Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Keeping a Journal

I first started keeping a diary when I was twelve. I went out to America to spend Christmas with my Uncle and his family over there and I was determined to keep a record of my experiences over there. I vividly remember going to Rajani’s, this massive cash and carry type place that sold pretty much everything you could imagine and picking out the notebook I wanted to use. It’s a hardback with a bright geometric pattern on the front and lined pages inside.

At the very beginning of it I copied out the questions from the beginning of Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker story and then I stuck in photographs of my family and dutifully kept a log of events running up to my going away and then life when I came back. I wrote it in pencil, which means it’s gotten a little bit faded now, and the cover’s virtually come right off. I also didn’t write dates, just what day of the week I was writing on so it’s hard to know exactly when I was writing certain bits.

I’ve not revisited it for years now; there’s quite a lot of really personal stuff from my life as a twelve-year-old and I’m a little bit scared of looking back at it. But it’s safe upstairs, ready for me if I ever decide to take a trip down memory lane.

It lives in a big box with some of my other diaries. There’s a Lord of the Rings notebook which I took to Russia, there’s a pink one which I only wrote a few entries in before abandoning because I didn’t like the paper in it. Plus some others that I’ve probably forgotten.

I’ve pretty much kept a diary of one form or another since I was twelve. When I was about fourteen or fifteen I started using my computer a little more. I’d carry around a big A4 notepad during the day, writing things down, and then typing it up when I got home. There was a Lord of the Rings site where I kept a diary and then later moved over to LiveJournal (which still exists, I still visit it sometimes though I’ve not updated it in nearly two years). I think there was another journalling site before LiveJournal, though where that was and what my login details would have been are lost to time. I’ve also written notebooks in a Rune-Script I adapted from Tolkien and also my adaption of an Elvish script to prevent other people from reading what I wrote. At times my journal has just been a word document or a folder on the computer; a series of letters to people around me which I never would have thought of showing them. Even this is my second blog.

Pretty Journal
But there’s something nice about putting pen to paper (or pencil to paper in the case of my twelve-year-old self). Way back last August we took a trip to Ayr and I picked up a lovely purple notebook with a silver pattern on it. I thought at the time that I might use it for recording how I felt during the IVF treatment (at the time it wasn’t something I was planning to blog about); but the book was so pretty that I didn’t like to not use it for all that time.

At the end of the year I started thinking about keeping a journal again. I made the decision to start it on New Year’s Day, only to break it within a week and started on December 24th, our wedding anniversary and (obviously) Christmas Eve. I remembered starting my first diary in the run up to Christmas and writing about the things I’d received. And I was also worried that if I put off starting until the beginning of the New Year that I would lose momentum and not bother doing it after all. So I started writing.

And I’ve written in it every day since then. Sometimes it’s little more than an account of the things I’ve done that day. Sometimes it’s my fears, my worries, my frustrations about things in my life. More often than not it’s a record of the things that have made me laugh or smile or feel happy; progress with a knitting project, something our pets have done, a book I’m reading. It’s probably no more personal than this blog, it’s mostly things I talk about on here in one way or another, but it’s a lot more personal than this place somehow because I don’t share it.

Not even Mr Click has read it, even though it lives on my bedside table (or more recently on the bookcase in the living room). I love that he understands that it’s something personal and doesn’t go prying. Sometimes I think about sharing some of the entries in it; maybe not whole entries but little extracts. I’m trying to keep myself from looking back on past entries until I’ve been writing it for a year. It’ll be interesting to compare my entries for Christmas Day last year and Christmas Day this year.

The pretty purple notebook is starting to get a little full now so I’ve treated myself to a quirky one decorated with sheep. It doesn’t look quite as serious as the current one so I’m wondering if the cover will change my attitude towards it. At the moment I write using multicoloured pens, changing the colour each paragraph and writing names and certain things in other colours to highlight them. I wonder if I might need to go for a plain colour in my next journal just to tone things down a little bit. It’s going to be interesting to see where this next one will take me.

Have you ever kept, or thought about keeping, a journal?


  1. I've always wanted to keep a journal. It would probably be a great idea for me, since my memory is so poor. I already have a little notebook for writing ideas, but maybe I'll get one for a journal, too :)

    1. I really enjoy writing in mine. I think one thing that made it easier was not feeling guilty if I missed a day or ten. Sometimes you just don't have anything to say, somehow that made it easier to write something every day.

      I do think having the right sort of book helps to, some books just don't inspire you to write at all.


Let me know what you think. :-)