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Start a New Year’s writing tradition: Keep a mini journal

I’ve always been intimidated by New Year’s resolutions. As an indecisive person, it was April before I’d decided on an aspect of my life to improve. And by that point, well, it was already April. But five years ago, I was gifted a mini journal before the New Year that led me to start a new tradition: Keeping a yearly mini journal.

Journals are fantastic ways to document memories and ideas. But a full, blank, white page can be daunting. What happens when I only have four words of dialogue that I want to write down — that memory when I introduced myself to my coworker Jeremy, as Jeremy?

“Hi Jeremy, I’m Jeremy.”

I don’t need to expand on this embarrassing moment, but I would like to look back and laugh at my former self.

In this case, I need a mini journal.

Mini journals usually are about one fourth the size of a normal journal and can be found in multiple textures, colors, or patterns. As a writer, I like to note ideas, quotes, and memories as I find them. The journal is also small enough, so I can do this anywhere.

I now purchase a new mini journal at the beginning of each New Year and use it to document that year’s history. Looking back, entries have included a song lyric, a hopeful scientific thought on time travel, or the exact words from a moment I never want to forget.

Not only can I look back through my short sentences and find inspiration for larger stories, but I have also developed my own intimate, personal timeline.

Yes, online blogs, live twitter feeds, and chat rooms exist where I can tell the world exactly what I’m thinking at a precise time. Facebook’s main feature is even called “timeline.” But these forms of expression are edited. We tend to censor our lives so they appeal to a specific niche.

Writing is a different “story.” Capturing emotions in writing frees your mind and encourages authentic ideas. By writing down short snippets from your life, you see the progression of your mind and soul without a filter.

I personally choose not to share my past mini journals because it allows me to look back at my formal self without judgement. These quotes and memories therefore inspire self-reflection, and can even sprout a story idea.

This year, invest in your writing and you will invest in yourself.

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