There are many reasons to keep a record of your experiences. As we learned from The Diary of Anne Frank, the journal of a young girl who didn’t survive the World War II events that she wrote about, your written words can be a legacy. Keeping some kind of a diary is a way to memorialize a moment or an experience that no matter how delightful, might fade from memory as it is replaced with even more significant ones.
In 2017, I decided to start a reading journal. The idea wasn’t a new one – journaling wasn’t even new to me. I’ve been keeping some kind of a logbook on and off for many years but this one would be a way to capture my impressions of whatever I read during the year. It took a while to really get into the habit and I started off just keeping a record of quotes and writing down characters and settings so I would remember details if I had to participate in a reading challenge in some way. But as the year progressed, I started wanting to be a little bit more creative. I wanted to push myself to draw more, and my reading journal felt like a good outlet to practice my skills. In the summer, I read The Decameron which consisted of 100 short stories set in the 1300s in Europe and I even started sketching story boards for each one of those vignettes. That was fun and it prompted a series of videos showing the process of sketching those scenes.
As the year rolled on, I kept practicing, I kept adding a couple of pages to my reading journal. I started spending more of my doodle time sketching the scenes I imagined while reading and as the pages got more colorful, I wanted to share them, to inspire other people to try starting a reading journal so they can get a similar benefit. In the past few weeks, I’ve shared some of those pages as I discussed the books that prompted the drawings.
I also started a project where I am curating boxes of reading experiences. Click here to check out the Runwright Reads Book Box and click here to watch a happy customer share what she received in her order.
I really like reading and it gives me so much that I want to share with you as well. If I can share one bit of advice with you today, start writing down or sketching your thoughts as you read. When you look back at the records, you’ll be glad you did.