“From Shanghai to Harlem” is an American migration and immigration story produced by awarding-winning team of LS3 Studios (Leonard Smith III) and Narrative Network (Sylvia Wong Lewis). Executive producer Sylvia Wong Lewis portrays her mixed Chinese and Black family by exploring slavery, freedom, music, love, identity and diversity. Her maternal Chinese Caribbean and paternal African American, Native American and White New Orleans-Mississippi families merged in Harlem during the 1920’s. Following footprints left by ancestral photos, documents and oral history, a unique American brand of cultural resonance is discovered.
Here are a few quick tips on how to write a journal. There is nothing more precious to someone searching their family history than to come across a handwritten journal of an ancestor. If you are not a “writer”, then Journaling may be scary to you. But it’s important to start a journal – for you first. Not for anyone else. A journal, over time, will be a record of the rhythm of your daily life, important events happening in the world, how you feel about things.
How to Write A Journal
The dictionary does not make a big distinction, but here’s the key difference from my perspective: In a diary, you simply record your reactions to the daily happenings in your life. A journal includes that and much more—it’s a repository for all of the things that interest and inspire you. It also provides a safe environment to experiment and grow creatively.
You can read more about Journal Writing here.
First of all, get rid of the image of Mrs. Smith, your 5th grade teacher. Your spelling, punctuation, and grammar don’t matter half as much as the fact that you are actually starting a journal. Congratulations!
Forget the huge hardcover journaling books they sell at the bookstore. Too intimidating and too many pages to fill. Start with a small (5×7 or smaller) 3 ring binder or notebook you can carry in your purse or by your bedside at home. You can date a page and write small snippets of writing or phrases throughout your day.
If you’re a computer junkie, there is journaling software. But you don’t really need it. Start a folder or file, and set a goal to write in it for 10 minutes each day when you first turn on your computer, or make it the last thing you do before you sign off at night. If you have an online notebook program, you can open a journaling topic/chapter and insert relevant websites into your daily writing.
If you just can’t get into writing about yourself or what’s happening to you day by day, start a journal on a specific subject that does interest you. The main thing is to write. Once you get into the habit of journal writing for a short period daily, it’ll become easier. Ideas for specific journals you can fill with quotations, your ideas & tips, photos etc – parenting journal (trials & tribulations of raising kids), a hobby journal (golf, raising goldfish, photography, whatever turns you on – write about it), journal through the hard times (job loss, loss of a loved one, financial trouble, serious illness) – your advice and words of wisdom will help the future reader (and you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come when you finally emerge to the sunlight).
You can probably think of some other journal ideas that will get you motivated, writing, and looking for another pen after yours runs out of ink…
I hope these quick tips on how to write a journal have gotten your juices flowing and you ask “what’s next?”
by Leonard Smith