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Do you often wonder what your ancestors thought and felt throughout great historical events? Perhaps they too wondered how to start writing a journal during the Great Plague of 1665 or the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 at the end of the First World War.

Daniel Defoe wrote A Journal of the Plague Year which has been a book club choice during the lockdown.

It’s often easy to think that this crisis is unique or that we are completely alone but our ancestors in history went through the same experience. Wouldn’t you like your descendants to be able to be comforted by your words in the same way?

Here’s how to start writing a journal and why writing a daily journal is important.

Collect Your Thoughts

A journal can be a great way of collecting your thoughts, as confused and fearful as they might be during the pandemic and placing them into some kind of context. A gratitude journal could also be an idea.

Sometimes just writing, even if what you are saying isn’t worded completely correctly or carefully, can be cathartic. Try to write every day and record your experiences. Perhaps you could set yourself a specific time to write every day. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration and live in Grimsby, Canada be sure to check out BenchNews.ca for local information.


Don’t self-censor as that can lead to you not reporting accurately what is happening around you or feeling. Your writing will be boring and lack any insight.

Instead, be brutally honest. Remember you don’t have to publish what you’ve written or told anyone else about it. Writing can and should be personal.

What is the Purpose?

You have to understand what the purpose of your writing is before you start writing otherwise your writing might end of meandering and might not make any sense.

Is this a journal to record your experiences of the pandemic? Your everyday life? Or is it a work of fiction? Are you writing to get published or are you just following your instincts? Or are you writing for yourself or a small group of friends or your future family?

Electronic Journal vs Handwritten

There are so many options now about how you can write. You can write in a journal with a pen. You could buy yourself a beautiful Moleskin notebook. The plus side to this is you don’t have to stare at a computer screen.

The downside is if you lose the notebook or it gets damaged because of water or fire then you have lost it forever.

Alternatively, you could write using a word document and a computer or you could use a tablet. The iPad has many apps that allow you to write in journals with the Apple Pencil. The latest iPad OS update will include a feature called Scribble that allows you to convert anything you write with the Apple Pencil into text.

This could revolutionize writing a daily journal or a learning journal.

How to Start Writing a Journal? Just Go For It

It’s best not to give writing a journal too much thought. Answer some basic questions about the purpose of writing a journal and then write whenever you feel like it.

Don’t self-censor but listen to your instinct and see where your feelings take you.

If you are interested in learning more about how to start writing a journal be sure to check out the rest of our site.

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