Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Meet a Journal Keeper - Dave

Thanks for the opportunity to share with your readers my journaling style.  

First off let me say how surprised to read your last journaler's post.  It's a guy!  I meet so few guys that journal, or admit to it anyway, that I was in total shock.  

I started serious journaling when my son was in sixth grade.  He English teacher told the class that they all has to keep a journal and write in it each and every day.  He was quite bummed about this "chore" and so I promised him I'd keep one too.  We went down to the local dollar store and bought the two smallest ones we could find.  They were sort of girlie so we covered them in manly contact paper.  

He kept to his promise and I to mine.  At the end of the year we sat down and shared portions of our journals with each other, especially the days when we did things together.  It was interesting to hear his perspective on these days.  He said he was a little sad to see the journal year end.  Then we decided to try another year.  He and I have kept one every year since.  Although we have moved up to the bigger journals without the tiny locks.

When he graduated I pulled some stores and quotes from my journal and created a scrapbook with pictures.  It was the hit of the grad party.  Everyone wanted to read the stores.

I now have about 20 journals.  I do wish I had started earlier. So now I encourage everyone to start now.  You'll be glad you did.

I have a few requirements for my journals: 
  • They must have at least 365 pages (I write a page a day)
  • They must be sewn bound (my journals get a beating)
  • I only use waterproof ink (usually a fountain pen)
  • It must be at least 5 x 7 (most are 6 x 8)

I usually write at the end of the day and try to focus on the positive.  I sometimes whine but try to keep that to a minimum.  Who wants to read a whiner?  I certainly don't, even if it is me.

In the last three years I've been adding sketches to my journals.  I usually sketch something simple, my lunch, a chair, whatever happens to be at hand and then at the end of the day do my journaling around it. I often add watercolor washes.  My journals become quite interesting when I travel.

Although I also keep an electronic journal (usually about 750 words a day), I find the paper journal most relaxing and enjoyable to look over later.  I have attempted to keep an index of my paper journal in an electronic spreadsheet.  My idea was to be able to locate the entries by keyword.  But I haven't kept it consistently.

I also keep a work journal that relates to software design.  These are more diagrams and pictures.  But I never mix secular work journals and personal journals.  That's just my style and it seems to work for me.

Anyway my personal journal, and now my illustrated journal, has become such a part of my everyday life I can't imagine doing without it.  Sometimes is clears my head, at other times it's just relaxing, at still later times it brings great satisfaction to look back and see the progress I've made.

Also, in the last three years I've been adding sketches to my journals.  Here are a few examples from the last three years:
Thanks again for the opportunity to share.


  1. Dolly: Thanks for posting this. Sorry for the typos. I just realized that I didn't proofread well enough. But then, that's the way we journal too. Right? We are told: "Ignore the critic's voice. Just get the words on the page."

  2. Dave (and Dolly),
    Absolutely loved this inspiring post about how you got started with journaling with your son. And it turned into such a beneficial experience for the both of you that you continued every year since. The creative energy between you is worth celebrating! I also appreciate your artistic flair with watercolors, adding a dimension of your life in a very creative style. Very organic and open ended and fresh.

    I have chosen this post, Meet a Journal Keeper: Dave Terry, as the #JournalChat Pick of the Day for all things journaling on Twitter. I will be posting it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my blog Refresh with Dawn Herring.

    Dave, you're welcome to follow my @JournalChat account for all things journaling.

    What a wonderfully refreshing, journaling story. Thank you!
    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring
    JournalWriter Freelance
    @JournalChat on Twitter

  3. Very inspiring article! I enjoy journaling, I just need to get myself more consistent at it. Thanks for writing this Dave, and thanks for publishing it Dolly, I enjoyed it. Take care.

  4. Dave,

    Don't worry about the typos. To be honest, I enjoyed your post, and didn't really notice the errors :P - but you are right, this is about journaling, which is full of mistakes and it's as it should be. If we started obsessing over grammar, we would never get any journaling done.

    Thanks for choosing another one of these posts for Pick of the Day :-)

    Thank you :-) Good luck with journaling!