Notebooks or Journals Part Two

Hi Friends!

This is PART TWO of Keeping Notebooks or Journals. As I was writing part one it became too large and too long to keep anyone’s attention.  I was so happy with the response I received on that post. I hope if you are interested you will go back and read it. Some of the comments that were shared were very honest and telling. Readers shared personal experiences with their journals and notebooks. That post was published last Tuesday and it is here:

All of you know by now, especially if you’ve read my about page, that I have two file cabinets full of journals written in long hand. Those are spiral notebooks wide and college rule, some cover one month some three months; and while I was raising kids they may have covered only  a whole year. I confess, I’m slowly going over to computer to be my favorite to write with but there’s nothing like pen and paper for my creative juices and my muse for when I have an idea I want to flesh out. See my last post on this subject- “Notebooks and Journals Part One.”

Clarion states “she prefers the computer to pen and paper notebooks.Up until recently I had only found one journalism site that I went to regularly, ‘Journaling Saves,” by Kristen.  One can pretty much find anything on journalism here. This is where I was inspired to do an online book club with a book “Walking in This World” by Julia Cameron, and enjoyed following the comments of others who also read the book each week. We were encouraged to comment on a blog post summarizing what the latest chapter was about. It was my first online course.

Julia Cameron also wrote “The Artists Way” that some of you may be familiar with. And I had my first taste of writing “Morning Pages” where one writes free style for the first twenty or thirty minutes of the day. And there I also met others who journaled. I learned I wasn’t the only one who had one.

Now occasionally I get emails from Kristen asking me to write to a prompt on the BIG DIG inviting me to go deeper into certain subjects to find all the treasures hidden there.

Since writing Notebooks and Journals Part One and finding more to add to  it and saving some for part two I came across Joan Didion’s reason for keeping notebooks and it gave me pause. She says she has this message in her ear when she enters a room that says she is the least important and least interesting person there. And if I may put it in my own words she wants to stay friends with the self of her past.

This is what she says: “I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were. […] It is a good idea, then, to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about. And we are all on our own when it comes to keeping those lines open to ourselves: your notebook will never help me, nor mine you.”

And that sums up why I write in notebooks or what I call journal. And there you have it. My writing will only benefit myself.

//// Keeping track of what one writes came up during Part One. The way I index my journals and notebooks is that as I go along I add sticky notes with a hint of what I’ve written about on those pages. I add that sticky note to the top of the page, and then I can easily find that idea or that book review or info on an event etc. What are your ideas for indexing?

My questions from  last week: How many of you journal or have writers notebooks? Do you index? How long have you been writing in notebooks?: Have morphed in why do you think you keep notebooks or journal? If you have thrown some out, how did that help you?

©Clara Bowman-Jahn: aka Clarike Bowman-Jahn

On my posts that I have written I am going to be putting the copyright © on them as being the author of these posts. I am not sure how I am going to be able to keep up with the tags that also have my name on them. I think it will take some doing to compile them.  And I want readers to be able to go to those posts that have both of my names as tags on them. During the last two years or so I started tagging my posts with my names and now find all I have to do is put © on them as signifying I am the author. Do any of you have these concerns?

In the meantime I will do both with these articles on writing. Tag them with both my names and also put  (c) at the end. 
Cover of "Walking in This World"

Cover of Walking in This World

About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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9 Responses to Notebooks or Journals Part Two

  1. judikruis says:

    Thank you for the link Clar. Though I journaled before Artists Way, incorporating Julia’s processes has made a tremendous difference. Blessings to you!


  2. I just dated my journals and put a label on the outside where I wrote themes that I wrote about, so I could find them if I wanted to. Loved the Artists Way and still have the book on my shelf after working with it 15 years ago.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Patricia!

      The Artists Way is a special kind of book. Glad you loved it. I’ve heard so many say good things about it. Glad you found a way to index your journals. 🙂


  3. Widdershins says:

    I used to write in paper journals exclusively, but once I started writing regularly on my computer, my handwriting deteriorated until I could barely read it … and my hand hurt from holding a pen. I thought I’d miss it, but nope. So I guess the magic is in the words, not the medium.


    • clarbojahn says:


      Good for you to find something that works for you. I still use pen and paper almost exclusively but I can see why you’d go to computer. It’s much faster. How do you save stuff? and do you find yourself looking at it later? Do you use an online journal?


      • Widdershins says:

        I just save it to an appropriately named document. I’ve got into the daily habit of going through my writing notebooks (that I have next to the bed, in my bag, etc) and transcribing any notes I’ve got written there onto a doc. I’t just an extension of that habit.


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