In today's world, everyone is tapped into social life through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other outlets where they can share their thoughts, pictures, and life updates. But, while we are so connected to the internet, we don't spend as much time updating ourselves, checking in with ourselves, or keeping notes about something we want to remember. We pass by people everyday without having full conversations, and we seem constantly focused on where to go next, how to solve the next problem. As we get older, we focus on our to-do list of homework (though usually very helpful) and don't spend as much time imagining, reflecting, or just being present in the moment.
Keeping a journal can be a useful tool for changing this pattern.
This isn't just for writers; keeping a journal is a tool for living, a practice in truth-telling, and a chance to be creative. Writing can be about self-discovery, about connecting with other people. Keeping a journal can be a practice of imagination, but it can also be a practice in listening and in asking questions. A journal can be a place to write down a quote you saw or heard someone say or a place to write down a question you have. It can be a place to make up stories for your own fun, and a place to draw.
For anyone who wants to be a writer, keeping a journal is about accumulating currency. The stories people are willing to tell and write about not only give a writer practice in the actual formation of writing a story, but it gives them a chance to pick out certain character traits, habits, or events to use in their own story-writing. For anyone who wants to be a writer, you either use it or lose it, and keeping a journal encourages you to write with yourself as an audience.
For anyone who wants to ignite social change, stories are the key to changing history. Listening to stories and telling stories is the way to change the atmosphere of our culture. Keeping a journal can mean keeping a record of these stories. Storytelling is powerful because it can allow for dialogue that initiates change.
Keeping a journal can also be a very personal experience. Keeping a record of goals and writing about hopes and dreams can motivate a person to keep going. Reflecting on decisions and meditating on what you want out of life can help you figure things out. Writing through problems can solve them, and imagination can create an opportunity to look at something from a new point of view. A journal can be very personal--and does not have to be shared. It allows you to be alone, present, and thoughtful with your self.
So consider keeping a journal. It might help you figure something out you didn't know before.