Smith: Going deep with my personal journal |

Smith: Going deep with my personal journal

Barry Smith

A few months ago, I published a column outlining the process of keeping a personal journal. Since then, many people have asked if I’d be willing to expand on my tutorial by sharing excerpts from my own journal.

One of the main rules of journaling is that you don’t have to share if you don’t want to. A journal is a safe place where you can explore your innermost thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams, and you should be able to write about them in a completely uncensored way.

That said, I do believe in the power of journaling, and if sharing from my own will help others, then I’m willing to do so. I’ve been keeping a daily journal for 20 years, and I have to say it’s been quite a journey. In looking over it, I realize I didn’t write quite as “daily” as I imagined, but it’s important to give yourself some leeway when undertaking such a deep and personal project.

Below is my 20-year daily journal — in its entirety. Enjoy. And happy journaling!

Jan. 1, 1993 — First day of the new journal! So excited. Can’t wait to keep track of life on an ongoing basis. Yay! There is so much that goes into a day, and those packed days make up a life. Trippy.

April 7, 1993 — OK, got a little bit sidetracked. Back into it now. Got a new pen, so that should motivate me to write every day. So … what’s happened in the past few months? Man, too much to write down now, that’s for sure. More later.

June 21, 1995 — OK, so I kinda misplaced this book. I was hoping to write every day, but I totally put my journal on the shelf where I could find it easily, and it kinda blended in with all the other books. But I’m back into it now. So, where was I … ?

Jan. 1, 1999 — Do over. I’m giving myself a do over. I’m just going to start fresh, right now, with a daily record of my life. Day one! Here I am. Let’s do this!

Jan. 2, 2002 — I was going to recommit to my journal yesterday, on Jan. 1, but there was just so much going on. But now I’m into it. I got a new pen, which I think will really motivate me to write more often than I have been. So, New Year’s was pretty crazy. More tomorrow.

Jan. 3, 2002 — Two days in a row! OK, now I’m in the swing of things.

Nov. 18, 2002 — Dammit. I did lose my special journaling pen, but that’s hardly an excuse.

April 7, 2005 — Journaling is hard. More later.

Sept. 28, 2005 — OK, I’m not really feeling any of the personal insight from journaling that everybody talks about. I’ve been at this for like 11 years now, and I don’t feel any different. Am I doing this wrong or something? I had a sandwich for lunch. I like sandwiches.

Feb. 13, 2006 — I hate journaling. I give so much and get so little in return.

Feb. 14, 2006 — OK, maybe I was a bit hasty. Yesterday I really got something good out of my journaling experience. I was inspired to buy a new pen, which should really motivate me to stick with it. Personal growth, here I come!

Nov. 3, 2006 — Today I realized that the best way for me to (rest of page filled with doodles.)

Jan. 1, 2007 — OK, daily journal. This is a DAILY journal. I can’t believe it’s 2007 already. That sounds so futuristic. More later.

Jan. 2, 2007 — I got a new pen. You can probably tell from the looks of this writing that it’s a pretty cool pen. It’s my journaling pen.

Jan. 18, 2007 — So much has happened these last few weeks. How will I ever catch up? Well, let’s see — on Sunday I went (rest of page filled with doodles.)

Aug. 3, 2007 — Summer! For real! Man, it was so hot today.

Jan. 1, 2009 — Happy new year. More later.

Jan. 1, 2011 — Happy new year! Last month was really busy. I think I (rest of page filled with doodles.)

May 26, 2013 — Got a new pen. A special journaling pen. I’m thinking about teaching a journaling class. I mean, I have been doing it for 20 years, so I must have learned something about it by now, right? More later.

Barry Smith’s column appears Mondays. More at