What if nobody wrote anything down. Would the world be what it is today? Would we know details of the past? Of new found worlds, ideas, inventions?
I like to write. I enjoy putting my ideas, thoughts, and events of the day on paper. I like scribbling notes, making checkboxes, arrows, quotes. It’s a simple pleasure, it’s partly why I created this blog.
-Writing for the future-
The Mrs. and I visited my grandfather at his home in Peru in 2013. We sat down at his dinner table one evening and just began talking…more than we’ve ever had. I began by asking what his life was like when he was about my age. We spoke into the night about his childhood friends, life in Peru, in New Jersey, travels, relationships, etc. I noticed he couldn’t remember much, but I’d take what I can get.
This conversation prompted me to begin writing. I wrote about any and everything, especially thoughts, fears, technology, feelings…anything that might give my kids a glimpse of what went through my best and worst times. My memory is terrible as it is right now, so I can’t imagine trying to remember everything in 30-40 years.
Initially, I was solely looking for a place to put some of my written ideas on the internet, a place where I simply share events about my days with my kids, where they could read it at their leisure when they get older. A way they could find out what was going through their old man’s head.
“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” – Natalie Goldberg
Since joining the military, one of the best lessons I’ve learned is to always carry a logbook. Nothing special, just a plain little green notebook where I write down my assignments, missions, goals for the day, notes, quotes, to-do’s…it’s my catch-all. It takes me about 6 months to go through one of these little notebooks, and I archive each one on my work shelf. Currently, they date back to 2006.
Thinking about writing?
Here are some of my steps to effective journaling:
1. Carry a notepad and pen anywhere you go. I personally carry both Field Notes or Rite in the Rain Notepads, each of which fits easily in a back pocket. My perfect pen at the moment is the SkilCraft B3 Aviator, which is a red pen, black pen, and pencil with eraser all in one.
2. Don’t erase or scribble things out. Be real with what you write, if you misspell a word or make a mistake, leave it as is, or if you must, just line it out. Look back on your mistakes and smile about it, your error was human…no need to be perfect.
3. Put a date on your pages. I often date each page as follows: 5 March 2017 (Sunday), it’s so much easier to find a date that way.
4. Use arrows and checkboxes. Get creative with your important items. I often draw red arrows for important items, checkboxes to to-do lists.
5. Draw, doodle, illustrate. If there’s something great I see, like a house, car, person, item, etc. I won’t always take a photo of it, rather, I’ll draw a picture of it.
6. If Found, Please return to. Hopefully you don’t lose it, but hey, things happen. Write this on your inside cover along with a phone number or email address. Add a reward to get it returned quickly.
7. Write about anything that’s on your mind. It’s your journal, it’s your documentation of your life events, make sure you write from the heart. If it’s a big event in your life, put your feelings, thoughts or fears on paper.
I hope this post gives you the motivation grab an EDC (Every Day Carry) pen + notepad and start journal. There are simply too many benefits to it, from becoming a better writer, remembering important events, to leaving your legacy on paper, or just simply getting things off your mind. Don’t let moments escape you, record them and remember them for years to come!
If you liked this post, please share it with a friend. Reach out to me on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, or just send me an email to say hey. I’d love to hear what everyone else is journaling about lately.