Some of you may have new year’s resolutions to write a bit more in your journal, maybe even – gasp! – every day. I resolve to write more in my journal all the time! So, in some ways, you may consider me an expert in resolving to write more. My next goal is to become an expert in writing more. And then after that, writing well…
Here’s one idea to consider for your new year of journal writing, or wherever you are in your journalling journey.
Journaling Tip #1: Get an “Instant” or polaroid-style camera like this. Bring it with you wherever you go, and take a shot some time during your day of something memorable. Whenever your journal writing time is, pull out your snap, and off you go.
The camera itself is a little bulky (although not too heavy) to carry around, but I think it’s worth it. It’s not quite the same as you taking a photo with your phone, and printing it out later.
Because it’s a instant camera that prints out the shot immediately, and you’ve got limited film (that you have to pay for!), you also aren’t just taking photos willy-nilly with your phone. The whole idea is that you become a bit more mindful of what’s going on during your day, which is one of the things that journal writing is supposed to bring out in you in any case. You’re on the look-out for that something.
Your physical photo is a bit more intimate and private and can be more fun. It’s your own snapshot of something during your day, and it doesn’t matter if it’s something silly or trivial, and you don’t have to think about what anyone else thinks, like if you post it on social media, although of course you can if it’s something you want to share (obviously you would have to use your phone to take a photo of your photo – I know: it’s deep stuff.).
- an exciting arrival in the mail
- the dishwasher is loaded perfectly
- you really like your pen + ink combo
- a much-needed coffee break at your local cafe
- you spent a few minutes organizing your desk at work
- you see some interesting graffiti on a wall
- you’re bored at the doctor’s office, but you’ve got a doctor
- a beautiful afternoon sky
- you’re reading a book you love
- your kid has spilled a Cheerios on the floor and the dog is eating them all up
Whatever it is, you pull out your trusty camera and you take your photo.
Once you get started taking a picture a day, you may find you’re keeping your eyes and mind open for what’s going on around you. You just notice more. There’s no pressure to get a beautiful or perfect shot, it doesn’t have to be related to any topic, it doesn’t have to be artistic, it just has to be something that sparks a thought or a memory or a moment in you.
Because the photo prints out as soon as you snap the shot, you’ve got it in your hand, and it’s something to look at as you go through the day. However, what I really love is the fact that it’s just that one, it’s really something to treasure.
And that’s the inspiration to get you started with your writing. Every night it’s something to write about. Once you start writing, you may find more comes out after that – sometimes the hardest part is just starting.
And, while I’m not really someone who reads through my past journals, it is a really great way to really see the small and big things that touched your life over the past days and weeks and months.
I would usually say don’t worry about missing a day or more, but in some ways, forcing yourself to have the discipline to do this everyday is what creates the habit.
It encourages you to truly be mindful and to watch out for just that right moment in your day. You’re not like snapping 20 shots with your phone because you’ve got the space and you can delete any messed up ones – you have to make each shot count, and I think for a lot of us, that’s not a half-bad way to go through life, being aware and alive of each moment we have.
Sometimes it’s easy to think to ourselves, well, nothing really happened today. But every day, miracles happen! Or if not miracles, something to appreciate – we just need to start looking. Every day, your dog needs a belly rub, or you have dinner with your family, or the bus comes as soon as you arrive at the stop, or you drive past a place that has a million memories. And that’s pretty amazing.
(I also actually kind of like the waxy quality to the photos that the Instax makes.)