Keep a Journal

For this week I’m going to veer off my usual topics and make a more general appeal to everyone, whether you consider yourself a writer or not. If there is one thing I can advise, it is this: keep a journal.

As I mentioned in my article “The Pilgrimage to the Boards,” I’ve been keeping a journal for several years now and I regret that I didn’t start it sooner. Much sooner.

I started my journal when I realized just how much of my own life I was forgetting. I’m very good at recalling things that I read, both historical and fictional, but I have an atrocious memory for events in my own life, even the details of important moments. Keeping a journal has helped with recall and, where my memory fails, at least I have a record I can look back on.

I wish I had started the journal in high school or even earlier. As I grow older, so many of those days are a blur, as are college and my early adult years. Likewise, my early years of writing are also gray and I wish I could better see all the paths I followed.

When I say keep a journal, I don’t mean that you have to bare all of the deepest parts of your soul, though that is of course something you can choose to do. But when you are older, you may wish to remember what you were thinking about, what inspired and annoyed you, and simply what you did. I include thoughts on books, movies, TV shows, or simple random musings.

Since a journal is just for you, you don’t have to worry about your grammar. You don’t have to write in it every day, though that is what I try to do. If that sounds too arduous, think about doing it once a week, once a month, or even once a year.

Much like a monetary investment, it may seem to make small dividends now. But as you get older, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be glad of the time you put into it.