Hacker News Re-Imagined

Observations on 6 Years of Journaling

  • 144 points
  • 13 days ago

  • @memorable
  • Created a post

Observations on 6 Years of Journaling


@djhworld 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

Seeing this post reminded me I did take a stab at the daily journaling last year, using this tool https://github.com/jrnl-org/jrnl

At some point I stopped which was a shame, but what's funny is all the journal entries are still there and I've just been reading them - lots of wonderful memories and snapshots of stuff going on in my mind at the time.

Just need the motivation to pick it up again!

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@em-bee 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

i started writing a travel diary when i got my first portable notebook 20 years ago. (a sony picturebook, small enough to carry around everywhere easily)

initially i only intended to write when i was away from home, but as my life turned into moving to other countries to live and work there, i realized that i should be writing every day.

the main purpose for me is to write down interesting experiences and memories and less about feelings. the same way i take photos. because there is something i want to remember. that means on most days the entries are short, but when something exceptional happens, then i take it down in as much detail as i can.

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@blockwriter 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

One of the benefits of keeping a diary, particularly if you are or aspire to be a good writer, is that the daily practice will inevitably lead to the recording of tedium. If you push through the reflex to stop at this point because it only seems like you are wasting time on a record of no significance, you will begin to see how the structure of a sentence, and its minute variations, can tease out the structure and variety of tedium. Writing from that point on becomes a game of presenting elegant contrasts. Committing one’s self to a record of how one feels, I would argue, is frequently onerous and forced. It does not seem dependable as an exercise. I simply play the game and wait to see if my true feelings are revealed to me.

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@throwaway98797 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

the key is to write how you feel not document what happened

as someone who has journaled on and off for 20 years seeing my emotions evolve has been quite valuable

also start today. start right fucking now. it’s never too late.

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@Jeff_Brown 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

"[Prayer is] rubber-ducking with God."

I love this so much.

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@projektfu 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

Is anyone here with ADHD able to maintain a journal? My journal has little weeklong attempts every 6-10 months. Any secrets?

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@JetAlone 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

I'm something of a chat-addict and use my group conversations with other people to collect my thoughts. The majority of them are annoyed that I do this, and either can't or don't want to follow my trail of thoughts. I should probably change this habit to just use a word processor, except that this partitioning leads to a lack of spontaneity that feels unnatural, and the effort to do it feels unrealistic in light of what else I am trying to accomplish.

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@mwattsun 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

Journaling for me is an essential tool for emotional regulation and self-knowledge. This wasn't always the case because I learned in school to write for someone else. If I'm not writing for someone else then who am I writing for? I'm writing for my future self, but who is that? My future self is determined by the thoughts and experiences I am having now, so if I can understand through writing where I am now in the world then I can make better decisions about where I am going. In effect, writing is a way of programming myself. If I am to be captain of my own ship then I need to keep a log to better learn from past experiences. I've found writing is the best way to collaborate with other parts of myself as Huxley says

If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.

- Lao Tzu

It doesn't need to be imagined, it needs to be written down

- Philip Glass

I like the feeling of words doing as they want to do and as they have to do

- Gertrude Stein

My fate cannot be mastered; it can only be collaborated with and thereby, to some extent, directed. Nor am I the captain of my soul; I am only it's noisiest passenger

- Aldous Huxley

Good composition is like a suspension bridge; each line adds strength and takes none away... Making lines run into each other is not composition. There must be motive for the connection. Get the art of controlling the observer – that is composition

- Robert Henri

Memory is the major element in cognition, in everything that we call the humanities. If you cannot remember, then you can't think and you can't imagine, and you can't write, and you can hardly read

- Harold Bloom

The characters in my novel are my own possibilities that were not realized

- Milan Kundera

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@godelmachine 11 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

I have been journaling since 24 years now, on and off.

What I have figured out is recording your voice and expressing yourself clearly , with emotions attached to your voixe, is lot more powerful.

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@sieste 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

I communicate (read, write, speak, think) in two different languages, and often find it hard to pick a language for journaling. Sometimes I start with one and randomly switch to the other language. Does anyone else have this experience?

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@unethical_ban 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

  Thursday, June 23
  1326, Hacker News
I journal as well, and have for the past 15 years with varying frequency. I used for force long form entries and coherent prose. Now, I do somewhat what the author does: I just start writing. Timestamp, location, and what I'm doing currently. Then whatever pops to top of mind, then bullet point my past week/month/whatever. It may then turn into a to-do list for work or home. It may be dreams of things I want to do in the next month or two. Writing it all down takes it out of my head for just long enough to let the anxiety go.

It's a great way to remember things, a great way to "rubber-duck" and realize what's important to you. And very occasionally, I look back on them years later and remember things I'd completely forgotten about!

  -L

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@MTg69YrTpBA 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

I used to journal because I was also told that's what you should do — that it helps with anxiety/depression. It was the nagging, recurring daily task in my daily checklist that I begrudgingly rushed through, filling that 1 page (oftentimes procrastinating the very thing that was supposed to help my chronic procrastination).

At a certain point, my mental mode switched. I started to actually enjoy journaling, and look forward to that time each morning. I often find myself journaling 3-4 pages, even having to stop myself "OK, time to actually do some work now."

Like others have said, I stopped journaling about specific events or circumstances, and started exploring my emotions. I got deeply curious about my feelings, and would capture my stream of thoughts. I thought of my "writer" self as the interviewer, and my "emotions" self as the subject. As silly and redundant as it felt initially, I used a "5 whys" approach to explore, writing down the questions and my internal responses.

This verbose written exploration was key for me. It's easy to "short circuit" a thought path and conclude it mentally e.g. "Yesterday, I was angry. Someone did X. I did Y. I guess I probably should have reacted instead with Z. OK next time I'll do Z."

Now I will actually write out the questions and answers as diligently as a court reporter, e.g. "Yesterday, I was angry. Why was I angry? Someone did X. Why did that make you angry? Because it sounds like they think they know more than me about Y. Why does it invoke that emotion if someone thinks they know more than you? Because I don't want others to think I don't know Y. Why don't you want others to think you don't know Y? I guess... I put a lot of my self worth into knowing Y, and I want others to see that..." and suddenly the words become powerful and lead to realizations that dissolve certain "mental loops" that I would get stuck in.

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@3qz 12 days

Replying to @memorable 🎙

> Whether it be meditation or prayer, the act of articulating your thoughts to your deity is a great way to come to divine realisations. In essence, it's rubber-ducking with God.

GOOD point

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