Unjournaling

Journaling for People who Hate Journaling

The notebooks are medium-sized, flexible covers styled with floral prints, their spines flat and rectangular. I got them from a big box store when they were on sale.

My logic:

  • They were cheap.

  • They are stackable.

  • They aren't too thick.

  • The paper isn't too nice.

  • No fancy pens are required.

Just a good notebook to keep a few highlights in as I travel.

These are my logbooks.

I do my best not to do brain dumps in these. Mostly, over the years, they've stayed somewhat pure from this.

Intentions are everything.

I wanted to be able to open these up years later and see the highlights, and not even perfect highlights. Just the highlights.

There's no formula, no bullets to fill in or check off (although there could be if you wanted that). There are no set dates to write in them.

Here's where the magic takes place: Everyone once in a while, I drag out the latest logbook, write the date in the next available spot on a page, the city and state I'm in, sometimes the day of the week, and I just record the highlights.

Here's what this looks like:

Hot, 85F for a high. Picked up the mail in San Antonio, TX. Worked from the Denny's diner the last three days. Spending about $55 a day on food. Slept at a truck stop for two nights before manager asked me to move on. Not sure what to think about it here.

The next entry might be similar:

Storm came in last night. Almost got hit by semi backing into the spot next to me. Makes me nervous. Saw a deer in the brush. Mad at my boss. Guy parked on the other side of me has his car chocked to the brim full of belongings. Don't know how people sleep like that. If you're gonna live in your rig, keep it clean.

Next:

— Expenses for the month of December: —

Parking/lodging: Amount

Food: Amount

Insurance: Amount

....

Paid the bills for January today. Maintenance on the van cost $800 this time.

Skunk trapped in the men's bathroom in the next campground over. I have no idea how they got it out.

And so on.

There's no prerequisite for this except just to write down some stuff.

Don't make this complicated.

You aren't journaling.

You are keeping a "highlights" or a "reels" or a "logbook”. Nothing more. Tell yourself, one day, you'll even discard them. It's just for fun.

Later, you probably won't throw them out.

If you refrain from doing massive brain dumps in the entries and keep it to the highlights like this, several years later, you'll be able to see hints and clues about your whereabouts, the timeline of your travels, and some of the amazing adventures you really did end up having.

Yes, even if your life feels the same day after day.

I promise you it isn't.

Things happen in your life daily, either to you or things you're observing or thinking about. Jot down the highlights of these.

Write this stuff down.

It’s only random and boring to you.

Later, these books can be used to help you place your whereabouts during an investigation or can give your future generations a peek into the life you used to live.

Even in the highlights, there are lessons to piece together.

Your life is powerful even when you feel it’s boring.

These highlights help others who have never met you.

Are you going to let it go to waste?

Humanity wants to see your logbooks.

I promise you, nobody will forget about the time the skunk was trapped in the bathroom.

Dear Scribbler

Q. The thought of writing several pages feels overwhelming. There's no way I can keep up with a habit like this. I don't have time. I quit before I started. I'm not too fond of this. I want to leave something behind for future generations. How do I find a way forward?

A. Journaling doesn't have to be these long, drawn-out pages of self-reflection, discovery, or personal rants. On the other side of things, bullet journaling has its place. While others enjoy bullet journaling, others find it too rigid.

What's the right system to use?

The one you can stick with.

I know what you're thinking. That might vary based on location, day, and situation, right? Do you waffle between deciding on paper or digital?

Forget all of that. Just carry a cheap, stackable, medium-sized notebook that fits into your bag.

As you experience in-between moments like waiting for a conference call at work to begin or while waiting on a friend, you'll have a few minutes to jot a few things down.

Example:

Today's date, city, state, (time?). Elderly couple just left the cafe. He was very kind to her, calling her beautiful. She was graceful and appreciative. He held the door open for her even though he struggled with the weight of it. She allowed it and they walked away together. Work is fine. Kids are fine. Dog is fine. Everything is fine. I'm bored. Maybe a little lonely.

Boom. Done.

It's nothing major, nothing earth-shattering.

But it is there and you did it. 

As you keep doing it (again, there's no set pressure or time, just do it as you think about it), you're going to start accumulating entries in these notebooks.

When you fill one up, you write the start date (from your first entry if known) to the last one you just made. Consider adding "Volume 1" to the cover page or spine of the book somewhere. File it away. Start another one. Forget about the first one.

Keep doing this, and eventually, you'll have a string of small logbooks to pilfer through later on.

Parts of your life might seem boring, but in these pages, you're leaving pieces of yourself that resurrect every time the words are read.

To future generations, your words are priceless.

Your life is priceless. People want to hear your stories, even if it’s just the highlights.

Start jotting them down.

It all starts with one line. 👇

One Line

One-liners are sentences meant to prompt your memories and stimulate your creativity. Use them, if you want, to see what your brain comes up with. Do you see an image in your mind, feel something, remember something?

Whatever it is, start writing it down. There's no right or wrong answer. 🥳

I was there that day.

Mission

Start a logbook and pack it with you. Jot down small things as you feel inclined.

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