I’m not awesome at keeping a journal. I kept a private blog when I was younger, but now I don’t worry about journaling so much. There’s always something else I could be doing. It was therefore very out of the ordinary for me the other day when I suddenly thought to myself, “I should write in my journal.” It turned out I had a lot that I needed to say.
As I’ve thought about this, and as I’ve read some really interesting articles about this topic (like this one), I’ve realized how important it is for all of us to record what we’re going through right now. It will help us process our emotions and make sense of the world around us. And since this time is literally different from all other times that have come before, you never know how what you write down will help future generations.
If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “I have nothing to say,” or even, “Are you kidding me? My life is crazy right now! How am I supposed to add another thing to my To Do list?” Here are some suggestions of ways to ease into the process.
Focus on the Moment
One thing that keeps me from journaling is the thought that I have to summarize everything that’s happened since the last time I attempted to journal. Don’t do that. Instead, focus on just writing down what you’re thinking of in the moment. Still don’t know what to say? Try answering one of these questions, or check out a longer list here (https://www.libraries.wright.edu/community/outofthebox/2020/03/25/so-youve-decided-to-keep-a-coronavirus-diary-now-what/):
- What did you do today (or this week)? How was that different from what you would do on a “normal” day/week?
- What changes have you personally experienced (physically, mentally and/or emotionally) since this crisis began?
- What has been the most difficult thing for you personally about this crisis? Do you think there’s anything positive that may come from what’s happening?
Try a Different Journaling Method
Journals come in all shapes and forms. If the task of writing out a traditional journal entry seems daunting, try a different format. Some examples:
- Write down a quick thought somewhere that’s convenient for you. This could be in a notebook, on a computer, or even in the Notes app on your phone.
- Explore Bullet Journaling.
- Keep lists—this could be a list of what you’re grateful for, what songs you’re currently listening to, the top three things that happened today: anything.
- Make an audio or video recording, or post something on social media.
- Take pictures.
- Work on an art or craft project that expresses what you’re going through.
- The Provo Library has a Let’s Learn Guide that covers different ways to keep a journal.
One thing that helped inspire writing this blog post was finding out about the University of Utah’s COVID-19 Digital Project. You can submit your photographs and experiences to this project.
While we don’t want to take away from the above project, the Provo Library would like to do something similar. We want to record Provo’s experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in submitting journal entries, photographs, or artwork that represent this time, please let us know! While it’s probably best that you keep your journals private, a summarized snapshot of your time in quarantine could be good for future generations to see. When you look back on this year, what will you remember?