I’ve been a Creative Director for the past 25 years in Silicon Valley. I’ve kept a journal and written in it every day for the past 10 or so years. I have to say I agree with everything in this article. I also have a tip to add that might make it sustainable if you have tired and failed in the past to keep a jounal.
I use a very specific kind of journal. It’s a Moleskine 365 day Diary. You buy them already date-stamped. Every day, ONE page. You might say to yourself, “Well, I don’t want to limit myself to one page, sometimes I want to pontificate for hours…” Yeah, right. Not gonna happen. Don’t give yourself an out like that.
The beauty about one page a day is that you can keep it up because you know you only have one page. Also, it’s DAILY, and already stamped, so if you miss a day, blank page. Can’t have that. I’m not saying that you can’t skip a few days, and then go back and fill them in. I find if I go over three days, I can’t really remember what was going on so I think that’s about my limit.
I’d suggest cursive writing. I originally thought keeping a journal would maybe improve my handwriting. Not sure if it did, but one time, I showed my journal to somebody and she commented on how beautiful my handwriting was. Maybe I just never noticed? My point is, don’t give up on handwriting. There is something special and personal about handwriting. Someday, you will die. Yep, hate to break it to you. Your journals will still be there though. If it was all typed, that part of you is dead too. If you wrote it in your own hand, the connection will still be there. Your son, daughter, niece, whoever may someday wonder about you. Let them see.
Writing organically by hand shows the true you. The way you underlined certain words. Little drawings you did to explain something in the pages. The way your writing changes when you are mad, happy, sad. There’s the photos you sometimes paste in because you just have to. The few tiny strands of hair you taped in the day your cat died (okay, yeah I admit it). Don’t flush those things away the same way the music industry flushed away album cover art. It’s a part of you that sometimes can be as important as what you write.
There was a time years ago I ran into a friend and they asked, “What have you been up to?” All I thought to say was, “Well, you know, not much, same stuff.” I keep a journal to remember things. I don’t care how boring a life you have, you never do, “Not much” in a year.
If I still haven’t convinced you, consider this. What if someday you lose your memory? No worries. Start reading the novel of your life. Live it a second time.