Writing Wednesday: How to write interesting content in your journal

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Lu had a comment on Karen’s Page Per Day Journaling post, asking how to write something interesting that she would like to read later. She said she found her journal entries boring and never wanted to read them later.

This is a great question, and I think it’s something a lot of people face with journaling.

I posted a reply saying I experienced the same thing for years. I would write page after page in my journal about my thoughts and feelings, on and on. I never, ever read those pages.

A few years ago I had a total shift in how I thought of journaling. Instead of hashing out my emotions, instead I created a record. I just wrote what happened in my days. I captured memories, wrote cute things my kids said and did, jotted quotes, wrote about wildlife sightings. etc.

I love to look back through these pages to see what I and my family did each day. I’ve been writing this way daily for more than two years now, and it has become an excellent record of my years.

So to answer the original question: think about what types of content you would enjoy reading later, and write to that.

What do you write that you enjoy reading later?

8 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday: How to write interesting content in your journal

  1. How to write interesting “content”? I’m a journalist, and bristled when reporting/journalism/new was referred to as “content,” the implication being it was just the grey stuff in between the ads. Now the… um, contents… of one’s journal are being referred to as “content”? And how to write “interesting content”? How about by living an interesting life? Reading interesting books? Talking to interesting people? If you need prompts for keeping a journal, maybe you shouldn’t be keeping a journal. The unobserved life may not be worth living, but the unlived life is not worth observing.

  2. Although I am not participating in the page per day challenge, I did begin using a Standard Memorandum booklet at the start of 2016. It’s a very small notebook and therefore each day’s content is quite limited — forcing me to distill my day into the two or three items I most want to record. I’m hopeful that the discipline of doing that small bit of writing at the end of each day will blossom into fuller journaling (in a different notebook) as the year progresses.

  3. I’m going to start the three good things today, and that’s number one.

    I’ve been mainly tracking things in my journal, ate this, this was my work out, studied Greek for this long, etc. I rarely remember to also record how I FELT about these things or what I THOUGHT.

    I think there is value in tracking things. I have looked back on old records and reminisced. On the other hand there is great value in hashing out your emotions. Writing them down helps you understand and deal with them at that time. If you never go back and look at them that’s fine too.

    This journaling is a multifaceted thing.

    • Thank you Inner Prob, I found your reply “it is a multifaceted think” helpful.
      Now I do it like this: In the page per day book the page is limited, there is simply not much space for long “ohmygod this or that is so awesome/so terrible”. I still write that style if I feel like it in my big journal. I find it funny, sometimes I write pages about how angry I am and when I reread it I often can´t remember the event that I was so angry about, it is not an interesting read, but totally had a good purpose to write it down.

  4. I always used to have this problem – while I love my life and wouldn’t trade it for anything, if I try to encapsulate the day as a whole it sounds pretty boring (kind of like that cartoon about a cat’s diary: “Monday: Ate some food out of a bowl; took a nap. Ran around the house then napped. Tuesday: Food from a bowl! Nap. Wednesday: Bowl with food, ran around, long nap….”) So I decided to try something different, something to help me write but also help me put things in perspective: each day, I have to write down at least 3 good things that happened that day. It helps me focus on the interesting, sometimes small, things that make up a whole day; it lets me write just as much as I want to about whatever was good; and it also makes me more mindful of what’s going on around me, since I’m always looking for at least 3 things. Monday, for example: an old friend came by at work and we got to catch up on things (that was one long paragraph); my husband and I watched two silly movies together (a few sentences); and the birds and squirrels in the yard were having an absolutely wonderful time with the bread and seeds and nuts I put out in the yard for them (a fun paragraph.)
    And yes, these journals are much more interesting to read!

    • This reminds me that I used to do the same thing: write 3 good things that happened each day. Like you it made me on the lookout for good things all day, which is always a good thing. I don’t remember why I stopped! I’m resuming this practice immediately!

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