Did I ever tell you how much I love to-do lists? Not just mine, but also reading other people’s lists. If I’m grocery shopping, and I spy a forgotten list in a cart or on a shelf, I race over and greedily devour the list. You can tell a lot about a person by looking at his or her list: candles, card and cake mix? Birthday! Diapers, baby wash, frozen pizza? New baby at home. Cold medicine, magazines, orange juice and tissues? Someone has a cold. These are lists of people I will most likely never meet, but I feel I know a bit about them, or at least who they were that day.
Which brings us to a journal. A true journal is nothing more than a record of who you are that day. There is a notion that a journal has to been in diary form - wordy paragraphs about daily happenings. Nothing can be further from the truth. A journal is in whatever form you want it to be.
How do you write in a journal daily?
You write your daily life. Warts and all. I’ve been keeping a journal for years, a black Moleskine that travels with me everywhere. In it’s simplest use, it holds phone numbers and shopping lists. In other spots, there are doodles, or a line or two of a poem that was floating through my mind. I was attending an exhibition at The Art Institute in Chicago that forbid photographs, but there were aspects of the installation I wanted to remember, so I brought out the notebook, and took notes along the way.
I have a stack of old notebooks - I average about 4 small notebooks a year - and enjoy flipping through the pages of them every now and again. There is one that holds a trip to Paris. Another holds a trip to Italy. One documents a move from one city to another: it has packing lists, a few moving companies, and an inventory of the boxes we packed. It is a nice reminder of the way my life was at that particular time.
Get started with keeping a notebook: pick your favorite journal and find a trusty pen.
Then document your life.