Why I Journal Write and 101 Reasons Why You Should Too

Reasons to Journal WriteJournal writer and blogger, Samuel Lytle, produced an exhaustive list of 101 reasons to journal write. I’ve had that list in my Evernote notebook for a while, but finally got around to reading through it today. And I must say, if you’re wanting to discover the power of journal writing, you owe to yourself to browse the list and discover either what you’re already doing as a journal writer, and for what other purposes you could be journal writing.

The following are the reasons I highlighted for on Samuel’s list, and I include additional reasons of my own. I would love to know you reasons. Feel free to share them in the comment section.

Vent and relieve stress: Most definitely. When I’m feeling stressed, writing lets me release those thoughts and clarify my feelings.

Goal journaling: I’m doing lots of this now as I work on my forthcoming book. Journaling about my goals helps me keep focused, and it motivates me when I’m feeling challenged.

Finding out who I am: even though I’m 56 years old, I still use writing to help me understand myself—my likes and dislikes, and how I could improve.

Develop a well-defined bucket list: Yep, I have a list, and have marked it on my calendar to review on a regular basis. There’s plenty of things I still want to do with my life, and writing those things down is a commitment to planning and getting them done.

Plan how to overcome weaknesses: I don’t drink enough water everyday. Journal writing has helped to correct that shortcoming. I also don’t always show enough gratitude toward my wife and kids, writing reminds me to do that.

Become a better parent, spouse, sibling: I have several journal entries about family related issues and challenges. I write about how I could build those relationships better.

Record the lives of your children: Wish I had started doing this when my children were younger, but I was too busy changing diapers. But not any more. I always try now to capture what’s going on in their lives and tag those entries in Day One with their name.

Practice writing, every day: Writing is what I do for a living, and believe me it takes constant practice and improvement.

Try to see both sides of an argument: I do that constantly, especially for those few times when my wife and I have argued.

Record good quotes: and also good tweets, emails, and memes.

Prevent wasting time: most definitely. I always write about my job and how I can get work done (not more work!) in less time. I have journal entries in which I’ve logged entire days of activities, to really see how I’m using my time.

Travel/vacation log: I kept, and plan to publish, a journal I wrote when I visited Ghana with my wife in 1994. Don’t travel anywhere without keeping a journal. It enriches the experience.

Additional Reasons

Sex diary: if you’re married or in a dating relationship, you definitely should be writing honestly about your sex life. Read The Sex Diaries Project: What We’re Saying about What We’re Doing for inspiration and guidance in this area.

Reflect on social and political issues: there’s a lot going on our communities, country, and the world. We need to have opinions about what’s taking place. Journal write and share what you think needs to be shared.

A humanist connection with other people and life: I’m not a religious person, I’m a humanist. I use my journal writing for understanding how I can be a better human being, and reflect on how we humans could do better with one another.

Record the music we like: I’m a huge fan of jazz, and though I’ll probably never get around to playing an instrument, journaling has helped me appreciate the art form even more.

List writing: I keep all types of lists—books read, movies watched, ways I’m taking care of myself, things I need to get done.

Record new meals: Cooking or eating a new delicious meal is an event for me. I always try to capture it in my journal.

Your Reasons

Okay, that’s enough for now. I’ll share more in other posts. In the meantime I would love to read your reasons for journal writing.

7 thoughts on “Why I Journal Write and 101 Reasons Why You Should Too

  1. njrondeau says:

    I’ve been journaling for many years and find it’s one of the things I look forward to doing almost every day. I think you covered most of the reasons for me. Periodically I’ll go back a month, a year, then maybe five or ten years to see where I was in comparison to where I am now. Change is often so slow, it’s nice to be able to look back and see how much I’ve improved, or (more often) where I’ve been replaying the same patterns and *need* to improve.

    1. Bakari Chavanu says:

      Njrondeau, thanks for your feedback, and for being a subscriber. Since I started digital journaling using Day One, I can more easily go back and reread what I wrote. And I’ve also marked on my calendar selected entries I want to revisit on a regular basis, such as my bucket list. And you’re so right, change can happen slowly, especially when we want a quick fix to everything.

      1. njrondeau says:

        I actually just started trying out Day One a month or so ago. I’ve been using another Mac based e-journal app called viJournal by SkoobySoft since 1998. (I just use their app and have no interest in the company beyond that). I think Day One has a nicer UX and I’m one who appreciates form as much as function. Day One has both. The one thing that’s giving me pause with it is that it stores entries in plain text. viJournal uses a scrambled format – not sure if it’s encrypted or not, but it’s gibberish outside of the program.

    2. Bakari Chavanu says:

      Njrondeau, thanks for letting me know you’re Day One user. I want to check out viJournal, but because I’m writing a book about Day One, I’m interested in your concern about Day One storing entries in plain text. Is that a concern about how encrypted your journal entries are? I’ve read a few other comments about Day One not being secure enough, so I definitely want to hear back from you on this issue.

      1. njrondeau says:

        It seems to be a surprisingly polarizing issue among DO users and prospective users. Some people think it’s important (I fall in that camp) and some say it’s ridiculous. You can password protect your Mac/iPad/Dropbox account, or use TrueCrypt and the NSA can read everything anyway, besides, what are you, a spy? What are you hiding that’s so sensitive?
        I’m *completely* candid in my journals (otherwise, what value would they have?) and I’d be a lot more comfortable knowing some one couldn’t easily browse my journals, should they get access to my computer or Dropbox. I’m not a programmer, so I don’t know how difficult it would be to add some level of obfuscation, but I’d like to see the DO developers seriously address the issue. I’m not always as careful as I should be to log out. Closing my journal app is one thing, but disconnecting/reconnecting Dropbox is impractical. One of the strengths of DO is that it offers the ability to quickly pop up a window and save a spur of the moment thought. I’m not very likely to do that if I have to negotiate TrueCrypt first.
        Again, other programs (such as viJournal) offer better protection and DO is obviously a carefully designed app, so I’m hoping.

    3. Bakari Chavanu says:

      Okay, I gotcha. I can definitely understand your concerns. Has the developer addressed that issue? I wonder how difficult it would be to make the necessary changes for better security. Or perhaps that feature will be included in DO version 2?

      1. njrondeau says:

        I think the developer has issued one of those “we’re looking at it for a possible future release” replies. For myself, I decided yesterday to stay with viJournal. I’ve bought copies of DO for my Mac and iPad and will watch their updates and reconsider in the future if/when they offer a more secure file option. For now, I don’t feel comfortable enough with DO’s security that I can be completely open and candid in my writing, and that’s the whole point for me.

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