Remembering Your First Journal

photo credit: laurabillings second thoughts via photopin (license)




How does one begin a journey? By taking the first step. First steps, those earliest beginnings of what will be, could be. First steps are like possibilities unknown. We take them despite fear, anticipating an unseen outcome. We take them with hope and one at a time. First steps are like the first pages of a journal. Open to possibility.

Tonight (or today, depending on when you are reading) I want you to take out your journal or notebook and remember on paper, your first journal, or diary.

Sit for a few moments with your pen and open journal before you. Sit and close your eyes, relax and allow yourself to go back in time on a treasure hunt. Your treasure?

The first experiences you had with pen, paper and anticipating. Give yourself a bit of time, because sometimes memories get lost in the shuffle, and as you sit quietly, imagine yourself walking back in time. Walk back to your childhood, teen years, early twenties. Go back to the beginning of your own Dear, Diary moments.

Do you have them? Is there the memory of that first  small diary with lock and key or is there a spiral bound notebook? Can you recall the details of the book itself? Or do you recall more of what you felt, or experienced at this time?

Take a few moments, and capture the memories, whatever they are on paper. Don’t worry about being neat with your writing,  and do not judge, just capture what you can from the memories. As much detail as possible.

Can you recall the pen or pencil you wrote with? Where were you writing during this time in our life? What is the setting ? How old were you?  Did you receive the journal as a gift? Was the person a significant one in your life?

Did you share your writing or keep it secret? Where did you keep your journal when you weren’t writing in it?

You may find after you start writing that you trigger memories forgotten about negative experiences.  If this is the case for you, I challenge you to bring these onto the page and explore them, bring them out into the light – especially if there  is any shame or negative incidents where someone exposed your personal writings  in any way by reading them or sharing them with another.

Sometimes we can have strong feelings  when we approach our own journaling about what we should or shouldn’t write, fear of being exposed. Sometimes this is rooted in a specific experience with prior journal attempts. What is brought into the light becomes smaller and has less power over us. It encourages freedom. Your journal needs to be a a  place of freedom for you. Let the past journal experiences be released so you experience new freedom in all areas of your life.

My own early journaling experiences were intermittent. I recall not knowing what I “should” write as a third grader. What to fill those pages with… ironically, I’ve filled many pages over the years. I don’t wonder much anymore what to write but to what end.

I hope you enjoyed this first little exercise. I’ll see you tomorrow.  Thanks for joining me on the journey!

I’ll be using the hashtag #thejournalenthusiast or tag me @enthusiasticallydawn to connect during this journey!
write 31 days


Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at

4 thoughts on “Remembering Your First Journal

  1. Excellent! Love this post! Love journaling! In fact, I think I HAVE to journal to exist … like emptying my brain of the fog … blessings on your 31 day journey – visiting you from the 31 Day Challenge –


  2. This made me think back to my own first journaling experience – do you mind if I use this as a prompt and pingback to this post?

    Liked by 1 person

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