Why I journal
1) To have a record of God's dealings with me. Many of these I would soon forget if I did not write them down. This includes answered prayers, verses illumined by the Spirit from my Bible reading, or special quotations, or things people have said to me.
2) To think by writing. Some people think to write, others like me write to think. There's a joy to putting ideas into words, and a seriousness, too. Albert Einstein once said, “Have the courage to take your own thoughts seriously, for they will shape you.”
3) To write out prayers to the Lord. The Psalms are expressions of the heart written down for all time. I too transcribe my praises, problems and petitions. Usually they're short, but there's something about seeing a prayer written down that tells me, yes, that's what I mean.
4) To record events, significant or otherwise: family, personal, church, international, or anything I might deem significant. Often I just write down what the weather's been like.
5) To have a place to write random thoughts or drawings, or a spot to paste that ticket from the Hokies game we attended.
6) To leave behind for my children and grandchildren a record of daily life and my reflections upon God's grace and goodness to us.
7) To have a way to use all those fountain pens I've been collecting. There's just something about writing with a good fountain pen -- the way it glides across the paper...
How I keep a journal
1) I get a good journal bound with quality paper (fountain pen-friendly), which lies flat when I open it. I've used Clairfontaine, Exacompta, Moleskine, and Rhodia notebooks with satisfaction. Some people keep a journal on their computer or use online resources and that's fine. If you want to do it the old-fashioned fountain pen and paper way, pick up a good journal and invest in a Lamy Safari.
2) I write a) when there is something I want to remember (quote, event, thought), or b) when I feel like it. I don't write when I don't feel like it. This is not an obligation. When it becomes that I'll probably stop. Sometimes I write a lot, sometimes little, and often I go many days without writing anything.
3) I keep my journal with my Bible and within easy reach to jot down things. I carry it with me on trips.
4) I look back through it from time to time -- New Years is a good time -- over the past year's notes, and previous years, to see what I've learned. (Or, if I learned anything...) I get to marvel again at God's faithfulness, and to remember special events and lessons learned.