This article was published on the Grammarly.com Blog on July 6. There’s lots of great information to help guide your journal writing. Enjoy!
Have you always wanted to keep a journal? Do you admire the intrepid hikers who have trekked to the top of Mount Everest? Believe it or not, successfully keeping a journal has at least five things in common with climbing Mount Everest (not including how awesome it is!)
They are intimidating pursuits.
News stations broadcast reports of injuries, failed missions, and fatalities on Mount Everest. It’s true; there are legitimate dangers associated with a mountain climb. Because of fear, many decide to forgo this dangerous journey. Especially if the mountaineers do not have proper training and equipment, they are wise to avoid setting off on such a trip. However, should you let fear get in the way of creating a record of your life? What is the worst that can happen? In the case of Mount Everest, the worst-case scenario is death. Compared to that, any failure you may experience in the process of journal writing is certainly minor!
A Chinese phrase zhilaohu refers to something that seems worthy of fear but is ineffectual when challenged. The literal translation is “paper tiger.” Mount Everest is worthy of awe; journal writing is a paper tiger. Pick up a pen! Once you start writing in your journal, you will find that it is an attainable goal.
Massive Mount Everest stretches into China, Nepal, and Tibet. The strong earthquakes that hit the region can cause avalanches. In winter, the temperatures average about -33℉, but can drop much lower. The extreme climate contributes to the difficulty of hiking to its summit.
It is important to find a good place to keep your diary. Do you plan to journal in the morning while you have a cup of coffee? Keep your journal on the kitchen table or in a corner of the breakfast nook. Would you rather write at the end of the day? You might find it convenient to store your notebook on your bedstand or under your pillow. Journal writing need not be limited to your home. Tote your book around in your purse or briefcase to the locations that inspire you.
A steady pace is best.
As the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest towers over 8,800 meters (29,000 feet). Its impressive height contributes to the death of many of its climbers as they are stricken with altitude sickness. This sickness results when a hiker experiences the reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels that occur near the top of tall mountains. According to the US National Library of Medicine website, the faster one climbs to high altitudes, the more likely one is to get acute mountain sickness. On the other hand, if one climbs too slowly, supplies may run low.
With journaling, you want to establish a reasonable, regular writing schedule. Give yourself enough time in each session to meditate on how you want to express your thoughts. If you race through your writing, you may leave out key details. You will also miss the enjoyment of the creative process. By way of contrast, do not drag out a writing session so long that it becomes a drudgery. If you have said what you want to say, it is okay to stop a little early.
Equipment is vital for success.
Hikers carry food, supplies, and equipment to sustain them on an expedition. Running out of supplies can spell disaster. Wise hikers bring extra provisions in case of trouble. Modern technology makes it possible to keep a journal online. You can write and save your work to Google Docs or other data hosting sites. This way, your journal is available wherever there is Internet access.
Some personal blogs are basically public journals. If you want to share your experiences with the world, consider starting a blog. Just like different hikes require different equipment, a blog requires special preparation. Spell-check your work. Consult online grammar handbooks if you are unsure about how to organize your writing.
Take lots of pictures.
Upon reaching the crest of Mount Everest, what mountaineer would not want to create some record of his feat? Most climbers dream of this accomplishment for years. When the time finally arrives, they may take dozens of photos to capture the uniqueness of the moment.
Yes, a journal is a record. Nevertheless, you can make your journal more special by adding artifacts from the events that you describe. For example, include the ticket stub of the concert that you attended or the airline ticket from your latest trip. These mementos will help you connect with the past in a more profound way.
Every quest to Everest began with someone making the decision to act on an objective. If your ambition is to keep a journal, clear the hesitations from your mind. Put your journal in a convenient place and stick to a writing schedule. Whether you include photos of your trip to the zenith of a mountain or souvenirs from elsewhere in your travels, you won’t regret starting a journal. And you will have something in common with those who have scaled Mount Everest.