Keeping a Journal: 10 Techniques

Keeping a Journal
Keeping a Journal. Photo by Rachel Bruner
Keeping a journal is important but there is more than one way to keep a journal. These ten techniques can help supplement your personal history, many of which you're probably already doing!

1. Notebook and Bound Books
The most common way of recording journal entries is by hand in a notebook. You can buy a nice notebook or just use a simple one such as a spiral bound or three ringed binder. I've used all types and prefer ones where I can fold the left flap around to the back, making the folder smaller and easier to write on.
Bound books are really great too because they sturdier and usually last longer.

2. Computers/Blogs
Typing your journal entries can be a quick and easy way to record your life history. Any word processing program works great, even the basic "notepad" in Windows would make a great journal. Be aware that you will have to back up your work often and eventually print it to keep it safe. Printed entries can be easily put into three ring binders, or if you like to write lots of entries you could place them in a labeled box.

Using a blog to journal your life is a relatively new and popular way to journal. Using a free blogging site is an easy way to get started and you can even add digital pictures, videos, and link to other resources.

3. Letters and Emails
Do you write a lot of emails or letters? If so then make sure you keep a copy for your journals! Print your emails or copy letters before you send them and place them into a folder or binder.
Sometimes I write long, detailed letters/emails that I paste a copy of right into my journal which saves me from having to rewrite everything. If you're sending lots of letters home (as missionaries do) make sure your family keeps them so you can add them to your journal.

4. Scrapbooking
Do you love taking lots of photographs?
Scrapbooking is a wonderful (and popular) way to record your life. Working with your pictures is fun and creative, but if you don't journal you'll miss out on all the important details. While scrapbooking just ask yourself these questions, "If someone saw this page 50 years from now would they know who these people/places are? Would they know how I felt?" If the answer is no then you need to add journaling to your scrapbook page.

5. Media Sources
Journal recording can be lots of fun when you use other media sources such as tape recorders, video tapes, and digital video clips on the computer. The biggest concern is to make sure you protect your data. If you do lots of this type of journaling make sure you keep everything labeled and organized. Keeping an index of descriptions for each recording would help keep the journaling alive.

6. Spiritual or Gratitude Journal
Keeping a Gratitude Journal is a great way to show thanksgiving to God. What you do is record the spiritual events in your life (or that of your family and friends) along with your personal thoughts and ponderings. Write down your experiences, answers to prayers, your testimony, conversion, and other spiritual experiences from church/temple attendance and scripture study. When you journal daily of your blessings and what you're thankful for you'll be amazed at your spiritual growth.

7. Study Journal
Elder Richard G. Scott said, "Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. This practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light." (" Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge," Ensign, Nov. 1993, 86.)

8. Meeting Journal
I like to carry around a small notebook for keeping notes during church meetings. This helps me focus on the talks and lessons at church, and gives me a place to record my thoughts and reflections as they happen.

9. Calendars
Calendars can be great additions to your journal. You can use the kind that come with planners, ones that hang on the wall, or even the kind that fit in a purse or backpack. Calendar entries have to be short to fit in the space, but work great for keeping track of important events in life. Just make sure you keep your calendars when the year's over and place them with your journals.

10. Additional Embellishments
Journal writing can be fun when you decorate your journal/pages, attach important documents, and even make your own maps when describing a detailed location. If you like statistics make your own charts and graphs to keep in your journal.

Note: Don't miss these great clipart Journal Pages and polls: Do You Regularly Keep a Journal? How Often?