1. Buy a spiral journal or something that will open flat.
2. Buy several pens you enjoy writing with.
3. Place journal and pens in an easily accessible place.
4. Make sure you journal either at a time or in a place when/where you will experience the least number of distractions.
5. Set realistic goals – especially if you’ve never done this before. Set yourself a certain number of times a week to write an entry. Entries can be as simple or detailed as you want them to be.
6. Don’t try to be perfect. Journaling is supposed to be deeply personal. So what if your great-grandchildren know you had a little trouble spelling or that you left dangling participles. (What are those anyway?) It is better to write from the heart with mistakes than not at all.
What to write?
Along with the ideas already mentioned, you can also include:
* Memories. Don’t feel you must go back through your entire life writing down everything of significance; concentrate on today. However, there might be a few precious memories you want to record and reflect on. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays may trigger some of these.
* Include a picture. Most journal paper isn’t thick enough to use as a full fledge photo album, but an occasional photo and caption would make a great addition.
* Historical events and your thoughts on them. Where were you when 911 happened? What did you do during Katrina? You have a unique perspective that will bring these historical events to life for your future readers.
* Life-changing books. Record the title, author, and date read (if you remember) of books that have profoundly touched your life. Include how or why they affected you so deeply. Some of mine are In His Steps by Charles Sheldon, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Power of the Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian, and The Matthew Movie staring Bruce Marchiano as Jesus. (Ok. That last one is a movie, but it deeply influenced me.)
* Song Lyrics. Perhaps you heard a song that really blessed or spoke to your heart. Write those lyrics down along with why it touched you.
* Long term goals for yourself, your children, and your family. Periodically go back to revise those goals and check your progress.
* Doctors’ visits and prescriptions. How many times have you (or will you) have to fill out medical forms and just can’t remember when that surgery was or what medicines you took. This will give you a written record of your family’s medical history.
(c) Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2005