5 Easy Ways to Keep a Journal

Journal Keeping

Keeping a journal has always been important to me. I have gone through spurts of dedicated journal keeping to big gaps of absolutely NOTHING.

Sometimes I wonder what the point of keeping a journal is. However I soon remember when I read back upon my kids first milestones, college days, getting engaged, and the heartbreaking and joyous times I have experienced.  I truly want to remember it all. . the good and the bad.
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I started my first journal when I was five.  My mom gave me a notebook where I recorded short stories and wrote about my simple days.

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Throughout elementary, junior high and high school I used these journals.

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When I went away to college, my parents insisted that I send an email to them Every. Single. Day.  They said financial assistance for groceries was dependent upon the amount of emails they received.  So lets just say I was motivated by their bribes:)  NOW, I couldn’t be more grateful though because I have 2 years worth of letters about what I did every day at college.

Well. . fast forward 8 years and 4 kids later and journal keeping seems to be taking a spot on the back burner.  When I do find a few minutes of free time, it usually involves taking a shower or cleaning.  Now is especially the time I don’t want to forego journal keeping because my kids are growing up so quickly.  Sometimes I think I will remember a cute thing a child did or said, but I am dead WRONG!  I can’t even remember where I put my keys or shoes most days.  So lesson learned. . writing it down is important.

Here are some ideas below to keep journal keeping simple with a busy lifestyle.

Chat Books

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I started hearing about Chatbooks from family members and friends so I decided to give it a try and I love them.  They changed my life! Ha ha.  I used to spend hours trying to make beautiful photo books that were never really beautiful and that I never even printed out.  Since using Chatbooks we have several printed out books.  I am so happy to have these memories in a tangible format.

I took a little different spin on the Chatbooks. I created five private Instagram accounts because I love to post a lot and didn’t want to drive people crazy with a ton of my daily kid pictures.  Four of the accounts I created are individual journals for each of my kids.  I labeled each account with each of their names.  For example one of the Instagram accounts is called: “Eliza’s Journal.”  Every time Eliza does something I want to remember specifically about her, I take a quick picture and post it to her individual Instagram journal.  At the end of each year, I print out each child’s individual journal in a custom Chatbook.  My daughter draws a lot of pictures so I take pictures of her artwork and post them in her Instagram journal to remember.  My kids like being able to have their own custom journal about them.

The fifth Instagram account I have is labeled:  “Bruderer Family Journal.” The pictures that go into this journal are pictures of the whole family and activities or just random things that happen in our everyday life. This journal is set up on a subscription and comes to our house every time I post 60 pictures to that account.

Making Chatbooks takes almost NO time.  I just have to take a picture, quickly post it to the right Instagram account and boom done!  As my daughter would say:  “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.”

One Line a Day Journal


This journal is definitely not overwhelming.  This is a five year journal.  Every day you write one sentence about something important that happened. Everyone has time to write one sentence right?  The great thing about keeping this type of a journal is you can easily look back on what you did on a certain day up to 5 years ago.  My mom bought this journal and successfully did it for 5 years.  She said it was fun to see what happened as she reflected back.

Journal Apps

Journal Apps are everywhere.  One of my favorites is called Qeepsake  The program texts you a question each day about your child and you text back the answer.  The program saves all your answers from your text responses into an online private journal for your child that you can later on print out into a Qeepsake book.  You can also text the program something funny or memory worthy when it happens.  The memory is then saved to your online journal as well with the date.  You can also add photos too for the program to save.  So much time is spent texting.  You might as well text something that will be a memory forever.  Seriously how easy is this?

Here are some other good options for journal apps below:

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BLOG

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After College, I created a private blog that I used for keeping a journal.  There were several nights where I was too tired, not in the mood, or just plain lazy to even type in my journal.  I decided to pull up my blog on my smart phone and use the ‘speech to text’ button.  I would lay in bed and put the phone next to me and simply ‘talk’ in my journal.  After I was done talking, I pushed the post button and my journal was done for the day.  Even recording a paragraph is better than nothing and it literally takes me 2 or 3 minutes.  Everybody has 2 minutes in the day. . and if you don’t something has got to give-seriously.  Sometimes I would set the timer for 2 minutes and tell myself that whatever I could record using the speech access button in 2 minutes was good enough for the day.

Love Letters

When my first daughter was born I wanted to write her letters as she grew up so that she could read how her mom felt about her someday.  I created a private blog.  Each week, or month or whenever I felt like it I would sit down and type out a letter to her.  Since having 3 more kids, it has been a little more difficult but I have kept the same blog and write letters to each of them too.  I cherish this blog and letters I have saved for them.  I label each letter in the blog with the name of the child I am writing to.  At the end of each year or whenever you want, you can pull up each individual label and print out separate books of letters you wrote for your child.  I like to call these love letters because it is so sweet sounding.  There are several great blog printing services such as: Blog2print to use when printing these out.  I realize this way of journaling may take a little bit more time.  I usually try to take one day out of each month and spend 20 minutes total to write each kid a letter and post it to the private blog.  It is important to be practical and not get worked up about it if you forget for a while or if letters are longer or shorter sometimes.  However 20 minutes a month seems practical in my life and well worth the memories that I will be able to pass along to my kids.

Keeping a journal doesn’t have to be cumbersome or time intensive as illustrated by the examples above.  If you still aren’t convinced on the importance of keeping a journal, check out Forbes on two powerful reasons why you should start today!

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