A skill that gets stronger if you do some.

Filename: journal.htm

While this page is valuable to many I hope, it first saw the light of day in the hopes of it being used by a specific audience. That audience might also enjoy a page I did about making maps yourself.

If I gave you a hammer, as a Christmas present, I suspect you wouldn't be very impressed.

But if you put it someplace safe, the day might come when, oddly enough, it was actually useful for something. It is a tool. If you have one, you may find it useful from time to time.

Being able to put words on paper is a tool. too. If you are good at it, it is quite a useful tool.

I hope you will practice writing... a lot.

One relatively painless exercise you can undertake which may give you rewards in years to come, is as follows.

After something "big" in your life, write a "letter" to yourself. Perhaps someone will buy you a "journal" (book with some blank pages in it) to fill with such things.

Write about the big thing that happened in your life and then keep the journal safe, so you can re-read what you have written years from now. If you prefer to "write" on a computer, please print at least one ink-on-paper copy, keep that safe somewhere. Computers crash... and take your special things with them. Do you have second copies of your photos? An external USB hard drive is a very, VERY inexpensive safety net, compared to what those photos will mean to you someday.

When you write in your journal, it is "private stuff". It is for you. Put down your feelings. Put down what mattered to you. Don't restrict yourself to the boring or carefully inoffensive stuff that you would say to people around you.

You can write your thoughts, even if to say some of them might hurt someone, if they heard them.

I hope that you will do this regularly, for years. If you do, and if you take care to express yourself clearly, you will treasure that journal when you are many years older.

Your writings don't have to be just "letters". They could be short notes... a memory of...

Quantity is good. What you write doesn't have to be brilliant, or even important. But it is important that you do a lot of it. Were you good at pirouettes after doing 20?

And even if you don't, if while you're doing it you make an effort to express yourself clearly, you will get better at that important skill. Important because having it opens avenues to you.

People change. If you do a good job of the journal, when you are older, and a different person, the journal will be a "time machine" that lets you go back, become reacquainted with the "you" of today.

After some big event or activity in your life, go to your journal. More than once, probably. Put down some of what you feel about it. In general, but also relate specific fun moments. Happy moments. Sad moments. Funny things that happened. How you would have done this or that differently if your were in charge of the event. Who were their special friends. Which of the adults involved impressed you... or didn't impress. Why. Etc, etc.

If it is sad that the thing... or person... you are writing about is "over", it can be a comfort to spend some time writing about it/ him/ her.

For one thing, writing about something helps get it "out of your system.

But in a funny sort of paradox, the writing, besides helping you move on, has an opposite role....

As long as you or others have the memories, it won't "be over".

But memories do fade. With the help of good writing, from when everything was fresh in your heart and mind, you have a way to refresh those memories, keep something that is precious alive in your heart, whatever... or whomever... it was that mattered to you for a time.

You will do a lot of writing in school, if you are of that age. How often will that writing be about something you actually care about? Not often, I suspect. Write about the things you do care about in your journal. Being "private stuff" means that you can do this without fear of consequences which might arise if you wrote about these things more publicly.

When you are writing about something that means something to you, the exercise does you more good. It might even be fun, as I said, in years to come, to reacquaint yourself with who you were. (A note for the original audience: Maybe you will be more than a tin of baked beans by then?)

Please remember to try the page I mentioned at the top, if you are one of those for whom this and that were written? A page I did about making maps yourself. You don't have to be in "that place" any more to have fun with what's on the page.

A footnote...

I spend most of my days in the UK, but publish my web pages in American, as that is where most of my readers live. I can "give up" the "u" in "colour", but it grieves me to give up "practise". In English, you practISE your writing skills, because practICE makes perfect. (PractICE is the noun. You can remember that if you focus on the fact that ICE (frozen water) is a "person, place or thing" (i.e. noun).

"PractICE" (the thing you do, the word is a noun), is like ICE, another noun.)

Well. You could go to all that trouble... if you wrote English, not the USA variant. Oh well.

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