Journals Are Just Mini Memoirs


Keeping a journal might just be the best habit I’ve picked up in 2016.

Once upon a time, when I was a little girl and everyone had a journal (voice-activated locking-diary, I’m looking at you) I kept a myriad of lock and tiny key diaries. Inevitably, I would lose those damned tiny little keys, or feel like I needed a clean journal for a fresh start, the fresh start being an obsession with perfect-looking pages and usually a need to not be reminded of a dumb crush I spent the entire first half of the pages gushing about. But journaling never really became a habit for me.

Fast forward to 2016. Despite loving writing, I feel like I haven’t written anything I’m proud of in ages, or at least haven’t written anything I feel has shown growth. Blogging became horrendous because I felt like I was running out of ideas for editorials without writing my own whole bright and shiny novel first. I don’t know how or why the urge hit me, but before I knew it I was picking up my own Papa Winchester-style notebook and scribbling away with one two promises to myself:

  1. I wouldn’t throw the journal out the window when I got halfway through – the pages are about the moment, not about feeling embarrassed when I read back over things 10 years from now.
  2. I would write at least once a month. Anything, just stay consistent.

I’ll be honest – there’s nothing monumental or profound in those pages. There’s not even any fiction or “writing”. I just need a place to jot my thoughts, and a place to tell my real-life stories. The stories about running into crazy, fiction-worthy incidents downtown. The hilarious story about the date gone wrong. The story about finding and keeping friends when finding and keeping friends post-school seems daunting and hard to do.

Who knows, maybe one day those stories will make it into my award-winning memoir (tentatively titled: “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, NO Fish” or, “I Left The House for This?”) Actually, when I think about it, journals themselves are kind of like mini memoirs.

Enough chit chat. Go write your mini memoir too. (Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a snazzy way to share hilarious/inspirational little memoir stories!? Internet! Help me out!)

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  • Awww I totally remember voice activated diaries! I used to love writing everything down at the end of the night but I definitely threw all of my old journals out once I got older and saw how embarrassing and juvenile my thoughts had been (ie. about loving Leonardo Dicaprio in Titanic and silly friend drama). I feel like blogging used to also be a platform for me to do that but I haven’t been posting as much personal stuff since I started focusing on book blogging.

    • LiveJournal was kind of a nice bridge, but yeah, with blogging and especially something more specialized like book blogging, the opportunities aren’t always there. (And hooray for gushing over 90s crushes!)

  • Allison Poorman

    Hey, you just reminded me that I bought a journal about six months ago, with good intentions. Hmm, now where did I put that journal?

    • Don’t look at me…No really.

  • Kay

    Bwahaha voice activated diaries. Those were the days. I am extremely sporadic in my journal writing as well; often I use it just when I’m super stressed or up to help me organize my thoughts. Also, I absolutely love “I Left the House for This?” as a memoir title.

    • Haha, thanks! I think I might stash that away for mine. Because I really need to write a memoir (not really, but that won’t stop me) Journals really do help organize thoughts! It’s incredible!

  • I definitely had a voice activated diary. It was silver and purple and it never recognized my voice so I wold just end up breaking it open. I keep a journal now and I treat it the same way you do. I don’t do the whole “dear diary” thing, I just sit down and force myself to write. Something. Anything. As long as I write. I found that when I wasn’t doing this I wasn’t feeling as creative as I used to. My ideas weren’t original, and my penmanship was poor.

    • Yeah, I love the idea of just using it for idea flowing. Which still seems kind of weird — like, how can the internal worries in my brain fuel ideas, especially creative ones, but it’s been at least relieving some stress. That’s great that you’ve made it a habit, too!

      And yes! The voice activation never actually worked, haha.

  • I started keeping a journal this year after reading The Artists Way. She calls it morning pages where you pretty much brain dump into 3 pages. I do mine over coffee and always feel a bit better about getting things off my mind, but dear lord don’t let anyone ever read it >_< Ramblings of a Madwoman, would be the title. In the past, I would throw my journals + diaries away because I wanted a fresh start. I actually finished my 1st journal of this year last month and I stashed it away. I kinda feel accomplished 🙂

    • I’ve heard about morning pages, and I think it would help with a routine of writing. But yeah, I fall victim to the “fresh start” bug. I don’t think I’ve ever filled a journal, so hearing that you did (congrats, by the way!) is super motivating 🙂