Journaling for Documentation

Welcome to meryl’s notes blog (this here place you’re lookin’ at) in Plano, Texas. We’re honored to be a stop in Mari McCarthy’s WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. We’re giving away a prize of the winner’s choice! Read on to see how you can win.Mari L. McCarthy
About Mari McCarthy: Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Create Write Now and Journaling for the Health of It™.  Mari offers guidance, counseling and encouragement to writers through her many journaling eBooks and in private Journaling Jumpstart consultations. Mari’s hosting the next Peace of Mind and Body: 27 Days of Journaling Challenge starting January 2, 2012. Please join her!
Her new Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul ebook compiles the journaling journeys of 17 journalers who have shared their stories on Create Write Now’s Journal Writing Transforms You blog. Reading these stories is both comforting and enlightening, sort of like dark chocolate, a food that is good for your health despite being sinfully delicious!

Journaling for Documentation by Mari McCarthy

There are innumerable reasons why keeping a journal is beneficial. From dreaming to scheming to moaning and groaning, filling the pages of your journal with your various states of being is the most direct route I know to personal achievement, resolution and inner peace.
However, probably the oldest and most fundamental purpose of journaling is its use as a documentary. Surely the caveman’s wall paintings were a kind of journal, to share with posterity his achievements and the details of his days. And ever since, people have kept diaries for the simple reason that they wish to document their lives: what happens, who they meet, where they are and all the minutiae of their experience.
Nowadays, we tend to think our time is far too pre-occupied for such pursuits. But if we read the journals of predecessors, we can quickly see what a great gift such writings can be. Despite the rush and roar of 21st century life, keeping a journal will benefit not only our own peace of mind, but also that of our descendants.
If you have experienced the death of an elder in your family, you know that such passing away is always shocking, no matter how expected it may have been. And in so many cases, we regret that we did not know the deceased as well as we might have wished. Moreover, our children and their children may later on become curious about their ancestors. Isn’t it appropriate, then, that we take pains to prepare for this eventuality by documenting our lives in a journal?
So the diary-kind of journaling is precious and obviously important. But note that there are many other kinds of journaling for documentation, as well.

  • Keeping a travel journal is a great way not only to maintain a record for the future but also to heighten your enjoyment of the experience as it is happening. Jotting down notes, describing places and scenes in detail, reflecting on the meaning of what you see and recording your personal reactions gives you a more well-rounded awareness of your journey.
  • You might want to keep a journal that documents your progress on a project, something that you create over time. This could be professional or personal. You might document your work with underprivileged children; or your participation in a mastermind group; or your process of learning to paint landscapes.
  • A journal documentary of your commitment to weight loss, or to stopping an unhealthy habit or building a healthy one, or to a new personal relationship can be powerfully helpful in achieving your goals, in addition to providing a record of progress that will give you much satisfaction when you re-read your entries later on.
  • Another kind of documentary journaling may focus on a certain area of your life. Try journaling about what you cook and eat each day, about your child’s growth and learning, about your garden, or about your spiritual experiences. Remember that while most journals involve writing, they can also (or alternatively) include drawings or scrapbooked items pasted into the pages.

There are endless ways to document the details of your consciousness in a journal. Never think this is a vain pursuit or waste of time. By journaling your experiences, you deepen your own life and potentially enrich the lives of many others in the process.
Comment and win: The prize: winner gets to pick one of three prizes, which are Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul ebook, a Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul T-shirt or Mari’s Most Musefull Journaling Tips (8 1/2 x 11 Spiral Bound).
Dark Chocolate for the Journaler's Soul ebookDark Chocolate for the Journaler's Soul ShirtMari's Most Musefull Journaling Tips
For a chance to win, please leave a comment about journaling, documentation or whatever comes to mind after reading this post (other than you wanna win!). You have until 11:59pm on December 14, 2011 to qualify for the drawing. The unbiased and robotic has the honor of picking the winner.

5 thoughts on “Journaling for Documentation”

  1. I am an English teacher who keeps a personal journal; however, I also use journaling in my classroom for my students. We just recently finished the reading of Macbeth, and journaling helped my students in reflecting upon their own understanding of the text, and it helped them make personal connections to the text.
    I use journaling in my other English class on a regular basis. The students like having the freedom to write what they want without being constricted to a set writing prompt.
    -Jennie Brown

  2. Journaling is my way of documenting my legacy. It offers me the opportunity to write my personal memoir without feeling pressured.My personal way to gain positive insight from my core being. A personal connection to my inner soul, in order to someday touch someone else soul with my written words.

  3. One of the reasons I journal is that I want to leave a record of my life for those who come after me. A gift of journals from my parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents (and so on!) would be priceless to me. I hope that my journals will be passed down to future generations so that they will know who I was and have a better understanding of the times in which I lived.

  4. I recently completed “The Artist’s Way at Work” by Mark Bryan with Julia Cameron and Catherine Allen, and have been doing my three Morning Pages since August 14th. When I made the commitment to do this type of journal, I’ve noticed how much more effective I’ve been in digging through the emotional clutter, and realized, with greater understanding how to deal with what has held me back on many levels.
    Another “journal” I keep is copies of all the thank you notes I’ve written over the years, along with a copy of the stationery that I’ve sent, not only as a reminder of what I received, but also how I expressed my appreciation.

  5. Hi Ladies,
    What mahvelous comments! So exciting to see how journaling works for you in your life. @Jennie, I know if my English teacher had me keep a journal I would have read more rather than opting out for the Cliff Notes. As reading informs my writing so too does writing inform my reading. WriteON!


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