The Habit of the Great

My mama used to say: “Journaling is the habit of the great.” and she is right, any person can write, because writing is thinking on paper, but only a few people can make words come alive, those we call: writers.

I kept a diary before I learned to write well, my mom always has kept a diary and still does and I wanted to be just like her; but unlike my mom, I wasn’t consistent. I kept on changing methods, learning new words and languages, and got hugely influenced by books and characters who kept a journal like Jo March, Anne Shirley, Judy Abbott or Bella Swan.

I discovered that a journal comes in many forms, and writing can be put down on paper in many ways. So, no, there isn’t a wrong way to write. Here’s my list:

  • You can keep a journal to write about your mundane day-to-day life.
  • You can write a journal for special occasions or moments of great impact.
  • You can make your journal your confidant and write your feelings, inner thoughts and great ideas.
  • If you have an artistic gene, you can make a journal scrapbook or fill it with photos, newspaper clippings or even sketches.
  • If food means the world to you, your journal can be an entry with a recipe, or food memories.
  • A journal can be kept for an interesting time of your life, like traveling, grieving, moving to a new country, starting your new business, getting pregnant, telling your life story (it might even become a memoir!).
  • It can be like writing a book, you tell a story to yourself, every day a chapter.
  • It can be a spiritual and meditative journal about discovering the world and God.
  • You can keep lists, make charts, pros and cons, make the best decision about some kind of choice.
  • It can be about keeping secrets of others, when you need to unburden. (Don’t tell anyone you are doing that!)
  • If you are a witch it will be called a “Book of Shadows” where your spells and potions are written down.
  • It can be about experiments, science and new discoveries like Leonardo da Vinci.
  • It can be a gift to your daughter or friend about a time that belonged to them but affected you like pregnancy or a wedding.
  • Your journals can be a printed copy with a paper for each day, or a small paragraph like a Twitter post, as for me, the longer and blanker the better, I like mine without any limits.

You see where I’m going with this? Journaling is about your life. You can write about anything that interests you. I’ve been almost through all of them, I scraped, wrote, adding clippings of newspapers and magazines, writing poetry, I felt, I cried, I kept flowers, cinema tickets, hospital name bands, receipt, recipes, magazines, polaroid photographs, lyrics, ideas, feelings, plans, wishes, hopes, dreams, nightmares, and so on.

Each time, the journal evolved, I evolved, my need to it differs everytime. I don’t want them published, or read by anyone else, truly. I even considered buring most of them at some point, it’s not about them being scandalous or anything, they are just personal, full or rambling and secrets reprieve from life. My words belong to me, no matter how silly or flawed, ask Bridget Jones.



5 thoughts on “The Habit of the Great

  1. That is so true Dana. A journal can come in many different forms, like you listed here. In fact, I think I’ve done most of what you listed here in your post. I think my earliest journaling was in the form of drawing as I had not yet developed good writing skills at the time when I was very little.
    When I was a little older, I began writing about my everyday banal happenings; things I did during the day. It was in a simple spiral notebook and it was basically a list of the things that I did during my day. Not too exciting.
    But in my mid teen years and into early adulthood, I began writing better and better, like telling a story about my life you could say. I would even begin each journal entry with “dear journal”, as if I were writing to an old friend, which, back then, I was. My journal was essentially my only “friend”.

    My journals have evolved over the years and have taken many forms. I’ve done scrapbooks, art journals, stories, letters, writings of how I felt about something or someone and so on. I’ve even done journals in which I would write letters to God because sometimes I cannot always find the words to pray to Him, but I can write them and would even address the letters in the journal to Him, knowing that He will see them.

    And today I still keep journals, two of them actually. I keep a happiness one sentence journal, which I started almost three years ago. I write in it everyday and I try to reflect on a positive event that occurred.

    And as strange as it may sound, I also currently keep a numbers journal. It’s simply a notebook that I carry with me and write down numbers whenever I please. It helps relax me when I am stressed. That is what a journal is for; to help relieve one’s stress.
    No one knows what the numbers are for except me and that’s how I want it. What I used to say when I was younger, “my journals are mine and always mine”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like your latest journals! Great idea! I like the idea of the numbers one, it’s original! I keep a few now as well, one is the normal one to write down about my days, one is to write down “my wish list”, and one to write poetry and draw sketches.


      • Thanks Dana! You know how much I like numbers. It’s ironic because math was not my best subject when I was in school. But as with many things that I’ve learned, I taught myself math and now I love it. ๐Ÿ™‚

        I’ve been doing the numbers journal for about 5 years now I think. And like the rest of them, it too has evolved. I use my notebook for many other things as well, such as keeping track of the books I’ve read (and for writing down titles of books that I discover), keeping track of how much money I spend, birthdays of friends (I can’t remember them all!) and other important dates and a few other things. It’s my constant companion!

        Your notebooks sound pretty amazing also! I like the sound of poetry and sketches. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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