How To Journal

One of my Girl Scouts is moving on to Middle school, and she asked for advice. Come to think of it, she didn’t ask for anything. She just came in for a hug. So, there I was, that annoying person who pushes advice without being asked. Her mom said she hoped her daughter would become a writer. Be careful what you wish for, mama! I tell my kids that I hope they don’t ever become writers.

“Keep a journal,” I said. “That’s my advice if you want to become a writer. Write!” Then, I went on… “And don’t just write about the bad stuff, like when you get into it with your mom or when the girls at school are mean, or when you like a boy. Write about your cousins, your house, your neighborhood, draw your room, make lists of things that bring you joy. Write about your favorite things, and give details. Describe your favorite teacher.”

Then it kind of stuck with me. Hypocrite. Do you do this anymore? Every time you feel like writing it’s to vent. Then you look back on your experiences and think, Gosh, my life really sucked. Fill in life with anything.
My friends really sucked.
My marriage really sucked.
My blog really sucked.

Don’t just vent. Describe and capture the smaller moments. Pay attention. And don’t be all talk. DO. Get hands on.

“We Learn . . .
10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see
50% of what we see and hear
70% of what we discuss
80% of what we experience
95% of what we teach others.”
–William Glasser

You have to teach by doing and teaching those who you teach to pass along the message by teaching it themselves. Lecture to self complete… for now.

Don't just keep a travel journal. Keep an everyday journal.


  1. Ads for the NRA!
    I’m out!
    I was going to read your advice to a Girl Scout, do you
    understand how insane that is?

  2. I have always thought the difference between a successful writer and a not-so is, more than anything else, simply ‘write’. Like you say, “If you want to become a writer, Write!” But so many people do not. They just love the idea of being a writer without actually, well, writing.

    I write every day — upwards of 10,000 words — and I have done for about 15 years. And I write about everything.

    Is what I write good? I’d say, nope, 90 percent isn’t, but it’s that 10 percent that is worth all the effort.

    So, yep, you got it — Write! :)

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