Many writers, poets, artists, and scientists use the process of journaling to record thoughts and to work out creative problems on paper; but serious journaling doesn't have to be limited to those in the business of creativity. More than a simple diary of main events, a journal is a great place to record menus for dinner parties, or the construction of a quilt; to commemorate a simple, quiet walk in the woods with private thoughts and perhaps drawings of the plant and animal life encountered on the walk; to record a major renovation or redecorating project, complete with before, during, and after photos.
Consider a journal a place to record the experiences of your life in detail; don't just note that you had a family barbeque in your backyard, for instance, but list the people who attended; include photos; list the menu, and if the barbeque was a pot luck, the contributions and who brought them. Write down any interesting family news revealed during the party. If someone gave you a favorite recipe, copy it into your journal.
If you're planning to decorate your living room, plan the project out in your journal, include before and after photos, and add fabric swatches. Make a list of the stores where you got your new furnishings, materials, and supplies; you may want that information at a later date.
Don't neglect your inner life. Write about your own feelings, about both outer events and private musings. Write about the friends and family members who inhabit your life, and the meaning they hold to you. Don't forget ephemera; did you come across a poem that struck you? Copy it into your journal. Are you attracted to a particular song on the radio? Note the name of the song and the performer, and write a little about how it makes you feel.
All these little details of your days, all your thoughts, plans, creative endeavors, and dreams, add up to a rich, full life. More than just information to be accessed for a practical purpose, these details can serve to remind you, during hectic times or when you are discouraged or worn down by circumstances, just how creative, energetic, and complex you really are.
Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire. She has written numerous articles for local and regional newspapers and for a number of Internet websites, including Tips and Topics. She expresses her opinions periodically on her blog, http://beyondagendas.blogspot.com