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Recording Thoughts is about harnessing the power of your own words & sketches to improve your live and leave a legacy for others to enjoy.

I want tyou to keep a journal. Not just any journal, one that is both a tool for living better and an asset. A valuable trove of yor own widsom and experience that you can share with others.

Lots of people keep journals but the notebooks often become filled with deeply personal stuff that no one would be comfortable sharing, and frankly, isn’t very valuable to the author either.

Keeping a good journal can be hard. It’s hard to think of good stuff to put init. It’s hard to know what to put in, and what to leave out. How to draw & illuminate, to remember to inlcude the thigns that made it a joy to view later on.

When you see a scene in a movie where the character pulls out a battered notebook to refer to a critical peice of information, is that as cool to you as it is to me? I remember seening Raiders of the Lost Ark and the when Indy pulled his little brown notebook to find how to use the staff of Ra I decded my first action on leaving the theater would be to go find a notebook like that one. I never found it, but I’ve found lots of others.

For a while I kept the kind of journal I suspect a lot of people keep – I bled on the page, wrote about everything that was in my mind, in my own raw words. This is what my mom taught me to do, and what most suggest for keeping a journal. After a while I started to realize two things:

  1. This wasn’t interesting stuff. Yes, I gained a lot of insight by reading through it, but it wasn’t fun to read, and I seemed much more emotional and unhappy than I really was.
  2. The notebook was a liability. In the wrong hands it could cause a lot of needless damage simply because of the way it was written.

  3. It didn’t chronical what I’d done, where I’d been or my experiences very much. I missed that stuff.

So I started making changes. I changed the way I wrote about the problems and challenges and opportunities I had. I make a point to include more of what was happening in my life and I drew more.

My notebooks are a long way from the museum quality work I’d like to produce someday, but they are now something my kids and grandkids can read after I’m gone, and I won’t be turning in my grave. In fact, they can read them while I’m still here. I’m still getting the growth and insight only keeping a journal can bring, but I’m also getting so much more.

Recording Thoughts has articles and tips for keeping this kind of journal, along with reviews on just about everything else we use to record our thoughts for whatever purpose. Paper, writing instruments, even software.

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Steve Duncan