I’m pleased to present part 2 of my interview with Sharon Boggon in which she shares her advice about journal writing and how to make it useful. You can read part 1 here.
Because you write every day, can you share how journal writing is helpful to you personally? I imagine your journals are part memoir, part creative expression, and part thought processing. Do you use journal writing for different purposes?
I am not sure I ‘use’ journaling anymore. To tease that out a little, the word to me indicates something pre-planned and done because it benefits me. Journalling benefits me, but I do it because I enjoy it. Put, the more you journal, the more it becomes part of your life and the more you get out of it.
Journaling benefits things like planning, goal setting, financial planning, and tracking everyday things. All those things the bullet journaling community is discovering make journal writing a useful practical way to help you meet your goals. A journal can track all your health goals, such as walking or the amount of water you drink or as you age. Daily gratitude writing benefits mental health, and I really recommend it.
Often writing something helps to clarify your thoughts. Since you have to lay out your ideas logically and develop an argument, you discover in the process what you think. It is in the writing that this discovery happens. Other times, as you write, it is possible to see how you have learned something.
A journal can capture creative ideas. Having written ideas allows them to be revisited and developed. By regularly getting your ideas down on paper, you pay attention to your ideas, build a creative habit, and realize some of those ideas.
A visual journal is a great place for playing, experimenting, and trying out new things. It is a place of exploration. You can explore the media you use, the things you see, and your response to the world. The daily focus helps develop observation skills.
What suggestions and tips do you have for those new to journal writing?
If you want to keep a journal, just do it. Stop putting perfectionism and high expectations in the way. Don’t waste your time; today is unique; you will never be the same person. Tomorrow you will have changed slightly, so make sure you record it!
One point I would like to make is that there are many articles online about using a journal to improve your mental health. I agree with using daily gratitude to improve your outlook, but other than that, I am concerned about people trying to get through difficult times without assistance.
If you need help with mental health issues, seek a professional. Trying to treat yourself with processes found on the internet is not smart.
My biggest tip is to learn to look outward and develop an observational journal. Focus on what is happening around you. Record events in your community and the world and record your reaction to those events. Keep it simple and write for yourself, not others. I am not interested in too much introspection and recording angst.
And finally, have you thought about publishing selections from your journals? Will you leave your journals for your family to read, or will they be archived in a special library?
I have never thought of publishing parts of my journal as I don’t consider my life interesting enough! Also, I have not thought about what happens to them when I am dead. I will be dead! They can go in a skip or on a bonfire for all I care. By enhancing the mental texture of my life and providing me with additional meaning to my life, they will serve their purpose. They have done their job.
A few years ago, I started a website that was focused on journaling, but I never kept it up. It is still online, so some of your readers might find it interesting. Inaminutago is at https://inaminuteago.com
At that stage, I made a video illustrating different journals over the years which your readers might like
Sharon, please also provide any background information you would like to share about yourself. I notice you have a website and a published book which I can include in the article.
My main website is Pintangle, which focuses on textiles.
I have written two books the first is The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results and the second is Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery: Visual Guide to 120 Essential Stitches for Stunning Designs. Also, I have had exhibitions of my textile work and they have toured nationally. Both websites have about pages and if people are interested they can dig around there.
As a wrap-up, I always re-read anything I have written and ask myself, what have I learned from this? What have I noticed? So before I sign off, I posed the same question about this interview. Two questions surprised me. The first was how many journals I have. I have never counted them as I don’t see them as measurable! However, I will round them all up and keep them together. I also want to figure out how I might index them.
The second question that threw me was the idea of publishing parts of them. It made me think about Inaminuteago as a website and how some people might find it useful.
I will travel soon. I plan to walk the Camino de Santiago. It is an 800 km (500 miles) pilgrimage backpacking walk across Spain. I have done it twice before, but that is another story. Anyway, when I return, I may work on the site again, not as a commercial venture, but to share the fun of journaling. I will probably decide on my long walk!
Thank you, Sharon Boggson
Again, I want to thank Sharon for sharing her experiences and advice about journal writing. She and I share similar views about the benefits of using writing for gratitude, processing, and learning.
If you have a question or comment for Sharon, please leave them in the comment section below.