I found this little blurb in the August issue of Better Homes & Gardens, and since we've been talking about journals lately, I wanted to share it here:
The Joys of Journaling
"Feeling inspired to start a blog? Great, but don't throw away your handwritten journal just yet. Journaling and blogging serve two very different functions. Blogging is a performance - you're not just writing for yourself, you're writing for a digital audience and hoping that their response will validate you. That undermines the honesty achieved when you're writing for your eyes only, says James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.
Journaling is private and therapeutic. Writing about your experiences - especially the difficult ones - can help strengthen your immune system and lower your blood pressure, according to Dr. Pennebaker, who has researched this topic for decades. Researchers are not convinced that taking your diary digital will result in the same benefits.
That doesn't mean that blogging is bad. "Blogs serve an important social function by bringing people together who otherwise wouldn't be and allowing them to learn from one another," explains Dr. Pennebaker. So when you want to compare strategies on a situation others share, like dealing with a disease or raising twins, blogging can help you connect. But when you want to search your own soul, you're better off with a pen and paper." ~ Tammy Tibbets
Some interesting food for thought!
Now, I certainly don't think of my blogging as "a performance," but I can see the professor's point. The scribbles I write in my journal are usually more brainstorming than soul-searching, but they are completely raw. What I share here in my blog - though honest and open - is, obviously written in a way that I hope will make sense and appeal to people who stop by. Journaling is entirely off-the-cuff for me - like a running stream of consciousness - whereas my blog is where I corral (some of) those thoughts into something (hopefully) worthy to share. You all don't want to read my monthly budget (which, for better or worse, I keep in my journal), but you might want to read a post I write about budgeting.
Now for some truly yummy food for thought, I also wanted to link you to a post by Jennifer at the S/V Mari Hal-o-Jen: Christmas in July. In it, she shares pictures of her lovely journal and planner pages. Reading all about it made me so happy and quite inspired! It's so good to know someone else is on the same page! If you have a journal to share, please do leave a link - I think we journalers can really benefit from sharing how, and what, we journal.
Speaking of my own journal, my current one is filling up steadily, getting nice and fat with clippings, notes and other things. I thought I'd share a few pictures of the most recent pages:
As I've mentioned previously, I like to add bits and pieces from favorite magazines to my journal. Mostly these are small blurbs or images interspersed between hand-written notes, but sometimes a whole article grabs my attention; I add these too. On the left is a page I taped in on the horizontal; I fold it over to keep it neat inside the journal (you can see the page open below). On the right is a page (cut to fit) from my Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. I loved this quote and illustration - I'm convinced that's a homeschooling moment. ;)
This is a really cool project I want to remember - embroidered flowers on felt bookmarks. The type reads: "For your autumn reading list, check out Kristin Nicholas' embroidered felt bookmarks, another project from Colorful Stitchery." I LOVE the idea - and the look - of "autumn reading" bookmarks, so, into the journal this article went.
This is yesterday's page spread, which shows more of a balance between actual writing and bits and pieces from the newspaper and a magazine. (My budget notes are under the sticky.) It all seems silly but it really feeds my creativity to do this. I take comfort in both making these pages and reading them back over again. I don't know what that says about me, but I've done this since I was a little kid. It's how I process, I guess.
But part of the process needs to be doing something with the information I put in here. I can easily let weeks go by without revisiting what I wrote. This is ok when it's just red squirrel ideas and weather reports, but not so good when it's things like "Reschedule the dentist" or "Cancel haircut before Thursday." So I'm adding a new task to my overall weekly routine: Read back over journal pages from last week.
I've earmarked Fridays as the day to do this. Originally I thought it would be a good weekend activity, but really, Friday made more sense - by looking it all over ahead of the weekend, I can update my Saturday errands list or plan to spend extra time on a project I've envisioned.
Well, here it is Friday, and I'm paging back through my journal pages from last week; for fun, I thought I'd give you an idea of what kinds of things I put in there:
- notes on a post about planner q&a
- the discovery that we have 3 and not just 2 red squirrels (!)
- the arrival of my Harry Potter book at 2:59 p.m. on Saturday :)
- an HP bookmark from Barnes & Noble
- a clip from Time about JK Rowling
- a savory scone mix (for baked ratatouille)
- several articles on, and reviews of, HP
- a funny comic that had the boys and I LOL one day
- an article on a local planetarium I want to visit
- the insert from EB's paint set describing plant-based dyes
- a sticky note from my doctor's appointment last week
- an ad for Oak Meadow, a curriculum I'm chatting about with friends
- potential blog post ideas
- a magazine clipping on fall fantasy movies for kids
- a sketch of a possible window seat for the dining room
- book notes from my brother who stopped in the other day
- the above quoted BH&G article
- the web address of a lovely local restaurant
- the titles of kid magazines I renewed
- several pages of notes for my conference talk
- a nice little sketch of Uranus by EB
- a print out from Jan Brett's website about an October book signing
- a picture of a wraparound "tree" bench by Orvis
- notes on the new movie Arctic Tale
- a sticky note with list of office supply items to purchase
- clipping of weather map from newspaper showing current temps.
- bunch of random to-do's
- July budget and bills
- notes from a conversaton with EB's speech therapist
- three pages of notes on EB's kindergarten plans
Nope, not a lot of soul-searching there - more downloading I'd say. :) But this list represents a week's worth of thoughts for me, and looking back over it I get shades of "the week that was" ~ HP7 was on its way, I was working on my talk, red squirrels were at the feeders and summer was in its prime ...
One final note to this post before I wrap up. If you are a big magazine reader like me, a journal is a great way to get your money's worth. I can clip anything I like - small images or whole pages - and tape it down in here. Then I can recycle all those glossies with a clear conscience and leave my basement shelves open for other things.
Well, I'm off now as it's getting late in the day and I have plenty to do around here before we launch into the weekend. It's plenty hot here - 90s and ever so muggy ...
So says my journal, anyway. ;)
Have a great night!