I’ve mentioned here before that I always have my journal with me. I record snippets of conversations; I write down interesting things that I see; I jot a note if I have a story idea – things like that. My friends think I’m a little crazy because I whip it out at what they perceive as inopportune times, but for me, I can’t process information or ideas without writing them down.
In the past year, I’ve also used the journal as a catch-all to organize my life. As my children, currently ages 9 and nearly 12, grow, their lives get busier and more complex. Like any mom of tweens, I’ve had to work around their schedules and I have been experimenting with the best way to keep us all organized. I have a calendar-type item on my refrigerator right now that has each person in the house listed separately, and that helps a lot. But I also use my journal.
I have started keeping to-do lists in the journal. I turn to it so often, that it makes sense. The lists can be annotated with my notes or instructions or anything that I prefer – they’re my lists in my journal.
I also have a journal with a latch or I keep a rubber band around it, so I can put items I want to keep right in it. There’s always some article in it that I mean to read. I’ll get to it, and since the journal is always with me, it’s easy to pick it up while on the train, or while waiting for a child or something like that.
Since I’m a writer, people often buy me fancy journals as gifts. I love them. But a notebook works just as well. Here in Japan, they make better sized notebooks for carrying around and journaling – not the big spiral-bound notebooks I think of in the U.S. But it’s not what the journal looks like that’s important, it’s what’s inside. I keep a box of old journals in my office. I invariably need to find something I wrote or something I slid inside. My system seems to be working for me.
I’m not saying that every writer should have a journal and use it like mine. My point is that I’m doing what works for me. I would encourage all writers, though, to figure out a plan for writing and journaling that works for them. It’s a great feeling when things are working and assisting you as you move forward.
I’m off on a journey today with a friend for her birthday. I cannot wait for the adventure of it. I’ve already packed my journal.