spoke about keep just a little bit here and there in his journal during the Sunday morning session of this past general conference. He told how it had blessed his life and the lives of his family members. I bet half the LDS population is recommitted to journaling now.

    I on the other hand thought I was safe. I blog regularly. I have a personal blog and a recipe blog and I post something just about everyday. I love it. But I do find times when I think “I’d like to record that on my blog” – but it’s too personal. So I’ve started this private blog. I like the blog functionality because I can write anywhere so quickly. I can jot something down when I’m at work or when I’m at home and I don’t need a book or paper or a pen. I’m always in close proximity to a computer at work – all week long – and I have my home computer just about always. It will work. I need to do it for me. Other benefits will surely come.

    I was so good about writing in my journal for so long. I have about 5 journals from the past 7 years just dripping with details and excitement, blessings, and knowledge. I love to read them because I remember how I’ve grown. I don’t think I’ve come very far until I read my journal and I feel that I am progressing, moving forward and the Lord is hold my hand, helping me along. It’s right to see this progress, I deserve a reminder that I am progressing, worthwhile, strong, and funny. And I am funny. Just read my journals!

    (And I didn’t even start that “Dear Dairy” hehehe!!)

  6. I have been better with journaling since conference. My journals really lost steam after I got married–no more dithering over boys to write about. I don’t have so many things I need to vent.

    Mostly I use it now to record things I hope I don’t forget–cute things my kids say, times when I have felt the Spirit guide me. I don’t have a personal blog, for several reasons… I think I’d spend too much time on it, and worry too much about what people thought. My rule for journaling is that my journal is mine, not for my kids, just for me. Sometime I may go through and find an edited version for them. But if I worry too much about posterity looking over my shoulder, I’m not as honest, and it’s hard for my writing to have the healing power I need.

  7. I got a sky-blue journal as a present when I was ten years old. And I loved to write with my good pen in it. All those white, soft pages.

    But – I didn’t know this at first – my mother kept reading my journal and because of my honesty in this journal she got really angry and took it away. I don’t remember, what exactly I had written, but I remember really vividly her loud voice screaming at me for being unpolite.

    Some time later I discovered an very old exercise book and felt again the desire to write on those unwritten pages. But this time I was prepared: Neither did I tell my mother about my journal nor did I put it in my desk – where I had placed the first one. I just took this journal with me to school, to friends, just everywhere.

    And it got a habit. I have not stopped to write since then. For me journaling is a also a healing instance. My mother and I lived alone and she developed serious alkohol problems in the following years. I was not able to tell anyone and tried everything not to be the reason for drinking (I probably never was, but developed a quite typical behavior of co-dependent children).

    Writing down what had happened during the day, what had hurt me or embarrased, meant to be allowed to forget it. This is still a little paradoxical for me, because by writing it down it is conserved…

    Since I don’t live with my mother, my journaling has changed, especially influenced by the church, which I got to know when I was 17 years old. But it is still more than recording my day, it really is a way to get to know myself, my true feelings and to have a place where those feelings can be stored if it is too hard to cope with them right now.

  8. Thank you for your great comments! I have enjoyed reading your responses.

    Justine, I’m with you on the Gopher thing.

    Tiffany, yes, my journal does remind me that I’m human and I think you’re smart to print copies of e-mails. I should do that.

    Wow Wendy! Transcription? That’s impressive! I also appreciate what you say your blog has done for your writing–editing and revision are vital to good writing.

    Michelle, good point about Nephi. I think your small plates idea is great.

    Kelly, good luck with your new blog!

    Emily, I agree that my writing could not be as therapeutic if I were thinking too much about who would read it in the future. I like Michelle’s small plates idea.

    Claudia, thanks for your comments. I’m glad you didn’t stop keeping a journal after your blue one was taken. It sounds like it has been very healing.

  9. Most of what I had to say by way of response has already been said already, so I’ve just one point. I find that blogging has changed the way I journal. I have always been a great lover of blank books, clean new paper, great pens, and all that, but since discovering the joys of blogging and, well, composing anything at my computer, I no longer have the same “flow” when I pick up a pen and try to simply write. It’s as if my brain works more naturally through a keyboard than an ink cartridge. Last month my husband and I took a trip to Oregon and I took my Moleskine “dairy” with me. I managed to scratch down some notes, but I didn’t enjoy the process like I do when I can easily edit, rearrange, delete, undo delete, etc., at my monitor. Maybe this is because i do not have a very organized mind to start with, and with a computer, it’s not a necessity. I can just spit it all out and then make sense of it later. I don’t equate blogging with journalling, and like others here, I’ve started one or two private blogs for the more personal records, because I click with the format.

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