We never tire of meeting folks at our Journal in a BoxTM booth. It is always fun to discuss the joys of keeping a diary, share ideas about when, where, and how to journal, and encourage one another’s journaling efforts. At a recent holiday gift show, I had the pleasure of meeting Malori Maeva. As usually happens in conversations, one thing led to another and when I discovered how passionate Malori was about her journaling, I decided I really needed to interview her and find out what motivated her journaling endeavors. Malori has a very fun blog called Sunday Morning Sugar. One thing that really intrigued me about Malori’s blog was the page devoted entirely to a list of Goals. In fact, her most recent blog post is all about the new goals which she has set for this upcoming year. No surprise then, that Malori is a student in our newest class entitled Your Journal: The Tool to Reach Your Goals. Using your journal as a tool in the pursuit of goals just seems to be a natural fit. All of the Journal Guides here at Journal in a BoxTM are very excited to get to know Malori a little better and to observe her success in future endeavors!
JIB: Hi Malori! It’s good to talk to you today about journals and your journaling story. I’ve been perusing your blog and it looks like we have a lot of similar likes. Talking with a British accent, for instance.
M: Talking with a British accent might be the best thing around. Unless you’re actually British, then you’re just automatically cool. Maybe then you speak in an American English accent and think that’s just the bee’s knees? Who knows. Either way, I’m happy to be here and happy we have that in common!
JIB: Yes, I guess it is a matter of opinion as to who actually has the accent. But, back to today’s topic, how long have you been a journal writer?
M: I have had journals and diaries since I was in preschool. I have been consistently journaling since I was in 6th grade so that’s about 10 years now!
JIB: Was there one special person who influenced you to keep a journal?
M: There actually wasn’t! I have always been an avid reader and my favorite genre is biographical in nature. I’ve always tried to keep up with my journals because eventually I’d love to turn them into a memoir. I think I’m destined for some exciting things in life and being able to document that has been as much motivation as I’ll ever need.
JIB: When did you know that putting words in a journal would be (had been) of value to you?
M: My senior year of high school I was going through a really tough time. Most of my close friends were older than me and had already graduated and moved on to colleges scattered across the country. I remember feeling so lost and hopeless and somehow stumbled onto a box of old journals. I started reading them and realized that it wasn’t the first time in my life that I had felt lost and it was so comforting to know that I had already overcome so many obstacles. Reading my old journals felt like sitting with an old friend and reminiscing on the past, both good times and bad. It was then I realized that keeping a journal had great value.
JIB: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your journals?
M: Life repeats itself. I feel like my journals have forced me to be accountable to myself. I suppose that sounds a little bit silly but when I’m writing everything down it gets difficult to make excuses for my actions. I think a lot of positive life changes have occurred for me because of my journals. They keep me on my toes! I always want to be able to report good news so it’s really motivational for me to write.
JIB: Do you believe you have been able to accomplish more in either you personal or academic life because you’ve kept a journal?
M: Absolutely. I always keep track of my goals and write about the process of completion. I love that my goals change but my vision for my future has not. It’s fun to see the changes you go through as you get older. My writing has become profoundly better since those first journals and that shows clearly in both my personal and academic life.
JIB: I see you have a list of goals on your blog. Do you ever journal about your goals or ways to reach your goals?
M: I do. I consider my blog an extension of my journal and because I think hearing about others achieving their goals is inspiring. I love being able to share that experience with my readers. I really hope that my process of goal-setting will inspire someone to reach for their own goals. In my personal journal, I talk really candidly about my hopes and dreams for the future as well as my present failures. You can always learn from failures so writing about them is a great way to remind your future self where you started!
JIB: Would you mind sharing some specific goals in which you feel your journal has played a role in helping you to reach?
M: Some of the most important goals in life aren’t measurable. Rather, they require little reminders and constant work! My journal has helped me become a more optimistic person. I’ve struggled with depression in the past so I always make it a point to write down positives in my life. Sometimes looking back at those little reminders is all I need to get out of a blue mood. I have a horrible memory as well so just having a place to jot down things I want to accomplish is so very helpful.
JIB: Do you have an emotional attachment to your journals?
M: YES! I always say that if my apartment was burning down the first thing I would grab is my box of journals. I feel like they are little pieces of my heart; I would be distraught if anything ever happened to them. I’ve recently been typing my journals into my computer so that if, god forbid, anything ever did happen I would at least have a backup copy.
JIB: What is the most important thing you’ve learned about keeping a journal?
M: Make sure you keep it fun. For a while I tried to mandate a certain number of pages each time I wrote and it became another stressful obligation. I never force myself to write because for me a journal is an escape from my busy schedule. I like to keep it like that!
JIB: Thanks for bringing that up! That is one of the first things we tell people about journaling – to make it a fun activity rather than an obligation. Do you distinguish between the words diary and journal?
M: A little bit. I grew up in between two brothers who ruthlessly made fun of me for writing in a “diary” so I just started calling it a journal. For some reason the word diary reminds me of being young and writing in pink, fluffy books that had high-tech locks on them. A journal sounds less melodramatic and more casual which matches my personality a lot better.
JIB: Do you have a favorite pen for use in your journals?
M: I have two favorite types of pens but if inspiration strikes I’ll write with just about anything. When I do have a choice I prefer to use either Pilot’s G2 pen or Pentel’s RSVP pen–black ink, of course!
JIB: What advice would you give someone who isn’t sure keeping a journal is worth it?
M: I will always be an advocate for keeping a journal. If nothing else, it’s a fabulous place to vent where no one is going to give you their opinion or judge you. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a place to let it all out! It’s also a wonderful way to document your story–everyone has a story worth documenting.
JIB: Do you have a favorite journaling story?
M: I’m really private about my journals so very few people have ever read anything I’ve written in them. My freshman year of college I was reading through some old entries and my roommate happened to be around so I read them to her. She had such a positive reaction and still talks about how cool it was that I shared those excerpts with her. It was a really fun way to connect with someone!
JIB: Is there a story behind your Sunday Morning Sugar website?
M: I originally started my blog as a way to write about fashion. I started college as a fashion design major and knew how important social media was to having a successful fashion career. Slowly my blog turned from high fashion to more of a day-to-day log of things that made my life a better place. Now I share all kinds of recipes, crafts, and stories about my adventures in Chicago with my readers. It’s definitely become a sort of online journal where I can share with my readers and has just created another outlet for documenting my life!