Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What Inspires You to Write?

I have to admit that I haven't always been a very good journal keeper. As a matter of fact, I used to get teased about the numerous journals from years past that were started and then left scattered around the house. Fortunately, there wasn't anything too sordid in those journals that I had to worry about someone reading. ;)

Over that past few years I've paid much more attention to journal keeping and how I can use these documents for my posterity. I've thought a lot more about my immediate family and during the past year more about getting married and having a family. I feel like I've done so much in my life already and have failed to record the moments that I almost assuredly won't recall. It's one of the reasons we created the 'All About Me' section in hopes to jog your memory and get you started.

Also, as my parents get older I can't help but think about mortality and I am grateful for the time I do get with them. Admittedly, I admire them more today than when I was younger. I appreciate all the little things they did and I often wonder how they did everything while making it look so easy. I really wish that some of the video footage we have of me and my brothers could flip the camera around and take a good look at my parents. I wish that I had more video footage or audio footage to share with my kids and grandkids. I think a lot about having a written journal from my amazing Mother. She's so smart and witty and I implore her to keep a written journal. I want so much for my posterity to read her words and truly get insight into who she is. She is truly remarkable. I also look at my father as he works hard to stay young. He is a great man and I can't detail enough how lucky I've been to grow up with him as my role model. I doubt I'll ever truly be able to describe how much he has meant to me and our family.

Now I realize that's a little mushy and I get teared-up reading my own words. But it's those types of thoughts that inspire me to do better. It is the thought of losing them and never really being able to share with my family how much they have meant to me and my brothers. I often feel that journal keeping and family history is about knowing where you've come from and learning from others that love you. And while not all journals are meant to be shared in an open forum, I would challenge any of you to think about what you're writing and who you're writing it for. Share your joy, but also share your pain. Use the 'Afterthoughts' feature in LDSJournal.com to comment on past entries to help your posterity learn how you overcame your own challenges.

I think about the talk that President Eyring gave at General Conference on October 8, 2007. He spoke passionately about journal keeping and I will always remember what he said about his sons. "The years have gone by. My boys are grown men. And now and then one of them will surprise me by saying, 'Dad, I was reading in my copy of the journal about when . . .' and then he will tell me about how reading of what happened long ago helped him notice something God had done in his day."

Wow! I know that I think about President Eyring's talk when I sit down to write in my journal. I would argue, however, that the challenge many members of LDSJournal.com have is finding something to write about. When speaking with so many members I often hear the same refrain, "I don't really think there was anything worth writing about." And while I want to joke and be a smart-alleck and tell them to do something interesting, I realize that I'm getting an honest and open response and our challenge at LDSJournal is to help inspire you. So, in the near future, we're going to be adding a "Journal Jar" feature that will help to prompt you with random topics on a daily basis. But, before that gets put in place, let me suggest a few things to get the ball rolling:
  1. Write about your family and how appreciative you are of each member.
  2. Write about and recognize the blessings you have in your life.
  3. Write about the challenges you are having and how you are working to overcome them.
  4. Write about events that are coming up and your feelings about those events.
  5. Write about something you want to do and what you need to do to accomplish that goal.
There are so many other ideas to help you get started and perhaps some of you can share what gets you writing. With different holidays and celebratory events coming up, I hope you will take a moment to write. Please share your thoughts and experiences that help you stay on track with your journal keeping.

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