Monday, October 30, 2006

Journal Prompt #13

Since tomorrow is Halloween, write about what you are going to be this year. Why did you select the costume that you did? If you're not dressing up, why aren't you?


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Journaling Jar

I love the whole idea of the journaling jar. It's a simple jar filled with journal prompts on slips of paper. This would be great for those days when you just can't think of anything to write about in your journal. You could even use it every day if you liked. This would also make a great gift for someone you know who is interested in journaling or who has been thinking about starting to journal.

A journal jar is easy to make. All it requires is a jar, journal prompts typed up on paper, and something to decorate your jar with. For more detailed instructions on making a journal jar, pictures and a list of prompts, click here.


Journal Topics Updated

I've updated my post from October 16th on Journal Topics to include even more topics.

Birthday Journals

We've hit a time of the year where my family has a lot of birthdays. So I thought this would be a good time to write about birthday journals.

You can keep a birthday journal for yourself or for someone else, such as a child, close friend or family member. On the birthday of the person you are keeping the journal for you will write your entry. You can recap the previous year and the changes it has brought, write your hopes and dreams for the future or just reflect on your relationship with that person or your life in general. Write whatever feels right to you. If you're writing this journal for someone else it helps to write the entry as if you are talking to them.

This would be a wonderful journal to keep for a child and give them when they get older. It could easily become one of their treasured keepsakes.

One alternative to this is the birthday letter. Instead of writing in a journal, each year your would write a letter. You can either seal it in an envelope with the birthday person's name and date on it, or you can mail it to them. If you mail it, even the envelope could serve as a keepsake because it would show where they were living at the time and what the stamps and postage rates were. If you do mail the letter, make sure that you keep a copy of the letter in case the post office loses or damages the original.

If you are keeping the birthday letters or journal for a child or anyone else, you may want to plan on giving them as a special birthday day gift in the future. Just don't forget to continue this custom even after that. It will be something for them to look forward to on their birthday every year.

Yet another twist to this idea is to have your friends and family members write you a letter for your birthday. They can write about their feelings for you, tell a funny story about you, write about how you met, or whatever feels right to them. Collect all of the letters in a notebook for a special birthday keepsake. This would be great for a milestone birthday and you could even coordinate it for someone else's birthday.

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Journal Prompt #12

Write about an experience you've had in a hot tub. If you haven't had one yet, write about one you would like to have.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Journal Prompt #11

What are your favorite things about the autumn season?


Thursday, October 26, 2006


Rolling Stone recently did a cover story on Jack Nicholson. In it he was quoted as saying, "I thing monogamy's impossible for me, but I haven't given up hope."

Take some time to write about your views on monogamy. How do you feel about someone who is always running around with different partners? How do you feel about someone who is able to be monogamous in a long term relationship? The views on this issue seem to be changing and monogamy seems to be becoming rarer. What does this say about the future of our society?

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Journal Prompt #10

Write about your housekeeping skills.

Is your house so neat that dust wouldn't dare settle in it? Or is it so messy that you no longer have any idea what color your carpet is? Who did you get your housekeeping skills (or lack of) from?

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Journaling Your Mood

I will admit that I can be a moody person. There are times when I will get angry and I’m not even sure why. When that happens it helps for me to write in my journal and clear out my head. It gives me a chance to figure out why I am upset and what is bothering me. Once you figure out the problem it’s much easier to come up with a solution.

Journaling isn’t just for bad moods either. When you are in a great mood you’ll also want to take some time to write about why you are so happy. It helps to continue that good mood. Plus, when you look back on your old entries it is nice to be reminded of the good times too.

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Journal Prompt #9

For those of you that are dressing up for Halloween this year, what does your costume say about you?

Here is an article about what your costume says about you that I found on MSN.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Journaling Family Stories

Every family has stories. How many times have we listened to stories our parents or grandparents told us. I personally find it fascinating to listen to these stories of what life was like way before I was born. Sadly, most of these stories get lost to time because no one takes the time to write them down. Why not spend some time with the older members of your family and get those stories written down. You could get them to write out the stories or even have them record the stories so that you can write them down later. Future generations will be grateful for your efforts.

Click here for an article that gives you some tips on writing family stories.

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Burning Libraries

"When a person dies, a library is burned." --Edmund White

Don't let your library burn. Start recording your life and history today. Think of all the information and stories we have lost when we're lost our ancestors. I love the idea that a future generation of my family will be able to read my journals and learn about my life. It would be so interesting to read the journals of some of my ancestors. Unfortunately, I don't know of any that left journals.

Tips For Selecting A Journal

Selecting the right journal for you is very important. I have found that if the journal you're using does not work for you, you are much less likely to write in it. So here are some tips for selecting a journal that works:

1. Pay careful attention to the size of your journal. You should be able to comfortably carry your journal with you. If you carry a bag regularly you will want it to fit in the bag. Otherwise you will want it to fit in your pocket.

2. Consider your options with paper. You can get blank paper, lined paper and quad ruled paper. There are even other options, but these are the most common. If you plan on doing a lot of drawing you will probably want blank paper. For those of us who prefer lined paper, pay attention to the line spacing. I like lines that are closer to college ruled. Wide ruled pages just do not work for me. I also love quad ruled pages for some of my notebooks.

3. Paper quality is another item you want to consider. If the pages are too thin, your ink will most likely bleed through the page. Since I write on both sides of the page I prefer a slightly thicker page. If you only write on the fronts, bleed through may not bother you. Also, if you want your journals to stand the test of time and be passed along long after you are gone, you will want to get a journal with archival or acid free pages.

4. I have found that it's much easier to write if your journal lays flat when it's open. There are some standard bindings that will allow for that and you also have spiral bound. Open them up in the store and see how they lay. If it doesn't look like you will be able to comfortably write in it, pass it by.

5. Don't feel like you are limited to a traditional journal from a book store. You could also use a sketch book, a notebook or a binder. It's simply a matter of what works with your life. Look around until you find the journal that calls to you. There are plenty of options available at bookstores, gift shops, craft stores, and plenty of other stores.

6. Durability is also important. If the journal is of a lower quality, it may not hold up to it's travels. Try to find something that looks like it will be able to stand the test of time.

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Journal Prompt #8

Write about a journey you've taken.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dine With Your Dog Day

Saturday was Dine With Your Dog Day. As part of this event, there were some people eating dog food with their dogs. To me, this was just too much. My dogs can have a burger or something if they're dining with me, I'm not eating Mighty Dog.

How do you feel about eating pet food? What crazy things have you done out of love for your pet?

Random Acts of Kindness

On my way in to work I drive past a crossing guard who always smiles and waves at the cars as they go by. It doesn't matter what the weather is, you can count on her being there smiling and waving. I believe that it helps to cheer people up when they see her. If you watch that intersection for even a short time, you can see people in cars going by smiling and waving back at her. I'm always amazed that even on cold rainy mornings she will be out there smiling and waving. It seems like nothing gets her down. I'm sure that she has problems just like the rest of us and yet nothing seems to get her down.

When was the last time you did something to cheer up a stranger with no benefit to yourself? What can you do to be a happier person? Take some time to write in journal about happiness and what it really means to you.

Journal Prompt #7

For those of you that are or have been engaged to be married, write about your marriage proposal.

For those of you who have not yet gotten engaged, write about your dream proposal.

What does this proposal say about you and your relationship?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Journaling Family

The November issue of Redbook Magazine has an article about the changing American family. I could not find the article online so you will have to find a copy of the magazine to read it. They talk about how the American family has changed so that now the once normal family unit of a mother, father and children is in the minority. They profile several different types of families including the traditional family, couples without children, blended families, separated families, single parents, and more. My husband and I both come from traditional families so it was interesting for me to read about the various other types of families out there.

Take some time to write about what "family" means to you. What type of family do you have? Are you happy with the type of family you are in? What type of family were you raised in? What do you see happening to the family unit in the next twenty years? Fifty? One Hundred?

Always Carry a Notebook

You should always carry a notebook with you. If possible, you should carry your journal. Since that isn't always possible, it helps to have a small notebook that will fit into your pocket or a purse. And don't forget the pen. You never know when inspiration will strike or when you'll have time to reflect, write lists or plan ahead for the next few days. It's also helpful for jotting down things you need to remember, even if they won't be going into your journal later. My notebook has a collection of blog ideas, shopping lists, to do lists, directions and other assorted notes. Try carrying one for awhile and you will see just how helpful it can be.

Regular Writing Times

Having a regular writing time established helps to keep you journaling regularly. I get up an hour before my husband so that I can relax and write while the house is peaceful and still. Other people may prefer to write before bed or during their lunch hour. The key is to find the time that works for you and stick to it.

Once you have a time established, your family or roommates should know not to interrupt you during this time. There will still be occasional days where something will happen and you won't get to write at your regular time. Don't beat yourself up over it. If you can, write at another time of the day, but make sure that you get back to your schedule as soon as you can. As the schedule begins to really work for you, you will probably find yourself journaling at other times of the day too.

Don't feel like you'll be stuck with the time that you pick forever. Your life and your schedule are bound to change eventually and what worked for you before may not work anymore. If this happens, try to find a new time that will work for you. Just make sure that you keep writing. If journaling is really important to you, you will find the time for it.

Traveling Journals

One thing that I have been wanting to participate in and haven't gotten around to yet is traveling journals. There are several variations of this idea, but basically a journal travels around to several different people. They make their entry and pass it on to the next person. This could be done among friends, family or strangers.

A current project based on this idea is 1001 Journals. For this project you can start your own traveling journal or sign up to participate in an existing traveling journal. There are also several location journals. If you want to participate in one of these you have to go to the designated location. The journal stays at that location for whoever to participate in. Finally, you can submit images of your own personal journals to share. It looks like an interesting project to check out.

Journal Prompt #6

What is your signature dish?

This is the dish that your family and friends always requests you to make. If you don't have one, what is your favorite dish to make or what are some of the signature dishes of your friends and family?

Friday, October 20, 2006

How Easy Are You To Love?

The lyrics to Save Me From Myself By Christina Aguilera got stuck in my head this morning. It got me to thinking about how I'm not always the easiest person to love and gave me plenty to write about in my journal. Sometimes it really helps me to journal about my relationships. My writing helps to remind me of some of the things I tend to take for granted in my relationships. So how easy are you to love? Take some time today to write about your relationships.

Here are the lyrics to help inspire you:

It's not so easy loving me
It gets so complicated
All the things you've gotta be
Everything's changin
But you're the truth
I'm amazed by all your patience
Everything I put you through

When I'm about to fall
Somehow you're always waitin
with your open arms to catch me
You're gonna save me from myself
from myself, yes
You're gonna save me from myself

My love is tainted by your touch
Cuz some guys have shown me aces
But you've got that royal flush
I know it's crazy everyday
Well tomorrow may be shaky
But you never turn away

Don't ask me why I'm cryin
Cuz when I start to crumble
You know how to keep me smilin
You always save me from myself
from myself, myself
You're gonna save me from myself

I know it's hard, it's hard
But you've broken all my walls
You've been my strength, so strong

And don't ask me why I love you
It's obvious your tenderness
Is what I need to make me
a better woman to myself
to myself, myself
You're gonna save me from myself

Journal Prompt #5

If your life was a television show, what would your theme song be?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Keeping a Food Journal

I carry a small notebook with me that I use as a food journal. I am not always great about keeping up with it and sometimes go for days without writing in it. Yet I have found that I do much better with my eating habits when I'm using my food journal. It has helped me in the past so I am renewing my determination to keep up with it.

If you do a search, you can find several articles that tell you how to keep a food journal. I found one here that gives pretty good detail. For myself, I keep it fairly simple. I just record the time I ate, what I ate and how much. Just knowing that I have to write it down and be accountable for it helps keep me from eating too much. So I don't stress myself out about the calorie counts and so forth. So don't feel like you have to do things exactly as the article says. Figure out what works for you and helps you achieve your goals. If you make it difficult and try to track too much, then you are less likely to stick with it.

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Journaling the Election

As we’re getting closer to Election Day you may find it helpful to journal about the election. Are there any heated races in your district? What kinds of election craziness have you seen? What do you think of the scandal over electronic voting? Do you plan on voting? Why or why not?

If you’re still undecided on who to vote for you may find it helpful to journal about it. Take some time to write about the candidates and your feelings on them. By the time you’re done writing there’s a good chance you’ll have made up your mind who you’re going to vote for.

Journal Prompt #4

What are some of the crazy things you've done for love?

This need not be for a lover. It could be for the love of a friend or family member too.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Journal Prompt #3

What items do you carry with you every day? These items can either be on your person or in a bag you carry. Why do you feel the need to have these items with you and what do you think they say about you?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Journals made from poop!

I was very surprised to see that there is a site where you can buy journals made out of elephant poop. They refine the poop and make paper from it so it isn't supposed to smell, but the whole idea is a little gross to me. Yet this journal might be good for someone who is afraid of messing up a "good" notebook. After all, this notebook is already made of poop, how could your writing or drawing be any worse then that?

Click here to go to the site that is selling these journals. They also sell paper if you don't want a complete journal.

Questionnaires as Journal Entries

As you can probably tell from my previous post, I have no problem using questionnaires as journaling tools. If I come across an interesting one I will often include my answers in my journal. For an extra bit of fun, you could email the questionnaire to your friends and family and include some of their responses in your journal. It's an interesting way to learn something new about them. You can also use some of the replies to jump start some of your own writing in your journal.

Click here for a list of over 2000 questionnaires that you can use.

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Journal Prompt #2

Eight Fours

#1 List four jobs you have had in your life.
#2 List four movies you would watch over and over.
#3 List four places you have lived.
#4 List four TV shows you love to watch.
#5 List four places you have been on vacation.
#6 List four web sites you visit daily.
#7 List four of your favorite foods.
#8 List four places you would rather be right now.

These questions came from a questionnaire email I received a few months ago. I have no idea where the email originated.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Journal Topic Ideas

Here is a list of some things you could write about in your journal, or you could even dedicate a whole journal to just one of these topics. I plan on covering some of these topics in more detail in future entries.

Childhood Memories
Family Stories
Financial Topics
Home Improvements
Restaurant Meals
Unsent Letters
TV Shows

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Notes For Later

There are times when you see or think of something that you want to write about in your journal, but you just can't do it right that instant. For those times I carry a small notebook and a digital camera in my purse. My notebook is full of all kinds of notes that would not make any sense to anyone except me. The digital camera has been very handy for catching some of those crazy sights you see from time to time when you're out and about. The notes and pictures help me recall things when I do finally have time to sit down and write that I would otherwise have forgotten. I feel that everyone could benefit from carrying at least a small notebook with them.

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Scrapbooking Inspiration

I have found that there are a lot of similarities between journaling and scrapbooking. Both activities are a way to preserve memories of your life. Obviously a scrapbook is more public, but you can get some great ideas for your journals from scrapbooking web sites. Looking at other people's scrapbook layouts may also give you inspiration for your journal. If you're at the store you might even try flipping through a scrapbooking magazine. Sometimes it is even helpful to check out their product reviews. Since I want my journals to last I like to use archival quality materials like you would use in scrapbooking.

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Journal Prompt #1

In the spirit of the autumn season and the leaves changing their colors.

Write about a time when you changed your colors.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Engagement Calendars as Journals

For those who aren't into extensive journaling you may want to consider using an engagement or planner calendar as a type of journal. My calendar is full of all kinds of information. On a daily basis I record any appointments, bills due, gas prices is I purchased gas, what perfume I wear, any anything else that I consider noteworthy from the day. On the note pages in the back of the planner I have a list of all the books I've read that year and another list of all the movies my husband I have watched that year. It's not as introspective as a normal journal, but it is packed with some interesting information.

My planner, like my journal, travels with me to most locations so I take time every year to hunt for the right planner. This year I'm using a purple leather planner. For next year I've purchased the Anne Taintor Engagement Calendar. No matter what I purchase it has to have plenty of notes pages in the back and a good sized space for each day.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Recalling Old Memories

Here are some tips for recalling old memories:

1. Go through old letters, photos, programs, yearbooks, etc. Use anything you have from the time period you are trying to remember.

2. Return to the place you lived, went to school, worked or hung out at during that time. Just being there will bring a surprising number of memories back.

3. Talk to friends and family members. This will give you another perspective on the event and they may even remember some details that you've forgotten.

4. Check out events from that time frame. Do an internet search on "what happened in" for the year you are looking into. Some of those events, movies and music may just trigger your memory.

Hopefully these tips will help you recall some of your lost memories.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Journals As Works of Art

I love looking at some of the artistic journals out there. They are so beautiful that they make me want to do something similar. I've tried making artistic entries and as a general rule, I've found that they just don't work for me. I am the type person who needs to write. So my entries are line after line of text. To help spice them up a little bit I do use different color inks. There are even days when I paste in articles, stickers and other assorted items that I come across. This is what I have found works best for me. It's still fun to check out the artistic entries when I come across them because you never know when inspiration will strike and you will come across something that will work well for your own journal.

Shared Journals

When I was in high school, my best friend and I had a notebook that we wrote notes and such to each other in and passed back and forth. It was fun for us to share things this way. Now, my husband and I have what I call our anniversary journal. I used a new blank journal as a guest book at our wedding and pasted a copy of our wedding invitation in front. There were still plenty of blank pages in there, so every year on our anniversary we each write a letter to the other in the book. It a nice way to share our feelings for each other and do a recap of the last year. If there is someone special in your life, you may want to try keeping a shared journal. It may get passed back and forth a couple times a day or just once a year. Just do what works for you and have fun.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Blank Page

There are a lot of people who are intimidated by the blank page. In particular, the first clean blank page of a new journal. I always start a new journal by adding my name, the journal number and the starting date to the first page of the journal. You could also try gluing or taping in something you wrote or typed elsewhere, answer a journal prompt, doodle, use stamps or stickers. You are only limited by your imagination. Once you have that first mark on the page it gets easier to write.

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My Inspiration

Most of the journal related sites I have come across have been geared more towards artists and writers. While I consider myself a fairly creative person, I don't really feel that I fit that category. So I wanted a place where I can gather information on journaling for everyone else.

I also love journaling and want to share that love with others who may be interested. It has been a part of my life for almost ten years now and I can no longer manage not keeping a journal.

If anyone has any topics they would like to see addressed, leave me a comment and I will do my best to post a reply.

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