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johnners
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07 Aug 2008, 3:44 pm

Just wondering how many of you keep a journal or diary.

What form is it? I used to use a day-to-page A5-size diary up until last year, but now I'm in the States you can't find them here, so I do it electronically, with a USB pen drive and the simplest text editor I can find so I can update my journal on almost any computer.

What sort of things do you write about? Do you just write down significant stuff, or do you, like me, want to record every detail?

How well do you keep your journal? Are you really good at doing it every day, or are you, like me, someone who does it for a few weeks then loses interest until the next big thing happens? My diaries are all the same: January-March - kept up virtually every day, from then until Christmas it's a few entries here and there with loads of blank pages inbetween, then Christmas and New Year are faithfully recorded.

Who are you writing your journal for? I want my journal to be secret, but I find myself holding back, imagining my wife finding it, reading it and totally misunderstanding what I've written. I know you shouldn't have any secrets from you partner, but surely that really applies to bad secrets? Do you find yourself imagining your diary being read, or even published, when you've departed this world?

Do you find yourself re-reading your journal(s)? I've been keeping one on and off since I was 14 (in 1986). It's pretty embarrasing to read the early entries, little things seemed so important then. I'll pick up an old diary and start reading, and find myself reading entry after entry, wallowing in the past.

And last but by no means least why do you keep a journal? One of my bisggest obsessions is knowing what happened on a particular day in a particular year, or whether something happened before or after some significant event in my life. I feel the need to get everything down before I forget, however trivial.



zghost
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07 Aug 2008, 3:47 pm

I don't. I kept a diary briefly as a child, but it got old fast.



Starr
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07 Aug 2008, 4:07 pm

I keep a dream journal and have done regularly for about five years. (Also I have some old paper ones which go back for 20+ years, on and off journalling, all of which I've kept)
I started the latest one on the computer which is useful for finding recurring symbols and themes, but for the past year or so I've transferred to a paper journal. It's just an A4 notebook, spiral bound. I'm decorating the front, slowly.
I originally wanted to keep it neat but it's more 'real life', lol, scrappily written, with little drawings and doodles here and there.

How well do I keep it - I try and write down every dream I remember, which is about two or three a week. If I don't have much time I just write keywords rather than sentences.

Who am I writing it for - myself. No-one else would be interested in it.

Why do I keep it - because I enjoy finding patterns, exploring the meanings of dream symbols, trying to interpret some of them although I don't often get the time, so just getting them written down feels good, and I enjoy the connection between hand and paper, even though it takes longer than typing. It feels more personal somehow. Plus some dreams are just so strange, odd images, patterns. I would find these so hard to put onto the computer, a paper journal is ideal for recording them. I often use these as starting points for paintings.

I enjoy re-reading them but don't do so very often, and am always surprised how the same themes come around again in slighly different ways.



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07 Aug 2008, 5:36 pm

I have always wanted to keep a journal, but did not have the guts because once you put pen to paper...well, there it is. A few months ago, I started an online blog thinking the anonymity of the web would be perfect. However, a co-worker in the IS department somehow tapped into it and slipped up in conversation, letting me know she was reading my stuff. I was writing about some very personal things and was quite embarrassed about the whole situation. It has ruined me for journaling forever.
p.s. I also cannot help but re-read what I write. My aspie teen does this too. Reiteration is something the 'normals' do not understand.



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07 Aug 2008, 7:36 pm

I used to keep a journal and used to do so for at least one year out of every 5. These days, I just blog instead.

What form is it?
It used to be a diary, now it's blogger (three blogs to be precise).

What sort of things do you write about?
I used to write detail, feelings, what was happening in the world generally as well as specifically what was happening in my world. How I felt at work etc..
Now that I'm using blogs I have to write about things that other people are interested in too.

How well do you keep your journal?
I used to write a minimum of once per week in my diary. I try to update my blogs once per week too.

Who are you writing your journal for?
For me, when I get alzheimers. For my wife and kids if (and when) something happens to me.
I didn't really mind if they read my diary but I didn't advertise it since it's more interesting a few years hence.
The blogs however are different... I write them for specific audiences.

Do you find yourself re-reading your journal(s)?
Yes, but mainly for amusement and nostalgia.

I don't forget much ... yet... maybe when I'm older.



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08 Aug 2008, 12:11 am

This is funny, because I just posted in another thread that I kept a journal.
I have a Livejournal, but I mostly just use that to keep friends updated on my life. I also have another blog (see signature) but that's a one-topic thing. So my "personal" journal is a real notebook. I've kept it for about 6 years, and I'm on my 5th book, I think.
I used to write every night before I went to bed. When I was taking anti-depressants, I somehow lost the desire to write in my journal. Now that I don't take them anymore, I write more, but mostly use the journal to help my depression. I learned about cognitive therapy, which involves writing down all your negative thoughts and responding to them. Doing that makes me feel better.
I read my old journals occasionally, but it's so eerie somehow. It's also sad how I seem to make so little progress on my issues over the years. But my journal does show that I try hard. :wink:



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08 Aug 2008, 1:11 am

I have a few blogs, but that's about it.


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ThatRedHairedGrrl
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08 Aug 2008, 7:34 am

What form is it?
I have a small notebook I carry everywhere, and I have a bunch of art journals I work on at odd times, in which I do painting and collage and stuff.

What sort of things do you write about? Do you just write down significant stuff, or do you, like me, want to record every detail?
Everything and anything. Everyday events, worries (lots of those!), gripes (ditto), rants, poems, song lyrics, notes for whatever creative projects I'm working on, Stuff To Do lists, bits of stuff I found, thoughts on life, the universe and everything.

How well do you keep your journal? Are you really good at doing it every day, or are you, like me, someone who does it for a few weeks then loses interest until the next big thing happens?
On and off, all the time, in no particular order.

Who are you writing your journal for?
Me. Who else do you keep a journal for? Oh, OK, sometimes I will share bits and pieces, but I have an agreement with my husband that I won't read his stuff if he doesn't read mine. That applies to everything, not just journals, because I write other stuff too. He knows I get paranoid about anyone even being in the same room when I'm writing - I had a snoopy mother and a snoopy ex-husband, so I hide stuff out of instinct even if there's nothing 'bad' about it - which there isn't. Although my thinking is so off-the-wall, much of it would be bound to be misunderstood by the wrong people...like, anyone 'normal'. I dread anyone reading my stuff after I'm dead, but I figure by that time I won't care anyway, so let them try and work me out. Ha!

(I could not, by the way, disagree more strongly with the popular slogan 'Nothing to hide, nothing to fear'. Everyone has things they should be allowed to keep to themselves. Not because they're in any way dodgy, but because they're in any way human.)

Do you find yourself re-reading your journal(s)? Yes. I have notebooks going back donkey's years. I do re-read them, and sometimes I find good stuff, although much of the time they're also hideously embarrassing.

And last but by no means least why do you keep a journal?
Basic self-expression. Plus, getting things out on paper just seems to help deal with them.


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11 Aug 2008, 3:59 pm

What form is it?
I kept A5 spiral bound notebook journals throughout my teenage years. I started when I was 12 and finished the last one when I was 18. They were all very pretty, with funky floral covers and lots of different coloured pens used. I like colour. Now I keep a personal blog for my friends, and my main blog I recently started (in my signature).

What sort of things do you write about? Do you just write down significant stuff, or do you, like me, want to record every detail?
My books contain everything about my life - ups, downs, and a lot of pining over boys, much to me embarassment! My main blog now is like a diary of life as an aspie lady and about my thoughts on aspergers, whereas my other one is just to keep friends up to date with things.

How well do you keep your journal? Are you really good at doing it every day, or are you, like me, someone who does it for a few weeks then loses interest until the next big thing happens?
My school ones were pretty consistent, a few times a week. My personal blog is very sporadic, when something happens. My other autism one is every day or two.

Who are you writing your journal for?
My teenage ones were always meant for me, to look back on and giggle about how much of a silly teenager I once was, and for a record of what I went through and what happened at that time so I can remember, plus for my future children and grandchildren, and anyone else who may want to read it in 100 years to see what it was like being a teenager at the turn of the 21st century. Like a historical document, perhaps.

My personal blog is for friends, and my autism one is for parents and friends of autistics, and autistics themselves; the more who read it the merrier, it's meant to be open.

Do you find yourself re-reading your journal(s)?
Yes. My teenage ones make me cringe no end. So embarassing but such a brilliant record of life as a teenager, I'm glad I put the time in.

And last but by no means least why do you keep a journal?
Because I like it and I'm a writer!!


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11 Aug 2008, 8:10 pm

To the OP: I'm virtually identical to you in all the aspects of journaling you mentioned. I have used any blank book I came across, various sizes, a couple softbound, most hard. One was given to me as a kid (7-8 years old) and the first 40 pages are in pencil from that era. I decided to bring it back on 1/1/2000, writing in black pen in much smaller print, and I fit five years into the remaining 400 or so pages.
I am pretty sporadic, and lately slacking hard. As you suggested the summer months see more real-life activity and less archiving.
I am very irritated with being hesitant to be completely honest, and thinking ahead to whether or not someone else might read it. I hate how being aware of a potential future audience causes me to censor things or posture somewhat, but it's tough to remedy that mindset.
Sometimes I rant, sometimes I doodle, sometimes I document interesting days. In particular I want to record every detail of my traveling forays, but I'm often weeks behind and off on another trip before I can get around to it, which pains me because I want to use those entries to prod me later in life to be able to remember those trips in richer detail than I would otherwise.



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12 Aug 2008, 7:04 am

This thread has reminded me that if I want to get my writing ability back, I must keep a journal again. A physical, handwritten journal.



johnners
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12 Aug 2008, 3:07 pm

Some interesting journals going on here. I'm glad I'm not the only one who keeps a very detailed journal. Like you say, dtoxic, you want to get as much details down as possible so you can remember things better in years to come. The problem is you find yourself writing down silly amounts of detail, and I personally feel a bit silly noting that the sandwiches I bought on the train cost 3.50, etc.

It's also interesting that people are blogging more now. I'd be interested to know what people would write in a pen-and-paper journal that they wouldn't in a blog, or vice versa. I keep a blog myself, but it's really just to keep my friends and family back in the UK up to date on what's happening here in California.

lekiwi, I can well imagine the cringing at reading your teenage diaries. I wonder if keeping a journal, especially in your teenage years, is more of a girlie thing. Somehow I'd imagine that teenage girls would have more to write about than boys, but then I could be wrong. It's been a long time since I was a teenager, so things have probably changed out of all recognition, especially since the internet came along.

claire333 - go on, give it another go. Keep it somewher private and you can say whatever you like. It's amazing just how much value it is as the years go by, to read about what happened in your past, and realise just how much life has changed.



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13 Aug 2008, 2:45 am

What form is it? One is in the form of a notebook with graph paper in it that I picked up at my university book store. The other is an online blog, which I rarely update.

What sort of things do you write about? In my online blog, I write about all things related to the art of calligraphy. Mostly what pieces I'm working on, any tips or tricks I find and little tidbits like that. In my other journal, it's for recording ideas for stories or other art-related projects. I tend to work on a lot of character development exercises in there. Notes about further development for my role-playing characters is often discussed in there.

How well do you keep your journal? My online blog is updated whenever I feel like updating it, so not very often. My other notebook is updated at least twice a week.

Who are you writing your journal for? My online blog is written for whomever wants to read it, hopefully those who have a general idea of what calligraphy is before they go over there. My notebook is mostly for my sake, though I've found myself sharing a lot of the information recently because it has to do with characters I've created.

Do you find yourself re-reading your journal(s)? I used to keep a personal journal, but I don't really keep one very well anymore. I sometimes re-read what I've written, but it gets fairly repetitive after a few entries, so I don't bother. That's also the main reason why I don't bother keeping a personal journal anymore. For my notebook that I record stuff about my characters, yes. I do frequently re-read it and make amendments to what I've written. It really helps with character development.

Why do you keep a journal? I keep my online calligraphy blog to help other calligraphers out there with what I know and to share information. I keep my notebook updated with factoids and commentary on my character development and story plotlines so I can go back and use them later... alter things as need be.

As far as the personal journals go, if I ever write in mine, I write in a cypher I've adapted from a number of sources that won't be easy to guess unless one really takes the time to attempt to understand what I've written. Not that my life is that interesting; most of it's either on the subject of physics or complaining about insomnia or commentating on various movies or books or talking about my fictional characters (which is the exact same information commented on in my other notebook, anyways).


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dtoxic
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14 Aug 2008, 12:30 am

I bet it will be very interesting to have those silly details, johnners, just not for the first 20 or 30 years of looking back. After that it becomes a snapshot, a slice of life from that 'era' even though you're not thinking of it as an 'era' as you write. What flavor ice cream you got, how much it cost, the kid ahead of you in line who dropped his blackberry cone and began wailing, these things will create a mini story that you will enjoy in your old age, or will interest others long after your death. Just look back at detailed entries of journals written a hundred or more years ago, the mundane stuff can be quite interesting. And you are writing the journal from 100 years ago for people alive in 2100.



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17 Aug 2008, 10:43 am

I write my thoughts/opinions down in the form of song lyrics.
I used to do it all the time but fairly rare now.


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