Inside: How the one line a day journal has taught me about family, career, and working mom life, and why it’s one of my most prized possessions. Learn how starting your own one line a day journal can impact your life in just a few minutes a day.
I started a One Line a Day Journal five years ago.
Each page of the journal has a date at the top with lines for five years. Every day I write down one line about something that happened that day. From monumental moments to that one day I seriously wrote about my vacuum(??), it’s all documented.
As we close out five years of this one line a day journal, I realize that this daily journaling process has taught me five pretty important lessons.
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One Line a Day Journal Lesson 1: Writing It Down Works
Entry from November 2014: Maybe someday I could have a second career as a comedy writer.
I’ve fancied myself as hilarious for a while now apparently. And while it isn’t a career (yet), I did make enough money to buy several gallons of milk through blogging this year.
Fast forward to 2020 as I revisit this post (and am onto year three of my second one line a day journal), and comedy writing is a big part of the portfolio career I’ve created for myself. That’s very cool!
Writing is my version of self-care. My family, my friends, my work as a career coach – they are all insanely important to me and they have my heart. But writing silly stories, that’s my own little corner in my own little room and now I can do it for fun and work. I’m glad that several years ago I wrote down that I wanted to write funny things and that today I spend a lot of my time writing funny things. That’s a win.
One Line a Day Journal Lesson 2: Practice Makes Better
Entry from February 2013: Jury duty got canceled.
Their There was some random traffic getting home so that was a little frusterating.
Guys, you would not want to read this journal… The grammar and spelling are downright brutal. And to add insult to injury, the content? Yikes… Quite often I’m relaying one-liners about how I could really use a new gray sweater, musings on potty training, or various riffs on “I’m tired.”
But to be a writer, you need to write. A lot.
And this One Line a Day Journal has taught me how to be more entertaining in edited paragraph form. Free form writing definitely has it’s place, even if that place is tucked safely away in your drawer. But then for anything you’re interneting or publishing in print, give that a second pass or two for plot holes and their/there/they’re.
Also, definitely download the Grammarly extension. It won’t help with your journal grammar or spelling, but it will definitely help with anything you’re typing.
One Line a Day Journal Lesson 3: Painful memories matter
Entry from July 2013: We lost the baby. I feel like we’re in a nightmare.
That’s really all I could say that day. But the memory written down matters. It matters so much. And so do the entries from October 2013. And January 2014.
Painful memories are part of our fabric, just like our angel babies are part of our family.
Do I like getting to those pages again each year? No. It sucks. And I cry as I write something totally inconsequential like what I had for dinner that night on one of the lines below.
But as the years progress, I want those memories to have their place. My angel babies didn’t get birthdays, but they each have a day. And they matter. I’m grateful for my one line a day journal for capturing their befores, their durings, and their afters.
One Line a Day Journal Lesson 4: My heart is very full
Entries from February 2015 and June 2016: Happy Birth Day, Jack! Welcome to the world, Norah!
Alright, probably a given that I love those pages. They capture the moment I become “Mama.” And then the moment our family was made whole. And the moments that the earth gained the two most incredible people to every grace it’s presence. #You’reWelcome.
I love the days right before and right after their birthdays too. We didn’t know the sex of either of our kids before they were born, so the days leading up to their births were filled with anticipation and “he/she/baby.”
Then all of a sudden the baby had a name. And a sweet face. And totally overwhelmed parents who desperately wanted to shower.
These little humans have changed our world, and they are our world. If there is a story to tell from the past five years it is Jack and Norah. I’m so glad to have their earliest moments sleepily chicken scratched onto paper one line a day style.
One Line a Day Journal Lesson 5: It doesn’t have to be pretty
Entry from March 2016: Election Day in MA…. incoherent scribble… primary voting…. more gibberish… put my support… did I catch a 9er in there?
Good Lord, Becca… is that a t, i, l, or a cave drawing?
I’m very thankful for computers. But fortunately, in spite of myself, most of my one line a day journal entries are legible. Even if they aren’t pretty.
Writing in a one line a day journal has taught me there is something to be said for putting pen to paper on the regular. It’s good for the hand muscles. Particularly as it relates to Christmas card envelope writing training.
And for teaching my children to dot their i’s. When did I get too busy and important to dot my i’s??
But even if your handwriting is super rough around the edges like mine, what really matters is what you include in this journal. When people ask me what to write in a one line a day journal, I say anything. Literally anything. You never know what little memory or doodle might matter in five years. So just give it a go, I think you’ll surprise yourself with how much you find to say.
That’s The One Line A Day Journal She Wrote
This One Line a Day Journal is going into a drawer in a couple of weeks and I’ll start a new one. I can’t imagine what the next five years will bring. If I were to guess I would say a decent amount of eating lasagna and buying my kids new sneakers.
(2020 update: Yes, that guess was correct. But I’ve also started my own business, been published on crazy huge websites, and written two books. All of that has been captured page by page, and it’s amazing!)
But maybe I’ll meet Tina Fey on April 27, 2019. Perhaps Kristen Bell will sign up for my newsletter on July 16, 2020. Or maybe my husband will give me the best hug in the history of hugs and we’ll be published in the Guinness Book of World Records on September 17, 2021.