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The Joy of Journaling

Tools I Use to Journal

  • A notebook – Usually with a funky cover design with standard sized lines
  • Writing instruments – A pen, pencil and/or markers
  • A computer – With a word processing program
  • Voice recorder – To capture my thoughts when I do not have any of the above handy
  • Music and Movies to set the mood – I get inspiration a lot of times from watching and listening to inspirational teaching or music. I love music in general and if I know the song or have watched the show/movie before I can have it playing in the background just to make sure I have a secondary focus.

Why I Journal vs. Keep a Diary

Growing up I always thought if I kept a diary meant I would have to write in it every day.  My big sister Andrea purchased me a diary once and I think I wrote in it maybe three times (3) in the entire year that it was meant to record.

However when I was given a composition notebook by my dad that just had lines and told I could write, whenever and however and whatever I felt like and call it journaling… I felt freer to write.

Keeping a diary just seems too restricting to me and I by essence am a free spirit.

How my Love for Journaling Came About

I have been keeping journals since I was about 10 or 11 years old.  I was first introduced to journal writing and recording my thoughts from observing my mother when I was as young as two (2).  My mother would put a blank tape in the recorder and just begin talking expressing herself to God about what she was going through in her life, with her children, and with my Dad.  She would sometimes just let the music play or record me and my niece Abby playing.  My niece Abby and I grew up like siblings being just under two (2) years apart in age.  My mother would baby sit my niece, eventually she would end up living with us for five (5) years.

From time to time my mother would also record her thoughts into a journal or write quotes in the margins of books she was reading.  Draw pictures on pieces of scrap paper…I mean my mother if she had something going on…she would find an outlet to get it out.  I believe it was her extension to her fellowship time with God.

Now on top of all this my mother was a prayer warrior.  People to the time she passed would call her just to leave long messages on her answering machine requesting prayer.  They knew when she prayed she got results.

My dad he was another one that encouraged me to read, write and record my voice.  My father had a strong passion for photography, drawing, painting and self discovery.  I remember going on outings to bookstores with him or museums and being given a budget to purchase items.  Instead of toys growing up after a certain age I received books or historical activity kits from my father as gifts.  This ended up being a family trend (I began to receive similar gifts from my uncles and aunts on my father side of the family) and it helped to strengthen my love for the arts.

At around 10 or 11 years of age my dad saw that I had begun to take on my mother’s love for journaling.  So he purchased for me my first set of composition notebooks to record my thoughts.  Then when he saw I loved to play as if I was radio disc jockey/host, he purchased me a tape recorder and a stack of blank cassettes and would pay me $10 per tape to record books for him.  This was before the whole books on audio tape became a big industry of its own.

In those composition notebooks I captured my pre-teen experiences, poems and drawing.  When I felt led, I would share them with my parents and they would in turn encourage me even more to continue writing, so I did.  Now it is 20+ years later and I am still writing and recording my thoughts electronically.  My latest medium is however blogging.


Memoirs of a Black Girl JournalIf you enjoyed this article and would like to begin journaling yourself.  You may now purchase an official “Memoirs of a Black Girl” journal for as little as $12 by clicking on the following link

Thank you again for your support of my writings!

Lela Jefferson &

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© 2009 – 2014, Lela Jefferson Fagan. All rights reserved.

Lela Fagan (Jefferson) is the author of the book “Poetry of a Black Girl: The Darkness and the Light” and lead blogger at “Memoirs of a Black Girl”. Lela is an avid reader “A Real Bookworm” of all things in print. She finds joy in sharing socially and blogging about topics that matter the most to her. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Lela now lives in Houston, TX with her husband Oji, an educator and Football Coach. @LelaJefferson - See more at:


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