Journaling Tips

Journaling Tips
Here are some tips and/or observations for participating in the New Hartford Public Library’s 2020 Coronavirus History Project. We’re encouraging our patrons to keep a diary or journal of their thoughts and experiences as our community deals with the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The project can serve multiple purposes. It can be a creative project for adults and children alike and take as many forms as you can imagine: A daily entry saved to your computer, a handwritten account of your thoughts and daily activities, sketches or videos.


We feel these journals will have historic value in the decades to come, either as private family history albums or as shared records of how our nation, community and families lived through these challenging times.


Either way, it’s important to get started and not get overwhelmed by form or format. Record what you want, in your own style. If you’re a bit uncertain about how to do this, we’ve gathered a few tips we found online. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but we hope you’ll find them of interest and encourage you to share tips that work for you. What follows are brief descriptions and links to some online resources:


Is there difference between a journal or a diary?



We found this at the English Language & Usage Stack Exchange. “Diary and Journal are synonyms, but there is an important difference: A diary is strictly a record of personal and daily experiences. Journal could mean a more general record or logbook …”


Need a reason to start?



This from author Alan Henry, writing for “lifehacker:” “Journals can serve as a permanent record for posterity, and, presumably, a cathartic release for the people writing them.”

Five tips:

The Center for Journal Therapy offers five easy steps for journal writers.


Your observations are valuable:

In a 2008 story for Writers Digest author Sharon Naylor observed: “… feel free to discuss any moment in history, from the smallest occurrence to the largest one, whether it affects just your family or the entire world. Put pen to paper and create your own everlasting memorial to the human condition as you see it and share the workings of your soul with future souls that may not even be in this world yet. Your personal history journal may just teach them something their world doesn’t have time to teach them anymore, and perhaps they’ll glean an insight that they’ll use to make significant changes to their own world of the future. You never know, and that is why your experiences, your observations are so valuable”.


Involve the kids:

From Reading Rockets: “Find out why it’s a good idea for all kids to keep a diary and get practical tips on writing and motivation for young writers from children’s author and writing coach Mary Amato.”


Gather a few supplies:

In this piece, co-author Catherine Palomino writes that If you’d like your children to develop a habit of daily journal writing, plan to provide them with the needed supplies and encourage them to write through prompts and other fun writing exercises.

Try a cartoon diary:

In this fun youtube video Alison Beere offers a 3-minute look at “How to Draw a Sketch Journal Cartoon Diary.” It has possibilities for kids, adults and might even be a fun family project. Although Beere uses watercolors, we think markers, crayons or colored pencils might also be worth a try.

Want more details?

Artist Ann Lee says in this video, “Here are 10 Tips every journaling beginner should know! If you want or is thinking about getting into journaling or starting your first bullet journal than you need to watch this. These super helpful tips will get your mind on the right track and for you to enjoy the process. I will cover mindset and the basic knowledge that will help you get started!” This video is more than 13 minutes and might work best for those who want to dig a deeper into beginning journaling.”



Share your insights:


We’re on the lookout for your tips on what works in doing a diary or journal. Share your experiences in an email and send to: