Cliff Ravenscraft

November 21, 2014 1:6 pm

My thoughts on keeping a written journal and why I'm excited to be back into a good journaling routine...

This morning, I read chapter 14 of Ken Davis' book "Fully Alive." In it, Ken shares his thoughts on the importance of journaling and also shares how he found recovery from debilitating depression.

Here are a few parts that I highlighted...


Keep a record of your journey on the path to living fully alive. You can do it on a computer if you wish, but I use small notebooks bound with leather. They smell better than my computer. I make notes of where I’ve been and where I’m headed. I write down thoughts and ideas that drop in at odd hours of the day. I keep track of my workouts and the food I eat.


If you write daily, you will capture thoughts and ideas that otherwise would disappear, leaving only a vague hint of some brilliant concept that could save the planet.


Be encouraged. This road to life is punctuated with potholes and setbacks. If you’ve experienced some bumps along the way, it’s evidence that you’re alive. There will be days when you can’t see the sun. Don’t despair.


So many of the dreams I’ve seen fulfilled began as notes scrawled on tattered pages of a leather- covered notebook. Almost every worthy goal I’ve ever dared to commit to writing has become a reality. Keep a record! Watch the hand of God move in your life.


I have always been a fan of journaling. I used to keep leather bound journals where I would fill the pages with letters written to God and random entries about the things I was experiencing at random points throughout my day/week/month.

I lost my love and passion for journaling approximately 10 years ago when I lost one of my journals in the bathroom stall of The Cheesecake Factory in Kenwood, Ohio.

Stephanie and I would go out to dinner, each year, to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We would make it a point to talk about all the dreams and goals that we had for the prior year and evaluated how well we did at pursuing our dreams and achieving the goals that we had set for ourselves.

We would then start creating new dreams for the year(s) ahead and would set new goals for the future. I had always made it a point to bring my current journal with me to document these dreams and goals. I would also bring the journal that contained those documented dreams and goals that we had discussed the year prior. Sometimes, this would be a single leather bound book due to my lower frequency of keeping up with my journaling routine.

About ten years ago, I had gone straight to the restroom of The Cheesecake Factory and had set my my journal down. Afterward, I had washed my hands and found that Stephanie had already been seated. We had an amazing dinner filled with great conversation.

After we were finished eating, we both went to pull out our journals to begin our annual dream/goal evaluation and planning session.

My journal was nowhere to be found. It occurred to me, I remembered setting it down in the bathroom. In fact, to this day, I still have a vivid picture of exactly where that journal was sitting in that restroom.

I immediately jumped up, headed back to the restroom and it was no longer there. I had gone to the manager and asked if anyone had turned it in. Unfortunately, that I've never seen that journal again, since that evening.

I will tell you this. I felt that I had lost an amazing treasure of countless value. That book contained an amazing account of a solid fourteen months of my life.

Also, because it was a private journal, it contained many raw and extremely transparent prayers about some of the most private of private details of my life.

My greatest fear is that one day, that book would be published and turn into a NY Times bestseller. I knew that, from that point on, I'd never be able to be able to run for a major role in politics. There is someone out there who has a record of some of the skeletons in my past.

I'm no longer worried about what people would think if they were to read my journals. I've discovered the true freedom of GRACE that has been given to me as a gift from Jesus.

However, it was that event, nearly ten years ago, that ended a several year streak of keeping a written account of my journey through life.

I am proud to say that I have kept and published a pretty amazing audio journal since 2006 in a podcast that I produce called Pursuing A Balanced Life (

I've now published 583 episodes of that audio journal and, in it, I've documented nearly every significant event in my journey from when I started with a podcast as hobby through how I've turned podcasting into a full-career.

That podcast contains most everything that I would have written in a private journal. It's a completely transparent and authentic account of my thoughts, dreams, hopes fears,etc regarding all areas of my life.

I did a poll a while back. There have been nearly one thousand people of who listened to every single episode of that audio journal. That just blows my mind.

It was learning this fact that helped me put my life's mission statement into words.

(Begin quoted mission statement)

My mission is to dedicate my life to Entertaining, Educating, Encouraging, and Inspiring Others! To share my passions and experiences in life in an authentic and transparent way that inspires others to make positive changes in their lives and to connect others around shared passions.

I want to be known as a follower of Jesus who authentically attempts to live out my faith (though I may fail miserably at times) in a way that engages popular culture without turning others off. I want to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that I have and to be ready to do so with gentleness and respect.

(End of quoted mission statement)

I continue to produce my Pursuing A Balanced Life podcast today. However, I while there have been a few times that I've produced episodes of that show on a daily basis, I recognize that a majority of my audio would prefer about one episode per week.

For this reason, I have always felt that there is a need for me to have the ability to quickly enter random accounts of my experiences, thoughts, feelings, fears, dreams, hopes, etc in written form whenever I feel led to do so.

In 2011, I had been given an awesome leather bound journal and a super fancy pen as a gift. For six or so moths, that year, I wrote in that little book. However, there were so many times that I either wanted to write something down, but didn't have the journal with me, or there were times when I wanted to share what I had written with the world and I had to take photos of the written pages with my phone's camera and post them as images or a PDF document. When that book was full, I simply never got around to buying a new one. I had been too spoiled by the benefits that are available by keeping things in a digital form.

I've have since made several attempts at getting back into keeping a written journal. Each time, I had decided to try to find a way to do this digitally. I never really found a system for tracking my thoughts that I enjoyed as much as a written journal. That is until now!

I'm now using the Day One application ( It's been exactly one week now and I have fallen love with this app and fallen back in love with keeping a written account of journey through life.

It's my hope that I will continue to keep this documented account of how I am intentionally living out my days, making it a goal to live, each day, the life for which I was created.