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Girl Talk > Journals

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message 1: by Holli (new)

Holli I'm wondering how many of you journal and if you do...is it on a daily basis? Do you have a certain time of the day that's better for you? Are you ever afraid anyone will read it or does that matter to you?

I would like to start journaling again but am held back because of a privacy incident when I was 18. I wrote daily in a diary from the age of 13 to the age of 18....and nothing since.

I would really love to hear about your journaling habits though... you might help me get over my fear and get back to this once again!! :)


message 2: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2513 comments Mod
I journal. Not daily I havent been able to be that good about it. But I would say I'm consistant. I have done so since I was in HS. I love nothing more than to go back over old journals and read them. I think it is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. If you journal through the good and the bad you find yourself. You watch yourself develope and you can see your progress. Also, I believe that when times are really hard and you feel lost or unsure of yourself if you go back through your journals and read those entries when you were feeling good and the goals you had and the things youve accomplished you find yourself. People think they have to go on these life altering trips to find who they are. I think if you keep a journal you will find yourself much quicker... and cheaper.
I truly believe in the power of journaling and encourage you to do so with all my heart. I think you will learn more about yourself doing that than possibly any other action you can do.


message 3: by Emily (new)

Emily (ejfalke) | 576 comments I journal as well...although not consistently. I just forget about it since I haven't made a strong habit of it; I'll write once a week for a while, and then forget for months. (And then there's a lot to catch up on...) But, if I have a good, strong moment or if I make an important decision, I make sure to write it down so I can look back at it. When I look back at stuff I wrote earlier in my life I think, "Gosh, I sure was dumb to be so obsessed over that boy..." and stuff like that. So now, I really try to focus on deep down important stuff so that I won't be embarrassed for someone to read my journal in the future.


message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments I used to do it, but I haven't recently. I tend to gravitate toward it when I'm going thru a rough patch - so I should be doing it now! I was doing a reading journal, but since I found GR, I haven't been.

I do have the privacy issues, too, Holli. I forget what website I found this on - but there was a place where you could get a leather locking journal. Not a diary w/dates, but just lined pages. Wasn't cheap though. And I guess if someone wanted to, they could open it. But at least you would probably know that someone either got in or tried to get in. I guess you could always put it in a safe that only you can get into. But in my case, I'd have to buy a safe. That's been one of my main reasons for not keeping one (privacy).


message 5: by Kate (last edited Oct 04, 2008 10:14AM) (new)

Kate | 96 comments After reading The Diary of Anne Frank in 4th grade I started keeping a diary and have off and on ever since. I have boxes of them and sometimes peruse a few here and there, but mostly they just keep piling up. The process is more important than the product (but I don't have it in me to throw the products out!).

Knowing I can pull out my journal to think through something at any time is important to me. It's kind of like a security blanket. Sometimes I write what I'm doing or thoughts about recent events. Other times I bring it to readings to take notes on what the writers say. I also tend to write about what I'm reading. I write a lot when I travel, putting down my impressions and pasting in my museum tickets or the label of a good beer I tried.

I think I've kept one all these years because I don't have rules for it. If I don't open it for a month, there's no guilt trip. It's always there for me when I need it.


message 6: by Holli (last edited Oct 09, 2008 04:38PM) (new)

Holli You ladies are inspiring me to pick up my journal again and start writing! I have all of my diaries from the age of 13 every day until I graduated high school. After that I stopped. I came home one day right after graduation to see my boyfriend reading it and I felt so betrayed and hurt. I've never written in one again and every time I start to I throw it away because the stress of someone seeing it kills me. I know I won't be able to write freely because I'll be worried someone will read it. My boyfriend now is not the snooping type at all but the damage was done 16 years ago and I feel I won't be able to go back. Maybe I'll start looking for a secret hiding place because god knows I have alot to write down!!

I'm also afraid to re-visit the years I didn't write in one so I would have to start fresh with today. I'm not ready to go back and write down my feelings about what I did to others in regard to my daughter's death or my heart attack or my marriage ending.

Maybe I'll start in 2009....make it a year of renewal for me instead of a year of adventure. I think I need to get back to the parts of me I've lost and buried and this would be a great place to start.


message 7: by Roxy (new)

Roxy (Roxy_NJ) | 354 comments I'd like to say I'm a regular journal-er. Really I would. I love the idea and lord knows I am a sucker for a beautifully decorated book of blank paper. But I can't get in the habbit. My little journal dream is to, one day, when we have a room that we can put bookshelves in I can put a big reading chair and keep a journal near it and write more often.

I do think about someone reading my journal all the time....its a morbid thought I have, "what if something happens and the guys from Law & Order have to seach through my things and read my journal?. That's when I start over detailing everything. Totally dumb. I try to stop over thinking and just write.


message 8: by Cyn (new)

Cyn | 258 comments LOL, Roxy...I chuckled when I read the part about being a "sucker for a beautifully decorated book of blank paper"... I don't have enough time to do any of hte thigns I wnat to...reaidng comes first before journalling.
I have journalled in the past, but don't make a habit of it...my posts online are my way of journalling now! :)


message 9: by Beth (new)

Beth | 161 comments I journal often. My journals are to my kids. I have a journal for each of them (I have 2 kids). Sometimes I write about something about our day or their growing experience - something fun or special they did. Other times, I write about myself and my life experiences & feelings, how I relate to them, what it's like being their mom - things like that. I'm not as consistent as I would like to be, but I think some is better than none. I love to look back and see how we all evolve - from first words & steps, to first tantrums, to allowances and sports and friend issues. It's a great experience. I'm hopeful that when they get the journals, they will find them to be a special treasure from me.


message 10: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments That's a nice idea, Beth! I started one for my daughter when she was a baby, but I didn't keep it up. Were you planning to give it to them for graduation, or keep it up until they have their own families?


message 11: by Holli (new)

Holli What a beautiful idea Beth!!! I would have loved to have that from my mom........


message 12: by Karey (last edited Oct 04, 2008 08:48AM) (new)

Karey (KareyShane) | 116 comments Beth, your way of journaling reminds me of something my sister did (and which I attempted to do): She put a piece of plain paper on her kitchen cupboard, and whenever her children said or did something that was memorable (and they happen every day!) she would write down their "quote" or what they did that was cute or funny.

A few years ago, she typed it all up, bound it into a book and it was nearly an inch thick. Then she gave it to her three children. Wow. I felt like I'd fallen short as a mother, but what a great idea.


message 13: by Karey (new)

Karey (KareyShane) | 116 comments Holli, there's this amazing book that inspired me to start writing "morning pages", which are three pages of writing about whatever comes to mind every morning.

The writing is never meant to be read again, but just gets whatever is on your mind out of your head, so that you can move forward. I suppose if you wrote it on your computer, you could just hit 'delete'. Then, you'd have all the private stuff written and deleted so you could write unprivate things in your journal...without fear of it being read.


message 14: by Holli (new)

Holli That's a really great idea Karey!!!! Thank you....... I'm going to try it :)


message 15: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (spencerafreeman) | 143 comments I am a journaler, but at the same time, I know exactly how you feel Holli- when I was in middle school I came home to find my mom and dad had found- and read- my journal. I was SO upset, especially because my mom had the nerve to say, "its my house and nothing is secret from me... besides you weren't really hiding it that well" (i kept it under my pillow) but still, are you kidding me?! what kind of parent says that? I'm big on privacy, but I could understand if as a parent you thought something was going on with me, but I was a good kid and gave no sign of any trouble! I was furious and didn't keep one for a long time. Then I realized I'm a writer at heart and that I have to write things down as a way of emotional purging so I started another one. I won't say that I wasn't paranoid about people reading it, but I carried it everywhere with me to make sure it wont happen.
I also used to write a note in the beginning warning who-ever was reading that they were a terrible person and that they should stop reading... Now I keep my journal with me and if I leave it out sometimes at home I don't worry about it because if it were to be read I'm old enough now to argue about their ethics about invasion of privacy.
All that being said, I say you start writing again! Its understandable if you're still a bit hesitant, but you'll feel a lot better once you have an outlet for getting your feelings out :)

good luck!


message 16: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments My sister (an artist) recommended that book to me years ago - and it is good, Holli - hopefully Karey this is the same one you were talking about

The Artist's Way Morning Pages Journal

Anastasia - good idea about the note in the beg. - at least if they kept on reading, they'd be feeling the guilt-worm eating away their BRAINs!! :) It is a good idea to journal, I should start again too.

Another thought - you could always journal on the computer in a Word doc and password protect it.


message 17: by Kate (new)

Kate | 96 comments Some of these comments are reminding me of what a friend of mine did when her daughter was a teen and became less communicative, grumpy, closed-off...the usual.

What my friend did was to write a little in a notebook to her daughter ("Dear Simmie...") a small thought or feeling or memory. Not a barrage of questions or accusations or anything that would elevate any conflicts between them--but instead, just a note, human to human. It may or may not have had anything to do with a specific thing they were going through.

The first time she did this, she just put the notebook on her daughter's bed. Her daughter didn't even say anything to her about it. She didn't say anything about it either. Then a few weeks later, the notebook appeared on her own bed. She opened it up, and there was a note to her beginning, "Dear Mom ..."

For a couple of years this notebook went back and forth between the two of them. Sometimes the notes would be nothing deep. Other times, Simmie opened up about feelings she would not have talked to her mom about.

They never talked about it (until later, when Simmie was an adult). It kept a line of communication open between them, one that didn't require the embattled face-to-face conversations that might put either of them on the offense or defense.

They both say now it was a great thing that kept their relationship rich during a time of strife.


message 18: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2513 comments Mod
Kate that is the most beautiful story ever!
I keep a family blog which as morphed into our family journal/history. I do occassionally write notes to my kids and Ill stick it into their scrapbook pages so someday they will find them. The blog has been the best thing for me to do that.

Holli have you considered something like Livejournal.com and just keep the password protected and not make it public?




message 19: by Roxy (new)

Roxy (Roxy_NJ) | 354 comments I did start a journal for my son after he was born with the intention of passing it on to him when he had his first child. A sort of referecne guide. I'm not very good at keeping up at it thought. :-( I want to journal more, really I do.


message 20: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Gosh, what a nice story, Kate. Wow. That would have been great for me and my daughter through some of her teen angst, etc. Hey not to mention parent angst!

It kind of reminds me of a book that I picked up from the library about a year ago. After bringing it home, it disappeared - my daughter read it, then returned it. We both loved it, but I will say this **TEARS warning**

Life on the Refrigerator Door: Notes Between a Mother and a Daughter - A Novel


message 21: by Beth (new)

Beth | 161 comments Laura,
It's funny, I haven't really thought about when to give it to them, just that I will some day. My mom's mother died when my mom was a young teen and her brother and sister were 10 and 5. I always wished that they had more from their mother, so I started this with that in mind. I guess I will know when the time is right to give them their journals from me.


message 22: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Well, congratulations to you for doing it and sticking with it. You will ALL be glad you did, I'm sure.




message 23: by Karen (new)

Karen Korn (stitcher2683) | 3 comments Hi!

I journal mostly when I'm filled with emotions. It's a great way for me to process what I'm feeling and get some of it out. I especially wrote a lot as my marriage blew up in my face, and I truly believe it was a cathartic way of dealing with my pain. Sometimes I don't write for months, and at times I write daily. It's one of those things that I don't put parameters on. I write when I need to!

I wonder if I'll destroy my journals someday, so my family will be spared. I'll have to think on that!!


message 24: by Holli (new)

Holli Anastasia.....I'm laughing reading your post about how you write a "warning" in your journal. I used to do that too!! I'm hoping it kept out people with consciences. Obviously my ex didn't have one!!

Kate.....that is such a heartwarming story and something I wished I would have had with my mother growing up. She was really hard to relate to with teenage angst because she grew up being so "perfect". I don't think her and I went through the same stuff at all as teenagers!!

Tera....I'm going to Livejournal right now!!! Thank you!!!!


message 25: by Emily (new)

Emily (ejfalke) | 576 comments Holli & Anastasia, I would have DIED if I had found someone reading my journal. Holli, your reticence is completely understandable. It's also understandable that you wouldn't want to write about the difficult things. When my grandmother wrote her life story, she left out her son passing away at age 8. I hope you decide to do it and that it can bring you peace!


message 26: by Holli (new)

Holli I'm going to try Emily........give it my best. I'm hoping it helps me but when I write about it (and I've tried) in something that I know I'm the only one who will read my TRUE feelings will come out and those are going to be hard to deal with. Its different when I write about those things here to all of you because I'm not digging way down deep. I'm just saying what happened and how I felt....the facts......the deep feelings aren't in that. They would be in a journal. So we will see how ready I am ;)


Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 369 comments I use to always journal as a younger child/teenager. I was always afraid someone was going to read it. When I started to get busier in high school I would be inconsistent with journaling. However, in high school, I made the COOLEST journal by cutting out things that represented me or that I liked and putting them on the cover of the journal. I also would sometimes on a particular day find a picture out of a magazine that represented how I felt that day. My senior year and freshman year in college I started journaling via the internet with things like freeopendiary & xanga. Since then, I have been terribly inconsistent. I wish that I would have journaled through these times because alot of huge things have happened, like my mother's battle with cancer and her death, and I would have liked to have a way to channel all my emotions..other than vodka & god knows what else. I also would like to have those emotions written down on paper for later on in life. I wrote very few things during that time. Maybe I didn't want to deal with it..i don't know.

but Holli..FreeOpenDiary..you can make it private and it's real simple to use.


message 28: by Holli (last edited Oct 05, 2008 06:52AM) (new)

Holli Thanks Jamie! I also dealt with my diabetes diagnosis, my daughter's death, my divorce, and my heart attack with my good friend Vodka by my side. I'll be the first to tell you she's not your friend nor does she help those problems go away. They were always there again in the morning and usually in a worse capacity (depending on what I'd done the night before to F**k my life up even more than it was).

I'm so sorry you have had to go thru what you have been thru.....if you would ever like to talk I'm here to listen!


message 29: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments I'm sorry too, Jamie, that must have been awful.

Something I've really found from being on GR is that everyone really does have a story. Even people you don't expect, like Jamie - so young! But everyone has something, an event, a weakness (physical or mental), a "cross to bear" if you will.




Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 369 comments Holli..I do agree. That's what I realized in the midst of all of that..the same crap was still there in the morning and it didn't make me a better person..and I knew that would be what my mom would want me to do..use the experience to become a better person. I just wish that I could have some record of where my mind was for those 2 or 3 years of her being sick/passing away. Thank you for being so willing to share your own life and offering to listen :) I just might take you up on it one of these days.

Laura--I agree. It's amazing when I meet people and I realize that other people are going through so much stuff too. It really changes how I act towards people. There was this girl last year at school that I really just could not stand. She was loud and obnoxious and I just really could not stand her. Once I let my guard down and decided to be more open and positive towards her, we got to talking and within the first 2 hours that we ever talked we were crying together and sharing our experiences..it turns out her mother was dying of brain cancer like my mother did. It was such an incredible moment.


message 31: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Wow, what a powerful thought. It's so great when that happens. You were obviously meant to have that connection, it's good that you opened yourself to it. Do you have siblings you were able to share your loss with?


Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 369 comments Yes..I have a younger sister who is 20. She did not handle it well at all. Really really went off the deep end. I think she is still recovering from it. she is just now starting to get off all the pills she was on. so..she seems to be doing better. it was just extremely hard for her. she was younger and she was around alot more..i was at school.


message 33: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Hmm. In the long run, it should make you stronger. I think anything that you go through that you think w/b the end of you that you come thru actually does that. It makes you realize your own strength.


Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 369 comments i agree it really really does. this whole conversation is really inspiring me to perhaps journal some reflections from those times as best as I can. :)


message 35: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Great idea! I haven't written anything in awhile, but I wrote a letter to Holli a few weeks ago that was a real steam blower-offer for me. It helps a lot to just let it out, let it go, somewhere safe (thanks, Holli).


message 36: by Sarah (new)

Sarah  (sarahelaine) | 11 comments I love journalling, though I don't do it as often as I would like to. I did have a livejournal, but recently have decided that I'm not too interested in sharing my life with the whole world, so I've gone back to personal, handwritten journal. I've kept journals since I was eight years old! I find it therapeutic.


message 37: by Holli (new)

Holli I love this conversation between Jamie and Laura. It makes me smile to see people connecting and helping each other. (you are welcome laura!)

People come into your life when you need them the most and I think you are finding that out Jamie. Its a great thing to be aware of and I love that you are realizing that at such a young age. I too wish i would have had my thoughts down on paper as I went through the tragedies in my life that have occured but I didn't want to write about them then. I just wanted to pretend they weren't happening. Not always the best thing to do but its what got me thru at the time.


message 38: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Right. Somebody once said "what's buried alive never dies". Something that I'm really starting to realize is that as painful as some events may be to recall, if you don't feel the feeling and then let it go, it will somehow cling to you forever.


message 39: by Holli (new)

Holli I agree with that Laura....it wasn't until I started opening up and telling people my story that I started feeling more at peace with it all.


message 40: by Jo (new)

Jo (BloominChick) | 3006 comments Holli, I've been journaling again since 2004. I've had MANY journal and writing 'incidents' growing up (Mom) and with a couple of ex boyfriends that got me away from it for a very long time. It's very hard to trust in writing again once you've been violated like that. (It sucks so bad when someone does that to you! I came home one day from college and found that my ex had gone through my entire trunk of writing, journals and all! What a kick in the gut!)

I don't have a specific time or day when I journal, I just do when the mood strikes. Sometimes it's often and sometimes not (especially when I'm blogging alot!) Because I've always gotten bored with journals very easily, I came up with a system of sorts in 2004: I have 1 journal for each of the seasons and only write in that seasons journal for those 3 months! It's worked Great for me! I finally finished an entire journal, the 1st Winter journal this winter and started a new one!

I only have 2 journals prior to 2004, from my '1st life' as I call it, one being the journal I've written to daughter in since the day she passed. All of my others, going all the way back to grade school are gone. My ex-boyfriend, the 1 before I met Hubby, stole/threw out 98% of what I had in my lifetime in my apartment and storage unit up until May of 2004 after I kicked him out. The only journal I miss is the one I wrote in all day on September 11th, 2001 while I watched tv. I know what I wrote about in all those other journals (being so unhappy and in abusive relationships), so I am ok with not having them. It wasn't his place to get rid of them and that's the only part that irkes me. I wanted to do that as a symbolic letting go of my past & pain.

ANYWAY! I thank God I still have my journal that I write to Brianna in. (Which I do when the mood strikes, it's not something I do on a regular basis).

Journaling is as good for you as getting outside on a beautiful day!

Holli, you don't have to write about anything you're not ready to! Why not start out by just listing 5 things you're grateful for each day or the 1 best moment of your day each day? Perhaps that will get you to writing more and then, when you're ready, your pen will flow!


message 41: by Jo (new)

Jo (BloominChick) | 3006 comments PS~ I'm no longer afraid of someone reading what I write. I don't mind of Hubby reads my writing (journaling or otherwise) if I leave it lying around the house (which I sometimes do until I'm finished) and he tells me that he's going to read it. If it's not out in the open, and he's curious, he asks. Honestly though, if my Mom is coming over, all writing goes into the bedroom!


message 42: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Jo - I love the idea of a seasons journal. Love that! The seasons are all so different, with different things to appreciate for each one, so I think that's a great way to do it.


message 43: by Jo (new)

Jo (BloominChick) | 3006 comments Thanks Laura! I never looked at it like that before but totally see your point! I'm very much in keeping with the seasons but I actually started doing it as a way to not get bored with a journal after a few months and never touch it again!!! Thank you for mentioning this ~ I now have a new appreciation for how I journal!!! (This is one of those head slapping "DUH!" moments for me!)


message 44: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments LOL That's cool! Head slappers are great!

I need to spend more time journalling just for the therapeutic value if nothing else and so this conversation has been very inspiring.

I think it's great that you've stuck w/it. I've picked up different journals over the years, and I hardly ever stay with it.


message 45: by Jo (new)

Jo (BloominChick) | 3006 comments It's very easy to let it go by the way side (uh, whatever that means, lol!) but I always end up coming back to it ~ I definately notice a difference in myself when I haven't done it for some time.


message 46: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments Do you have any books that give you topics for inspiration or do you completely wing it on your own?

I tried this book (for awhile, anyway) and it was helpful for me:

Keeping a Journal You Love


message 47: by Jo (new)

Jo (BloominChick) | 3006 comments When it comes to journaling, I mostly just wing it! I think I've read some books about journaling though, so I'll take a look and post them here if I find them!

Sometimes I just write what the weather's like or what's going on in the garden or with the kitties or about a book I've read or something I've watched that's really touched me or about what I'm knitting or how I've decorated for a holiday/season or how I'm feeling physically...

I don't tend to do strict "I did this" or "I went here" though I do take my journal along when we go on a trip and try to write as much about where we are, what we're doing & how I'm feeling through it all so I can experience it again when I read it!


message 48: by Laura (new)

Laura (apenandzen) | 1445 comments That's cool! I need to be more of a wing-er, I'm kind of a planner but I would like to be different. I really like the idea of a reading journal, and keeping a record of really cool quotes from books you've read as a way of re-experiencing the book at a later time.

I tried it with this book by Steinbeck (non-fiction)Travels with Charley: In Search of America, and there were so many quotes, it took a long time to do! But glad I did it. Great book about traveling by the way, and nobody does it better than Steinbeck.


message 49: by Beth F. (new)

Beth F. (quietknitter) | 11 comments Wow, what an amazing thread. It’s been inspiring to read and now I want to go out and buy a journal! I seem to fall into the same category as everybody else who says they journaled religiously as a teen and eventually let it slip to the wayside.

I’m especially intrigued by those who have made a comment about writing a journal to your children. What a beautiful idea! My husband’s mother was killed in a car accident when he was 17 so the baby book she made him is one of his most treasured possessions. His favorite parts are handwritten notes where she mentions cute stories, his first words, what happened at family functions, what happened when he pulled the cat’s tail, etc. etc. He and I were just married a couple months ago and for the entire week leading up to the wedding, the baby book was out and about the house…on the couch, on the dining room table, on the coffee table. I have a feeling that when we have a child, the baby book from “grandma” will make some more appearances!

My mom is still around but I still have encouraging notes she wrote me when I was younger and I like knowing that they’re in my night stand if I ever need them. I will absolutely keep this in mind for when I have children of my own someday.



message 50: by Emily (new)

Emily (ejfalke) | 576 comments Holli, Jo mentioned that she has been writing to a daughter that has passed on...this might be too tough for you, but have you thought about writing to your daughter? Telling her about you...maybe ways that she has changed your life...I was thinking that might be a round about way to getting through the painful emotions.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Artist's Way Morning Pages Journal (other topics)
Life on the Refrigerator Door (other topics)
Keeping a Journal You Love (other topics)
Travels with Charley: In Search of America (other topics)
The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (other topics)
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