If you’re like me, getting behind in your journaling routine is so easy to do when life gets hectic—especially around holidays! It’s also easy to do when there’s a family crises, or illness in the family, etc. I’ve often thought it a shame that when life is “boring” I’ve got all the time in the world to write about “not much going on.” Then when life gets interesting, there’s no time to document the feelings, details as they happen! Somehow, something is lost when I write about events several weeks after they happen, even though I have a pretty good memory.
But there is a plus side to this as well. When life is full of drama, we’re so caught up in the moment and a personality type such as me tends to treat everything as being THE END OF THE WORLD, of UTMOST IMPORTANCE, and molehills are MOUNTAINS. I think EVERYTHING needs to be recorded for posterity! After several weeks go by, things subside a little and I am able to focus and sort out what really needs to be written about in my journal. Something that didn’t seem such a big deal at the time (maybe something somebody said, a stranger you met, etc.) might end up being a crucial part of your real-life story. Several weeks later, you may know better to include it in your recount of the event. Or, maybe something you thought would be a huge occurrence (a hospital test, blind date, etc.) turns out not to be so terrible or particularly special after all, and so you’d prefer not to take up room in your journal writing about it.
Over the years, I’ve learned to make it a disciplined priority to get to my journaling as soon as I can because the more I put it off, the more things “pile up”. The more the pile grows, the more I dread tackling the writing pile, and the more I procrastinate. I have to admit that I have been guilty of letting my journal entries pile up for 2 years before I finally got caught up! This is not recommended!! If you’re wondering how I accomplished this catch-up, I had to pick and choose just the main events of the year and write about them in a general description. The sad thing was that so many of my thoughts and feelings were glossed over, since they had lost their intenseness. It became more like reporting the news. This is why it is so important to record your story as quickly as you can as life happens.
Holidays are such an easy time to fall into the trap of journal-procrastination. It’s such an interesting time, what with parties, engagements, outings with friends, family get-togethers with relations you haven’t seen in years, family dramas—there’s a wealth of journal stories to be recorded! Thankfully, New Year’s resolutions are just around the corner … a time to start over and start fresh!
Here are some tips to help us write about life when it gets hectic:
-choose a day or time that works best for you. Mark it on your calendar!
-go easy on yourself and don’t be unrealistic. Writing daily may not be something that can be accomplished at this time. I find writing once a week a little more manageable.
-make it a priority on your to-do list (if you keep one).
-if you have a major catch-up operation to get to, set yourself a goal or limit, for ex., a certain amount of pages to accomplish or an hour of writing. Then, set it aside for the next time you write.
-Sometimes when I think of how to word or describe an aspect of the event, but it’s not a good time for me to be writing a full journal entry, so I’ll jot down a sentence or two on a sticky note. Sometimes I’ll have a collection of sticky notes that I can put together to make an entry out of, and it makes my life that much easier.
-Don’t be detail-crazy. Decide what is necessary to write about and weed out the rest. It might be a good idea to ask yourself, “What will I really care about a year from now?”
-Instead of writing about every detail about Christmas, how about the one or two memories that made the season memorable?PS- A journal makes a great gift! (hint hint)