How to Journal

“Just write every day of your life. Then see what happens.” – Ray Bradbury

My brother has journaled every day for more than two years now.  When he told me, I was in awe of his consistency.  It is a daily task that I have tried to turn into a habit and I have failed again and again.  What do I write? But nothing interesting happened.  Where do I start? .

The answer is wherever you want.  Keep it simple. Mike keeps it simple.  He gets up in the morning writes about his previous day, how he slept, and what he hopes to accomplish in the day to come.

“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” – Jack London

I have written each day for the past week and plan to write every day for my remaining days.  One entry was only five paragraphs, but to start it’s more important to be consistent that voluminous.  Quanlity over Quantity.  I don’t have a set schedule, however, I think I will need to make time in the morning to avoid the excuse of busyness to prevent me from writing.

Generally, I write about the day’s events.  The good and the bad.  Sometimes I ask myself questions with no answers.  Sometimes I ramble.  Most times I don’t know where the words are leading.  In most cases nowhere until one moment hits and everything comes together.

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.” – Ernest Hemingway

The one question I do ask myself when I write in the morning is, “What would my ninety year old self want me to do today?”  It’s safe to say the advice would include exercise, eating healthy, and spending time with friends and family.  It’s safe to say he would advise me to take a chance, to book that vacation, to ask for that raise and to make sure to laugh.  Instead of WWJD, I can pier into the mind of my older self and realize what are the most important things to accomplish that day.  My ninety year old self knows that I will still go on Barstool or YouTube for a bit too long and may house that sleeve of Double Stuff Oreos, but the important thing is getting the big things right.

* Picture is Theodore Roosevelt’s journal entry when his wife and mother died on the same day

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