Journal Writing

There’s one lesson to be learned from reading this article: Write in a journal!

I’ve been writing in a journal since I was in ninth grade. The earliest dated entry was January 18, 1990, which is over ten years ago (today, my journal weighs in at over 9 megabytes)! Because of writing in my journal, I’ve been able to mark my progress mentally, physically, and emotionaly over that period of time. My journal is filled with its fair share of great accomplishments, depressing low points, and everything in between. Because of my journal, I’m able to look back on certain moments in my life and have them flash across my mind as if they happened yesterday. If you haven’t found out already, your memory tends to fade rather quickly as you gain in years! Writing in a journal is an excellent means to capturing the moment, capturing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

If you are thinking of starting to write in a journal, I can offer you this piece of advice: be persistent and consistent. It’s going to feel weird the first few times that you write. After all, expressing yourself either on paper or in front of a computer screen (especially when you’re not being graded by anyone but yourself!) can be a little strange. If you keep to it, however, you’ll soon begin to hear your inner, introspective voice talking through. Listen to it and be honest with yourself when writing in your journal. Finally, if you stay consistent, writing in your journal will become a habit, as natural as brushing your teeth every night. And, you’ll be especially thankful over time as you will be able to virtually turn back the clock everytime you crack open your journal.

Electronic Versus Paper

I’ve never really known what it’s like to write in a paper journal, since I started writing in my journal on my Macintosh SE/30 way back in 1990. While some people might enjoy the experience of writing on paper, it’s very difficult to search through past entries. Writing on paper is like sending your thoughts into a black hole; it’s going to be difficult when you try to search through the mountain of paper journals looking for that elusive entry about your first crush or your first kiss. With a computer, however, it’s a snap to sift through years and years of past entries. If you’ve mastered the power of grep (that’s general regular expressions for you non-computer people!), you can really do some amazing searches.

Some people might think that writing on a computer is impersonal. That’s a matter of taste, I suppose. I look at the benefits that writing on a computer will provide years down the road. If you think about it that way, the choice is simple: electronic all the way!

Memorable Entries

Here are some entries in my journal that I’d like to share with you. They won’t get into all the juicy bits of my life, but it’ll give you a sense of where I was when I started writing and where I am today. The journal entries are presented below in italics. My comments follow alongside the entries.

February 4, 1990: Running a half-marathon

I did it! I finally ran a half-marathon! Journal, today I ran the San Dieguito Half-Marathon with a time of 1:43! It was really 1:43:14 but it took me about 14 seconds to actually start the race. That’s not that bad, however, I was hoping for a 1:35 time. That’s about a 7:15 pace while I actually ran a 7:51 pace. Not that fast but admirable, for the first time at least.

I remember the day starting out great and then turning into a scene from Hard Rain! I practically collapsed into my Dad’s arms as I crossed the finish line, number 500 out of over 1000 runners! I didn’t run for an eternity after finishing this race, and that’s probably the reason why I was a shadow of my former running self in the years following this half-marathon.

April 22, 1990: A ninth grader’s view of relationships

I have another story to tell ya. You the freeway and the baseball game kind of story? Good. Here’s another one. I need to find a program that is compatible with the Adam computer. So far, there has not been any program that is truly compatible. There was one that was mounted on the desktop but the the Adam computer did not recognize it as an Adam disk. Most incompatible disks don’t even mount on the desktop, the computer asked if I wanted to initialize the disk. Another disk was almost compatible. I could stake my life on that this disk was compatible. However, when I tried to run it, it crashed. It started out pretty well, but it later crashed. Will I ever find a program compatible with the Adam computer? Sooner or later, we might. We shall see…

Hmm… this still sounds rather familiar!

October 5, 1991: Red Boxes and handheld computers (in 1991?!?)

There was a VOID meet where I met TCK — Kevin Marcus, and TEM, or John Blake again. It was pretty lame, the meet. We went over to John’s house, I got my crystal, we made the red box, and the rest? Is history… TCK is pretty nice, nothing that I thought him to be, really. And my box works! I tried it on the telephones at the Unical on the corner of Genesee and Governor … And Rod cam over and gave me a pocket calculator that stores information, etc. You know those kinds? Yah, I do… it’s pretty neat; I can store a lot of people’s names and all in there, and it fits in my hand, or my pocket for that matter. Pretty good, and it will be useful in the future.

Ah, the early days of bulletin board systems and phone phreaking…

As I sift through my megabytes and megabytes of journal entries, I’ll continue to periodically add choice entries onto this page. Stay tuned for more!

Conclusions

What if you could put into a bottle a record of your thoughts, opinions, and beliefs for posterity’s sake? There’s a quick answer to that, and it’s to write in a journal!

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