Private: Keep Out! (or how to keep your journal private!)

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The journal, by definition, is a private book.

It is a collection of innermost thoughts and feelings;

it is uniquely you.

To have someone read your journal

is literally to have someone read your mind, and also your heart and soul.

Kathleen Adams, LPC, Center for Journal Therapy, Inc.,

Journal writing is soul-baring work. If we are to be honest and authentic with ourselves on the pages of our journals, we inevitably will reveal our darker sides of anger, our hurt, our wounds, and our disappointments in life. After all, we are entitled to all of our feelings and entitled to journal about them. Pouring our hurt and anger into our journals can be a release, like as one fellow journal writer eloquently phrased it–a word  vomit—a purging of the soul through paper and pen that in the long run helps to keep us physically and mentally strong and healthy.

So, it’s important for us to write whatever is on our minds without thought as to whether or not our mothers, or bosses, or spouses or teenaged children would approve. Chances are they won’t. Therefore, keeping our journals private is of the utmost importance when writing a journal.

How best to keep a journal private?

You know your life situation better than anyone. For some people, keeping a journal private may not be a serious concern whether by nature of how they live or with whom they live with. However, here are some suggestions if you’re not writing in a journal for fear of your privacy being invaded, or if you’re concerned guests or teenagers or others may be tempted to read your journal:

  • Take it with you to work in your handbag or book bag.
  • Keep in a drawer, out of sight.
  • Keep in a locked drawer or file cabinet, if needed.
  • Keep it in your car’s glove compartment.
  • Have a good friend keep it for you. This might be useful if you have a lot of filled journals lying around and are concerned about protecting them.
  • One woman kept hers in the laundry room where no one else ventured.
  • Another man who “lived in his car” kept it under his front seat.

You can also put a statement in the front of your journal that may stop others from reading it should you accidentally leave it somewhere. Kathleen Adams recommends reserving “the first page of a new journal for your name, address, phone number, [email address] and a brief statement like…: ‘This journal contains information of no use or interest to anyone except the owner. Please return if found. Thank you for respecting my privacy.’” Go one further and offer to pay for postage.

Next blog, I’ll be discussing the “rules” for journal writing. Hint: There aren’t any! But, stay tuned, for tips.

Journaling with you,

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