I blog, write short stories, poems, postcards, letters (handwritten snail mail letters), lists. I have lists all over the house for one thing or another. I put lists in my purse, in the passenger seat of my vehicle, and on my desk at work. Any horizontal surface is a good place to put — and lose — a list.
I do not, however, keep journals. Oh, I’ve tried. I manage to write a journal entry for a couple of days, maybe even a couple of weeks, but then one day I somehow “forget” and that’s the end of that journaling effort. I do not have stacks and stack of notebooks filled with thoughts, dreams, events from my childhood onward. I don’t even have a journal from last week onward.
Why do I keep trying? So many people recommend keeping a journal in order to look back. We just can’t remember everything that happens, or everything we thought, so writing down what was important to us on a specific day gives us access and insight to our previous self.
Journaling is recommended for a lot of my activities in order to review how a skill level is progressing and see if there are any patterns emerging that need attention. These activities include training for obedience competition (two dogs), training for agility trials (five dogs), training for tracking (two dogs). I was supposed to record each training session as well as every competition or test. Then there are my non-canine activities. I’ve run a marathon and four half-marathons and was supposed to keep a training log. For writers, writing three (or so) “morning pages” is recommended, when we jump out of bed and before we even start thinking about anything else. We are also supposed to have a notebook and pen with us at all times, for when the next great idea comes to us. (Actually, I agree with that recommendation.) Quilters are supposed to take a picture of all their work and keep a scrapbook. Then there are dream journals, as well as journals for art (my sewing, fiber art, photography, watercolor painting), pain, how much (or how little) I exercised, what-I-ate-today, my accomplishments at work, car maintenance, house maintenance and … and … and ….
If I followed the journaling recommendations for all my activities, I wouldn’t have time to do anything to journal about. My journal entries would consist of notes about how I had to cut down on my activities in order to write about them, but then I wouldn’t be doing them as much and I wouldn’t have much to write about. If I increase my activities and have more to write about, I have less time to write about them.
A vicious circle, to be sure.