Some people love to write down their thoughts, ideas, and feelings; some people can’t think of anything more boring.
Right now, though, we are living in a historic time! If you’ve ever taken a history class, you know that a lot of what is known about the past is thanks to people who bothered to record the times they were living in. YOU can do that, too – even if all you do is show your writings to your kids someday!
Here are some tips on creating your COVID Journal:
#1: It doesn’t have to be fancy
You don’t have to buy a leather-bound journal and a fancy fountain pen. Any notebook and pencil will do. You also don’t have to worry about your grammar and spelling – your writings should just be legible. As for what you write, it can be poetic or plain. You can document events with long, detailed stories or short bullet point lists. Or, just open a Google Doc and start typing.
#2: It doesn’t have to be about you…
You don’t have to write, “Today, I couldn’t go to the movie theater, again, because of the coronavirus.” If you are finding quarantine life unbelievably boring, you can write about what you’re observing from the rest of the world. “Today, President Trump said…” or “Today, Gov. Evers announced his Badger Bounce Back plan…” You can also write about what you’re seeing on the internet: different rumors, funny memes, things people are doing to help one another stay healthy, safe, entertained, and informed.
#3: …but it can be!
Yes, we’re all going through this together, but your perspective is definitely unique! Write down your opinions: How the US and the world are handling the virus – or what you think should be done, or how you feel about the restrictions in place. This is not a research paper; you can make your opinions loud and clear. Even if what you think goes against the grain, it will be interesting in the future to see your viewpoints.
#4: Photos, too!
That photo you took of 89 cent gas at Kwik Trip could be “Figure 1A” in a history book someday. Document what you’re seeing: people wearing masks and gloves; signs in public encouraging social distancing; businesses “closed until further notice.” Every grocery store in the country since COVID-19 took hold has had signs by the door detailing what they are doing to flatten the curve. You could even snap a photo of your TV while watching the news – there are some crazy headlines on screen sometimes!
Be careful, though: ask permission to photograph people whenever possible, and don’t trespass! You can save your photos online to Google Drive, use a USB port, or even develop them physically. (An app called FreePrints lets you select the images from your camera roll, pay only for shipping, and voila! They are mailed to your house. This way, you’ve developed pictures without having to come in contact with someone at, say, Walgreens.)
#5: Take Screenshots!
This tip also produces images, but it is even easier than snapping a photo with your phone. If you see an ad on Instagram for face masks, save it! If you see an interesting infographic on Facebook on how to maintain your mental or physical health in quarantine, save it! If you see a viral tweet about the virus – humorous or serious – save it! There have been other outbreaks in world history, but there was no internet during the Spanish Flu in 1918. The electronic coverage of COVID-19 will be a unique aspect of its impact.
#6: Save your Writings!
Save them physically in a box you have for important documents. To take it a step further, you can scan in your writings and photos and save them on a hosting site like Google Drive. You can also back up your documents by emailing them to yourself or a friend, keeping them on a flash drive, and/or uploading them to a social media site.
Remember, YOUR perspective is unique – and it can matter for generations to come!
Story and Photos by: Grace Merkt 71.6 | 6.6
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