Do you keep a journal?

Susan Albert Wittig, author and founder of Story Circle Network, has kept a journal for decades. I have not.

I’ve never been clear on what a person is supposed to write in a journal, if that person is not 20-something and living a life of emotional peaks and valleys to rival Anais Nin’s, or fraternizing with intellectuals the equal of the Algonquin Round Table. I log some notes on my life once a week or so. It is a dull record of work done and to do, because there isn’t much going on in my life but work. I much prefer my travel journals, but life currently presents few opportunities to travel, so here I sit, journalling dully if at all.

Not Susan. Susan’s just published her journal of 2008, An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days. Check out the reviews here–it sounds like a fine book.

She writes, “In these journals, I make notes about what’s happening in my life, my work, the weather, the national news. The writing is not intentionally graceful, and I don’t spend time making it pretty or lyrical. It’s what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling, what’s on my mind on any given day. I write for myself, as a witness to my life and to the world at large, a journalist who reports events, a recorder of words, thoughts, feelings, impressions.”

That makes me want to take journaling more seriously. Thanks, Susan, for pointing the way.

What about you? Do you journal?

-Sarah White

p.s. Read more thoughts on journaling’s place in history here–

The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives, January 21 through May 22, 2011, The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY.

My travel journal from Rotary International Group Study Exchange  trip to Italy, 1991…


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About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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