We are used to a hectic lifestyle that often does not live much space to slow thinking. Deep thoughts need their time to be explored. Inspirations of the moment must be developed to bring out reality out of our creative impulses. Daydreaming can become real if we can transform our ideas into actions.
Last year I (re)discovered journaling. A not-so-fancy form you can imagine of it, is to write a supersecret personal diary. If you think of it, diaries represented an incredible way to record memories of one’s life and discoveries. Navigators recorded the whereabouts of their journey; others, like Anne Frank, left it as memento of the horrors they lived.
Verba volant, scripta manent.Ancient Latin proverb
Journaling is a practice that fell into oblivion with the digitization. Simply put, we spend less and less time on paper, and much more on screens. Long letters are now becoming emails. Love messages are chatted. Information is transmitted in a more essential way – not to say hermetical.
Does not matter if we are a pragmatical, analytical or emotional type. When communicating with ourselves, we need to slow down to have a good grasp of the Self.
The first time I had a journal was a forcefully experience in mid school (on pain of bad marks if I didn’t compile enough pages). From that point, each time I tried to keep a diary, I scrapped the idea after couple of days. In essence, I did not feel like reporting facts as they were happening; I found dull and boring to write my daily routine.
Of course, I was missing the point of the exercise, but that wasn’t explained to us. Thinking back, my teacher should have coached me, as well as others, who were resistant to it. Not having a purpose is the worst enemy of thought flow and deep work.
I created a short survey about journaling experience. You can open and complete it in one minute, through this link.
Fiction & Reality share a common point
You probably know that diary was also a fashionable form of fictions. Some examples from my favorite readings are fragments from Dracula of Bram Stoker and the Diary of Gian Burrasca. Even Sir A. Conan Doyle used the same expedient in some of Sherlock Holmes novels, in the form of Watson’s diary.
The point is that even from fictional literature, you could see how the form of diary is not to just report facts, but to dive into them with mind power. Even fictional journals had a purpose.
I found several uses for journals that can make our life more exciting and profound. Indeed, I ended up having different journals, for different goals. And with a very affordable amount of time!
Have clarity before starting
Personally, I follow the 3 principles known as the Manzoni’s Triad. The Italian author became famous to have given a spin to literature thanks to three simple principles, that here I adapt to the needs:
- True as Object: that is, to use a real context. We are both the subject and the object, because we express our point of view, our thoughts or ideas;
- Interesting as Medium: the content we keep should be something we would like to expand, either we are curious, challenged or feeling creative on the matter. This way, we ensure a consistent need of discovery;
- Useful as Purpose: the journal is also a tool for personal growth. When written, promotes reflection; when read, causes retrospection.
In a nutshell: if you feel to record some areas of your life, if writing is a compelling way to you, and if you have a clear goal in mind, then this may be the right choice for you.
Here, some examples – the journals I am currently keeping:
- A memory journal, that is a device where I keep track of my mnemonic devices such as memory palaces. It is so far the most creative among the others. Courtesy of Dr. Anthony Metivier’s Method. Its purpose is to boost my memory and creativity, so that my learning process becomes more efficient.
- A branding journal, where I document what I have in production: my blogs, my book, social media content etc. The aim of it is self-coaching, brainstorming and planning. Sketching those ideas in a journal is very useful if you have no idea where to start.
- A coaching journal, where I do record my memories of the coaching sessions with my clients. This allows me to focus more on the present while coaching, and do deeper analysis afterwards. It started as challenge to my memory and became essential for reflection post-coaching.
- My personal journal, where I note my progresses towards my goals and other thoughts. (It is also the most recent one).
A learning point
As you can see, each one serves its purpose: some are more like an evolving agenda than a diary and do not necessarily follow a chronological order. However, to me each one tells a story in continuous development.
My experiences are richer this way, because nothing falls into forgetfulness. Even the sole exercise of writing reinforces the idea I have, making them more solid.
What is more important, however, is that I can go back reading myself and see if what I thought at a certain time still applies or if I went another direction. This is an exercise of self-discovery, where we can be critical about ourselves. After all, what is written, stays.
Tell Me about Your Experience!
I will be issuing few more articles about benefits and ways to keep a journal. Meanwhile, I would appreciate if you can complete this anonymous survey. Here you can share your experience (or lack of) about recording for yourself.
That will help me to know better my readers. Click here to start the survey.