Why keep a Journal ?

Reason #1

Because your life has significance… this alone is reason enough

your imaginings

your dreams

yours ideas

and your experiences,

your life, no matter who you are – has significance


This question as to WHY keep a journal not only has numerous valid reasons (any reason is valid in my book) but it also far out weighs any importance we may attribute as to the question of HOW we keep a journal. Be it purely written, purely visual or a fusion of those two medium, which I might argue Creative Journaling is an example of.


It is not necessary to seek or find a ‘legitimate’ answer to the question WHY keep a Journal in order to justify the activity.  The question ‘WHY’ appears to imply that there exists a valid reason to engage in this activity and if we fall short in our reasoning then our reason may be invalid.  In this question we are not accountable to anyone maybe not even ourselves.


And yet Inevitably, I fear, these questions are raised , if not by others then perhaps most acutely by ourselves of ourselves…


  • who am I to keep a journal
  • what significance does my life hold that it warrants recording
  • what is the point
  • what is to be gained

You are someone and everyone’s life is significant, valuable and worthwhile.


Our journal offers us a safe place to explore and express our fears, our hopes, our experiences and our dreams.  Let us allow ourselves the privilege and benefit  of  this one activity without the need for external validation or approval and free from the weight of expectation of gain or profit.  Can we allow the benefit of the experience of the ‘doing’ to be ‘enough’?


This is how I would invite us to think about the activity of Journaling


Over the past few months I have been reading the book ‘Writing Alone and with others’ by Pat Schneider.  Here I need immediately, to acknowledge, that I have been reading it along with  my friend and colleague Jill Bolejack a fellow Creative Journaler who lives in the USA.  We talk every Monday and  along side sharing our ideas about Creative Journaling we set ourselves the task of reading this book, one chapter at a time, sharing our thoughts on it each week.  It’s quite a meaty tome and I’m not sure that I would have made it through without Jill gently holding me to account.


The following is a quote from that book in the section where Pat Schneider talks about Journaling.  I feel its a great example in helping us to think about perspective, purpose and meaning, in Journaling…In this piece Pat Schneider is talking about a time where she was leading a group of nuns on a writing retreat in Ireland.


”  …I told the Sisters to imagine themselves going back to the house where their great-great grandmother lived, and finding only a stone foundation.  Move a stone, I said and find a small sheaf of papers.  On those pages your great-great grandmother has written in tiny letters.  It isn’t fancy writing.  She’s writing what your grandfather said when he came in to tell her the potatoes had all rotted.  She’s writing about the baby that just died.

I let them have a moment to see the writing, to imagine the words.  And then I asked, ‘Wouldn’t that be a treasure?’

‘Yes’, they responded.

‘Then so will your words be treasure’ I said, ‘if you tell the truth about your life. You, too, have that treasure’.  All of us – every person- has that treasure.”

(Pat Schneider, Writing Alone and with others)



Looking for more inspiration?…why not think about checking out the journals and diaries of the likes of


Frida Khalo… Now a world famous artist from Mexico.  Her amazing diary is available published in its entirety with full translation and is a thing of immense beauty

Anne Lister…  Her secret diaries, written mostly in an elaborate code or ‘crypthand’ as she called it, were found hidden in her family home long after her untimely death.  Deemed so scandalous, when they were discovered, they were almost destroyed and lost forever.

Anais Nin…  A deeply passionate woman, an avid diary keeper and writer, ahead of her time and seeking ways to find her place in the world. One of the most quoted women of our time.


Just three examples and all very very different in form and content, helping to confirm that the HOW takes second place in priority to WHY…because 


” Your imaginings, your dreams, your writing – your life- no matter who you are – has significance.  Denise Levertov said …

  ‘What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?  The world would split open.'”

(Pat Schneider, Writing Alone and with others p67)






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