How to Put Relationship in Your Journal

Queen Victoria

You have a journal, right?


Well, pull it out.

Go ahead– open it up.

What do you see?


Don’t tell me.

Lots of stuff and more stuff.

Now let me ask you something.

What if you wanted to beef it up – make it better?

What would you do?

Put in things that matter, right?

So you want to create a dynamic and compelling journal for yourself and for the generations to come. Then you need to include certain vital components.

One vital component is Relationship.*

So how do you get relationship into your journal. Here are three examples of how other people have added value to their journals by including information about relationships.

The Queen wrote.

In the first example there is excitement woven throughout the narrative. It is easy to visualize the events of this evening as written by Queen Victoria of England on her Golden Jubilee** of June 22, 1887 at Windsor Castle.

We had a large family dinner … Just as we were beginning dessert, we heard

that the torchlight procession of Eton boys was coming into the Quadrangle,

and off we hurried, as fast as we could, to the Corridor, from whence we could

see it beautifully. They performed all sorts of figures, the band playing

marches etc, and they sang an Eton Boat song, a Jubilee song specially

composed for the occasion … They did it so well and it had a most charming

effect. The Head Master came up, and I thanked him, and sent for the Captain

of the school. They cheered tremendously. Then we all went down to the

Quadrangle, and I said, in as loud a voice as I could, “I thank you very much”,

which elicited more cheering, after which they all marched past and out at the


Just be King.

Of course one way to be pretty sure there will be tons of happy readers of your journal is to be Queen. . . or King. . . or even president. But if you are keeping a journal and you are none of the aforementioned heads of state, then you will do well to heed Queen Victoria’s style and make your relationship reports fairly dance with enthusiasm.

Tie it up.

Another way to insure you have your readers’ attention is to relate your present circumstance to an early event in your life. Not only your reader but you too, will see how people and your relationships with them have changed during your lifetime. Tie what you did and who you knew in the past to who you are and what you do now.

So I was very pleased with myself when I went to Paris and met a boy from California and let him kiss me on Bastille Day. We were up all night, roaming from one boozy street party to another, drunk on our certainty that here was proof positive (in the dawn’s light) that we were not going to be anything at all like our parents when we grew up.

Here’s how we turned out: The boy from California went home and became a lawyer. He got married. I’ve settled down in my Village, still working at entry-level jobs. He has 2 kids. I have 5 cats. He and his family wear matching outfits for their Xmas card pictures. I’ve heard the little girl next door call me “the Cat Lady.” Our 21-year-old selves would hate us.

Pull it all together.

That was how Vivian Swift pulled together her earlier life with the one she was living at the time she wrote that passage. Vivian Swift is the author of When Wanderers Cease to Roam A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put. If you are a regular to this blog you know I highly recommend her book.

Now let it all out.

The last illustration is to be found in the journal of a teen named Anne.

Mrs. Van Daan thinks I’m stupid because I’m not quite so lacking in intelligence as she is; she thinks I’m forward because she’s even more so; she thinks my dresses are too short, because hers are even shorter. And that is also the reason she thinks I’m knowing, because she is twice as bad about joining in over subjects she knows absolutely nothing about.

Go ahead – cut loose.

There are times when you simply need to say what you think, how you feel about a relationship which is difficult. Tell your side to your journal, allow the pen and paper to relieve you of the frustration or angst housed in your heart. In truth, Anne Frank shows great maturity and restraint in her writing concerning one of her fellow clandestine tenants.

While Anne is free in describing her negative thoughts or adverse ideas about the lady described, she still holds to the polite use of the proper name – Mrs. Van Dann. No nasty name calling here.

Honestly – just be honest.

Being honest about your relationships, be they good or bad, is one way to be sure that your journal is useful to you and captivating to future readers.

*For more about Relationship as a Vital Component worth noting in your journal, check out Session II in our home study  How to Create the Accidental Journal Writer. That session includes 9 Vital components we recommend for keeping a rich and full journal – Relationship is one of them.

** Celebration of the Golden Jubilee means that Queen Victoria had been reigning for 50 years at that time. She went on to rule for almost 64 years. Hers was the longest reign in British history.

Call to Action  – Practice in your journal or diary writing about various relationships in your life.



As a lover of words, pens, paper and the dictionary I'm a natural for journal writing. But, I wasn't always faithful to the task and had to learn the hard way. Some trial and error as well as input from my journal writing friends helped move me along. I have a burning desire to help people who want to use and get the most out of their journals and diaries. I see journal writing as a self improvement tool and a way to avoid costly mistakes, bad relationships and my stinky-self. Finding my kindly self is part of the journey which keeps me writing. I Journalate and so can you.


  1. This is an excerpt from an entry about MW (code for M___’s Wife…I never use real names when I’m venting).
    So, today MW tells me we are going to hire a speaker for the workshop in 2 weeks. Never mind that previously she had given me the topic around which I was to create a best practices workshop, and that topic has nothing whatsoever to do with the speaker she’s now bringing in. Never mind that I’ve already arranged for 8 teachers to share their best practices on the previously agreed upon topic – that was no small feat in itself. Never mind that I now must call those teachers to say “We thank you for the time you’ve spent preparing your presentation – we’re going a different way at the last possible moment here – but we’ll be sure to use you during our August in-service.” How could anyone be so blind to the ramifications of her decisions as this person is? If only it were the first, or the last, time. But it is NOT.

    And on it goes….for several smoldering pages.

  2. Denise,

    You do indeed know how to use your journal to let it all out. Just like Anne, you have figured out one way to cope with the people with whom you must share space.

    Another great thing about your writing is I (and I suspect many others) can totally relate to your set of circumstances.

    Having a number of teachers in my family helps me understand the body politic within the system. :) But, even more importantly, we can all understand the frustration and disappointment inherent in dealing with people who hurt us and don’t even seem to notice that they have done so.

    Thanks for your excellent comment!


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