COLUMNISTS

The importance of keeping a journal

Jerry Apps
Besides recording personal history, writing in a journal can help clarify thoughts, feelings, and observations.

I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions, but my resolution for 2021 is to continue to write regularly in my journal—something that I have done for many years.  I suggest writing in a journal is something everyone should do. Why? You are writing down history, your life, and how you are living it for your children and grandchildren. 

For those who might be curious, here are some of the things I write about in my journal:

Each day I write the date, the temperature, and few comments about the weather (it’s the old farmer in me), then I write about what happened that day. It might be about family; I’m writing a lot about my grandkids these days. It might be about a major purchase, a new car or tractor, or another piece of equipment. I record the model, make, and price. (What fun it is to compare the cost of a new car in 2021 with one purchased in 1960!)

Besides recording personal history, writing in a journal can help clarify thoughts, feelings, and observations. When I have a problem or I don’t understand something, I begin writing about it. What has been murky often begins to become clear.

As for right now, writing about how COVID-19 has affected you and your family is certainly worthy of consideration. See my book, The Old Timer Says: A Writing Journal. Here I share more about how to journal. The book also has many blank pages ready for writing, with the occasional “Old Timer Says” to get you started.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: It’s never too late to begin keeping a journal.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to www.jerryapps.com.