The Art of Journaling

Without pictures, our words will still be valued by our descendants a hundred years from now, but without words the pictures will be meaningless. – Unknown

I love these Moleskine journals that Santa left in my stocking this year. And they’re blue! My favorite color.

I was only in grade school when I first started journaling. I remember writing down stories and poems, imagining they would be read by future generations the same way I soaked up stories by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I’ve always been a journaler, but I’m also one to lose my journals. What can I say? I am constantly misplacing them. There are Moleskines scattered all over the house in drawers and under stacks of books. That’s why I need so many.

My first Moleskine journal came from my first editor, Jeanette Thomason, who gave it to me as a gift when I received my first book contract from Waterbrook Press (a division of Random House). For awhile I was afraid to use it, afraid I would say something stupid and mess up its crisp pages, but then I got over it. I tossed out  the spiral notebook idea and embraced my Moleskine.

These days, I make better use of my Moleskines. They’re for scribbling ideas, writing down prayers, even the occasional grocery list. I’m using them more and more to plan out blog posts, article ideas, craft projects, and of course, for planning my novels. In one of my lost Moleskines, I have an illustration of a nineteenth century house with an apple tree out front. Yep. It’s part of a novel I wrote that has yet to be published, but here’s hoping and dreaming. (Dreaming is another thing that journals are good for.)

Let’s face it. Just having a journal makes a person feel like a writer. Carrying it around to write your creative ideas in looks quite writerly. Whip it out in a coffee shop, or even the grocery store, and you instantly draw attention. After all, who would carry one, unless they were a writer?

Be prepared if you’re going to pull out your journal in public. Most people aren’t used to seeing something as old-fashioned as a notebook when iPhones and Blackberry devices are everywhere. Don’t be surprised if you receive shocked stares or if a tween asks you what that thing is.

Or you could just leave it at home. It doesn’t matter as long as you use it. I usually have one near my bedside or, well, somewhere around the house where I can scribble spontaneous ideas and plans.

If you have never journaled, but would like to begin, just know that there really is not an art to it. Just put your pen to paper and make it a story about you.


5 thoughts on “The Art of Journaling

  1. I love my Molekines!!! I buy them for friends and keep them everywhere – office, bedroom, purse, car.
    I have drawings of a desk I would like to have built, column ideas, song lyrics, beginnings of novels, sermon notes, day-to-day journals, addresses and phone numbers – just about anything you can do with pen/pencil and paper is in a Moleskine in my possession.
    I would say they are the best thing sliced bread, but I think they are BETTER!! 😉


  2. Nice blog, got me thinking again that I might need to slow down a bit and relax. That is what happens to me when I write my ordinary stories down, and come to think of it, most good to
    E’s over the holidays were spent retelling funny stuff that happens, why not write all those things down?


  3. Use a Moleskine as a daily list of tasks you’ve finished. As you finish something, add it to the book, along with how much time you spent and when you finished. This can be useful in a weekly review, if you’ve got so many tasks that you don’t always remember where you are in any given project, but it’s more useful as a kind of journal of accomplishments.


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