The Value of Journaling


Throughout high school and college, I filled scrapbooks with souvenirs from the fun times I had. It held pictures, tickets, programs, and mementoes from my adventures. It was a treasure trove showing not only my exploits, but also the milestones in my life as I grew into adulthood. My scrapbooks served as tangible reminders of my favorite experiences and the joy I derived from them.

I don’t do scrapbooks any more. But I believe in journaling. It’s a fantastic way of documenting progress and recording our journey towards mastery of the dulcimer. And here is why.

  • It tracks your progress. Learning to play the dulcimer is a series of small steps that add up to significant achievements. You can track your progress over time by jotting down what you practice every day. It’s such a wonderful feeling to flip back through and see how far you’ve come.

  • Allows reflection. I pay close attention my notes, adding comments later on what worked and what didn’t, what genre was fun for me and which ones I found … well, let’s just say less motivating.

  • Writing down your goals is the first step. A practice journal helps you articulate your goals and break them down into smaller, actionable steps. 

  • It makes you accountable. If it’s written down, you are more likely to do it. My husband used to go into prisons and counsel with the men. His main mission in life was to get the men to start writing down their goals and begin studying – so they would be prepared for the world upon release.

  • Write down some wild ideas. Let your creative energy go crazy in your journal, thinking up new ways to play an old tune. Unleash your creativity on paper, and then try to duplicate your ideas on the dulcimer.

  • Celebrate. Sometimes we forget how far we’ve really come. Record moments of triumph and give yourself two thumbs up.

Journaling doesn’t have to be limited to documenting our dulcimer practice. I think we have all tried journaling in our diet efforts (well, I have … more than once). Journal about any or all of your life goals. Record your moments of triumph and give yourself the recognition you deserve.

Happy dulcimering,



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