Journaling as a primary source document depicting turbulent times.
At this point in our journaling series, we’ve introduced the idea of journaling to your life and expounded upon its benefits as well as given you a couple ideas for formatting and content structure. But some of you might be at a loss for what precisely to write about.
I was watching a webinar a few weeks ago that was talking about something totally unrelated. It was a question and answer session with a group of authors of middle grade books. One of the questions asked was something along the lines of “how will this time of quarantine and COVID-19 affect your writing?” And one of the authors had an answer that honestly blew my mind a little bit. She said that writing about this time was important, not just for authors like her, but for everyone, because those documents chronicling life during this period will someday become primary sources for students and historians in the future.
Maybe this is not as mind blowing for you as it was for me, but it’s a perspective that I never considered before, that we can actively become a part of history in this way just by writing down our experiences. Historians are already beginning to compile primary source documents from regular people in order to gain a broader picture of what this time looks like in various parts of the world.
Furthermore, we might feel like we’re stuck in this time of sickness and anxiety and isolation, but thinking about it in terms of history like this is, frankly, a little reassuring. Humans have survived multiple pandemics before, just like we all learned as children in school; and while I don’t want to diminish the suffering and the death that many people are facing, and while we will certainly not come out of this unscathed, it is nevertheless comforting to know that we will be okay.
So if you’re looking for something to write about, write about your life. Someday, your life will be important to many different people, and at the very least you’ll be able to look back and say, “I survived that.”
Resources & Inspiration:
“The Quarantine Diaries” from The New York Times