These five easy ideas prove there’s not just one way to keep a journal.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed when people talk about how important it is to keep a journal? Maybe you feel a little guilty when you go to sleep without jotting down a few things that happened during the day, but you just know that it will take forever to write about the day, and your pillow is already calling your name.
Maybe it’s time to take a new approach to journal writing. Rather than feeling like you need to write a ton each day or that journaling has to be a play-by-play of every event in your life, try one of these creative ideas for 2015. Give it a go and see how rewarding it can be!
1. Photo + Sentence
Take a photo each day and jot down a quick sentence explaining what the photo shows or what the memory means to you. You can take a phone photo and include a sentence by emailing yourself the pic. Or just snap a photo each day, write your sentence afterward, and then combine the photos and sentences for the week into a document each Sunday. If you have an app-compatible device, some apps are designed to help you with the photo-a-day approach—just make sure you transfer them to a stand-alone document that can be kept long after you quit using the app.
2. Same Time, Different Place
Set a watch or phone with a silent alarm to go off at a certain time each day—not during classes but preferably during a time that tends to have the most variety of activities from day to day. When the alarm goes off, write down, text, or email yourself a quick sentence about what you’re doing at that moment. It takes almost no time at all, and at the end of the year it provides a glimpse into what your everyday life is like!
3. Blessings from Heavenly Father
Every day, Heavenly Father is giving each of us many blessings! We just have to learn to look for them. Consider this approach from President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, for a daily journal entry:
“I wrote down a few lines every day for years. … Before I would write, I would ponder this question: ‘Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?’ As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done” (“O Remember, Remember,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 67).
4. Social Media Mash-Up
If you’re on social media, your posts are already capturing a part of your life. Each time you post, copy the text into a digital journal. If you’re not on social media, you can try this approach by collecting some of your text messages each day.
5. Saying It with Scriptures
Each day when you read your scriptures, jot down a verse that stood out to you and tell in a few sentences why it’s important to you or how it relates to your life right now. You’ll be like Nephi, who kept the “small plates” that contained his spiritual record instead of just the history of the events happening around him (this principle would apply to #3 too!).
Handwritten vs. Digital
Are you already on the computer or a tablet each day? Let technology work for you by keeping your journal digitally if that fits your life better than a printed journal. Just make sure to back up your journal often, in case your computer or tablet crashes, and print it out every so often. You may want to consider handwriting an entry every once in a while and adding the photo to your digital document—that way you at least get a sampling of your handwriting over time.
Share Your Experience
How has keeping a journal blessed your life? Click below to Share your experience with other youth.
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 New Era.