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Thread: Dilemma about journals

  1. #1
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    Dilemma about journals

    Hi, I'd just like some advice about journals if possible. Apologies in advance for the long post.

    Iíve kept journals on and off since 1992. I threw out ten years worth of them in 2001 and regretted it and started it up again in 2002, then about five years ago I got paranoid about them but I had them scanned and destroyed the paper copies. I did start journaling again but only in cheap books or on loose paper and threw it away afterwards.

    Then two years ago I decided to start a journal again, one I can keep without being paranoid about anyone seeing it or the contents upsetting me at a later date. That journal is almost complete after two years, whereas at one time I used to go through one journal in six months or less and accumulated a lot of books. In this journal, which is a midi size Paperblanks notebook, I do write what I feel and itís not all positive, after all life isnít all milk and honey and I feel that a journal needs to show reality but itís not the pages of ranting and going into pinpoint detail like I did before, I donít write anything that would offend someone if they read it and I also paste in photos and cinema tickets and things such as that so itís good to look back on.

    I also keep an appointment diary, a planner, I use it for up and coming appointments but I also write retrospectively in it and just write a quick snippet about what I do each day, this just gives a quick overall view of the year.

    However, although I donít feel the need to journal in the same way that I used to do years ago, when I have something I need to work out or I feel angry or upset, I still need that outlet yet Iím reluctant to write all this in my nice journal and I donít find it the same journaling on the computer.

    I have recently come across my old scanned journals on my hard drive and have decided to have them printed again but not in their full form. I would like to keep certain parts in print but the whole lot still on computer for privacy reasons. I am now in the process of doing that. So I am printing out one journal at a time (there are eight in all), reading through them and picking out the parts I want to keep. This I find both intriguing and depressing. Going back over the old feelings and rants is making it all come back again, which is why I feel all that information is too much for me, yet at the same time it gives me insight into how Iíve coped with things and reading this can help me cope with things in the future.

    I do have something on my mind now and today I got a reporters notepad, sat in a cafť and wrote fourteen pages analysing and getting to the nitty gritty of my worries and I feel better for it. Entries such as this I donít plan to keep. Once the pad is full I will throw it away. But I realise now I do need that release.

    So my question is that. Part of me is tempted to go back to the type of journaling that I did before and just not worry about it being seen or it upsetting me if I reread it. Another part of me is thinking should I just get rid of any type of sparodic journaling that I do, including the nice journal with the photos, keep on journaling in cheaper books and throw it away afterwards and just keep my appointment diaries with the briefest of entries which will take up little space and be easy to look back on. Is keeping more than this, even the journal with the pictures, just duplication? What about the idea of editing my old journals, is there any point in doing this? I want to do it but am confused about the whole thing.

  2. #2
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I am nearly a lifelong diarist. I started my diary in 1964 and have kept it continuously since then. I started writing in those black and white composition books and then I graduated to "pretty" journals, and then I went back to composition books, and then when the technology era began I switched over to computer journalling and have done that for about 20 years.

    Just last October, while rushing to find something for a client, I inadvertently touched off a Mac upgrade that wiped out two years of my writing, which I was really upset about.

    Like you, I use my journals as not only a personal history of my life but a place to vent and work things out. I have no intention of letting anyone read them... I do think that when I get around to it I'll pull out fun things the family would enjoy reading, but that accounts for very little of the 56 years of writings!

    I now use a computer app called DayOne. It's really great. You can password protect it, you can add photos, but other than that, it's very basic. It has this neat tab feature--in the upper toolbar of the computer screen there's a little tab you can click on and immediately start typing--so that when you get those impulses to jot something down, it's a one-click operation.

    I will probably get rid of most of my stuff, but I find that reading past entries really helps me adjust my perspective on a lot of things.

    Here's the link to the app. I say keep writing!

    https://dayoneapp.com
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  3. #3
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    I donít keep anything like that. And I donít journal. I spend time alone thinking, which I like better cause it remains totally private for all time.

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    Do you ever plan to write an autobiography? If so I would keep the journals, otherwise not.

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    Thanks for your replies. I don't want to journal digitally. Yes I am writing my autobiography but don't need my journals for that.

    When you say you wouldn't keep them do you mean all of the journals?

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    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    I have destroyed all of mine.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citygirl View Post
    Thanks for your replies. I don't want to journal digitally. Yes I am writing my autobiography but don't need my journals for that.

    When you say you wouldn't keep them do you mean all of the journals?
    I find I rarely go back and read things I've written before, and when I do they don't seem particularly relevant. I guess I am present and future focused.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    A Friend C who is now a grandmother was frustrated with her one daughter. C had had journals for years and recently started reading them. She was amazed at how much her perspective on her daughter changed for the better. This daughter had done some very supportive and caring efforts over the years that had been forgotten.

    She also enjoyed reading of the adventures that she and her late DH had shared including substantial world travel. C really values her journals. One strong positive was she was feeling that she had not been a sufficiently involved grandmother but reading the journals reminded her of how much time she had spent with the different families helping out. The feelings of guilt disappeared and she was really pleased with her contribution.
    Tried a diary once and my brother ridiculed what I had written after sneaking a look at my hidden diary and that cured me forever.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I keep mine online, and don't suspect I'll ever share the password to them :-)

  10. #10
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    I've had ceremonial burnings of my past journals. Now anything I write is on a more "creative" bent - poetry, short stories, etc. My thinking was (and still is), while I may never intended anyone to read my journals, once I'm dead - who knows! Sometimes the past is better left where it is; I would hate to think that something the 20 or 30 year old me wrote would hurt someone in the future. Sometimes all it takes to wipe out a positive relationship is just one little sentence read and/or remembered.

    I may try the online version, though, for some simple stuff. Thanks, catherine!

    Edited to add: The Day One app seems to only work on Apple devices. Even the iOS link sends you to screen with message "This app is available only on the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch." But, I am motivated to look for a non-apple version. LOL.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi

    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. - Dalai Lama

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