Q & A – Keeping a Journal

Q & A

Created by Julie Goucher – Feb 2020 Using Wordclouds.com

One of the readers who asked about blogging, also asked about how they could journal.

Julie, I have admired over the years your posts about journalling and am amazed that you have kept a journal for decades. How do you do it?  M

I don’t have all the answers about journal keeping, but I can share a few tips and thoughts and hope they help.

  • Select a notebook and pen that you enjoy writing with.
  • Date every entry
  • Use ink if possible, of course if you are arty then you should use whatever instrument appeals
  • Number pages if the journal does not have them
  • At the beginning of the book keep a few pages for an index (hence the page numbering!)
  • List why you are keeping a journal – here are a few ideas
    • current interest
    • worries
    • obsessions – hobbies, books
    • projects
  • Decide what your journal is to include
    • All or specific things
  • Keep a pen with the journal
  • Entries do not have to be daily
  • The journal does not have to be an expensive one – just one you want to write in.
  • Decide how you are going to archive your journals

I love stationary. Nothing fills my heart with joy more (except genealogy and books) than a stationary shop. The trick is going in and leaving without purchasing – something I rarely manage. Choose a notebook you love – if you invest in selecting a book you are more likely to keep writing.

I write all sorts in my notebook – I keep a planner separately and that holds my commitments and to do list, whereas my notebook and journal is for everything else. If I look at the current (a Moleskine expanded plain) notebook, I have some entries of research from FamilySearch and Ancestry, the next page has note on a book I was reading then the following three pages are about COVID-19. In addition I have professional development material. I do have a A5 Filofax that I am using for planning blog posts. The Filofax never leaves my office, but my notebook wanders round the house with me. As I said it is a Moleskine expanded, so it.has 400 pages, I started this in March and will finish it at the end of June I expect. I also have a health and medical notebook which lives in my office and is used when I need to note things,

My journals are numbered and live in a draw in my filing cabinet along with planners from past years. Each notebook has a label on with the start and finishing date on it. The most recent notebooks – the last three are next to my desk, because they have material that I am going to share here. Eventually they will move to the filing cabinet. Research notes are transferred to my genealogical program as soon as I can.

There are positives and negatives for keeping lots of notebooks – I tend to use only one as I have described here, because otherwise I found that I would want to note something and then did not have the right notebook. That still happens for my medical notebook, but I make those notes and transfer them.

Over the years, I have switched and expanded how I keep my journal and what it contains. It is more like a “Common Place book” Here are a few useful links:

BLOG Posts ImageDon’t make keeping a journal complicated. Let it reflect you and your interests. If you want to stick bits in then do, if you want to draw, pictures or genealogical trees then do – I am no artists, but I do have genealogical trees in my notebook! (and I stick bits in!)

Your journal will be an unique as you, so enjoy it!

Happy journaling!

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
This entry was posted in Q & A, Stationery, Filofax, Journals & Notebooks. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Q & A – Keeping a Journal

  1. BookerTalk says:

    I started keeping a notebook/journal but was using separate ones for genealogy and blogging – as you said, the issue is that you never seem to have the right one to hand….

    Liked by 1 person

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