For some time, the Flat Earth Academy has had a general article on writing journals. The one you are reading now will stand on its own, and was written in hopes of inspiring people who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020.
Self isolating is not a lot of fun. But it doesn't stop you getting on with useful activities. Improving the "strength" of your ability to write is one thing you can do.
If you make an effort now, you may be glad you did later. Someday, Covid-19 will be behind us. In a while, your memories of what it was like, what happened will fade. If you do a journal now, you may get enjoyment out of reading it, being reminded of some extraordinary times, later in your life. If you are quite young now, and get to be quite old, the youngsters of that day may be fascinated by your take.
The word has several meanings. When I say "journal" here, I'm talking about a notebook or a computer file filled with someone's writing.
Journals are often a bit like a diary. I think of a diary having notes about What I Did on a particular date. And a journal may well have a lot of that sort of material.
Journals can go much further. Anything goes! They may be filled with what you were thinking, feeling on the day you were writing.
Journals can be the starting point for much bigger bits of writing. They aren't like a book because they tend to be collections of things that got written down as fast as they occurred to the author. They aren't the product of extensive planning, outlines, multiple drafts.
If it is a bunch of words, it can be a journal. Where it came from is the important thing. People in prison camps have written important journals on toilet paper using primitive writing materials.
Your journal could be done on sheets of typing paper. (Do particularly be sure to put the DATE of when you wrote each entry on the sheets if that's what you use!) It could be a "book" full of lined pages purchased for the purpose. It could be a file (or collection of files) in a computer.
As you write this thing, take steps to be sure your creation can't be lost, especially if you are doing it in a computer. If you are using ink on paper, and don't have a scanner, you can (probably) still use a digital camera or smartphone to photograph each page as it is filled. (Of course, then we are back to the question of backing up digital files!)
Covid is not the world's first brutal epidemic. And if you do a journal, it won't be the first plague journal. Have a look at some things Samuel Pepys (pronounced "Peeps") put in his journal about the black death in London, 1665.
(He wrote in shorthand, image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)
They say school is about English, math, science, geography, history, "the arts", sports, foreign languages, etc, etc.
It is about reading, writing. Maybe a little 'rithmatic.
What do you do in a history lesson? Read, write.
What do you do in a geography lesson? Read, write.
But that's okay!
NOTHING is as important as being able to Use Your Words. And until we can pay for individual tuition for each learner, WRITING is going to be the way.
And you write better the more you read, because it is a fast way to get to see how people who are good at using their words do it.
WRITE! Do it enough, and you'll get better at it.
Of course it is easier to get to if it "is interesting".
You can't tell me you aren't having some unusual experiences.
You can't tell me you aren't thinking about the virus.
WRITE ABOUT IT!
Enough about the whys and hows!
WHAT do you put in a journal as you wile away the days of limited other options?
What you think of putting in your journal for yourself will probably be the best stuff. But here are some thoughts that I hope will spark your own ideas....
You don't have to do anything grand. It can be little things. A few sentences... three times a day, every day... will keep me happy.
If you CAN, do something grand like "What I think about all of this", so much the better. One "serious" bit of writing today gets you off doing any tomorrow.
But if the pen isn't moving, the fingers aren't tapping, just put down the everyday things. What you had for breakfast? What do you miss? Etc.
Shamelessly cribbed from someone else... look! There's their URL at the top. "Can't" thing of "anything" to write about??? What is the date today? Go to that number in the following list. Write about THAT, or one its near neighbors. (Does NOTHING go on between your ears?? Put it down on paper. Use Your Words.. and you will get better at putting thoughts into words...
These ideas are pathetic? Okay... get someone over 18 to send me some BETTER ideas.
You can write that email instead of the journal.
Do you know about Anne Frank's diary? (Wikipedia can help, if not.).
It was a journal.
If you are in lockdown because of Covid-19, your life is pretty miserable right now, if you let the loss of freedoms, the shortages, the inconveniences get you down. Read about Anne Frank, and your life may not seem so bad after all.
Of course, Covid-19 is not just about inconveniences. It is also pretty scary. Writing about what is scaring you can help with the fear. You may want to do two journals... one that you are willing to share with others now, and one that is "private stuff".
Writing about anything that is bothering you won't "fix things"... but putting it down in words can help. Don't believe me? Have you tried it?
Going back to Anne Frank... and her story isn't the only one... here's a website that talks about what's in her book...
Have a look at...
... for some notes about the diary and other things Anne wrote before she was killed.
If you are reading this, you can read the diary. Just use this link to go to the right page at archive.org. There you will find the book in many formats. You can also, there, just read it in your web browser.
MORE things to write about!....
Next time you speak with grandparents, or parents, ask about you family's history. And write down what you've heard. They won't always be here to ask.
The questions in the image were for you to ask your grandparents. Maybe you should also write about YOUR first date, etc, so you'll have the answers available when your grandchildren ask you.
I hope your Covid experience isn't proving too trying.
As I said at the beginning, there is another Flat Earth Academy article on writing journals. While that repeats much of what was in the early parts of this, hearing something you've "already heard" a second time can be helpful. give it a quick skim, at least? And a whole internet of other worthwhile things to explore. (Flat Earth Academy is pretty disorganized so far, admittedly. But there IS other Good Stuff there, even in just that one little corner of the internet.
Of course you shouldn't spend all your time "working"... but do try not to waste all of your Covid hours.
I would be DELIGHTED to "publish" bits of your efforts here, if you would like that. Please ask someone over 18 to contact me on your behalf. (A LITTLE about the author- age, rough geographical location, town dweller? rural? etc would make the entries more interesting to general readers.)
PLEASE give this a try, even if only a limited try? Who knows... you MIGHT begin to find it interesting, once you made a start? You MIGHT create something which is a pleasure to you years from now. If you write nothing, you certainly WON'T have any of the "fun" that some will have, or anything (from this!) to give you pleasure later. ("Fun" isn't just going to a circus. There are other things that people are glad they've done when they are over.)
In addition to the idea on this page, I also offer help with setting up a spreadsheet to serve a similar purposes.
Search across all my sites with the Google search button at the top of the page the link will take you to.
Search just this site without using forms,
Or... again to search just this site, use...
The search engine merely looks for the words you type, so....
*! Spell them properly !*
Don't bother with "How do I get rich?" That will merely return pages with "how", "do", "I", "get" and "rich".
I have other sites. My Google custom search button will include things from them....
One of my SheepdogGuides pages.
My site at Arunet.
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This page's editor, Tom Boyd, will be pleased if you get in touch by email. Suggestions welcomed! Please cite "FEA/journal-covid.htm".
Page has been tested for compliance with INDUSTRY (not MS-only) standards, using the free, publicly accessible validator at validator.w3.org. Mostly passes.