Start Documenting

Whatever kind of journal you keep, the important thing is to document what is happening in your life right now. As time passes, our memories tend to soften. Days and events blend together; recollections change. It's important to record this history now so future generations have a clear picture of what New Yorkers are going through today.



Does journaling mean writing in a blank diary? Not necessarily! You can use a diary like the one pictured if that's your style, but that's by no means the only way to capture your thoughts, feelings, and experiences about COVID-19.

  • Print: If you want to stick with paper as a medium, you can write in a notebook or on loose paper or, if you prefer to type your thoughts or reflections, you might consider typing on a typewriter if you happen to own one.

  • Digital: You could keep a digital journal, using Microsoft Word or another text program and saving it on your computer, tablet, or mobile phone; alternatively, you could consider keeping an online journal, which can be done on your device with a connection to the internet. This 2013 article has advice about keeping a secure online journal, and its recommendations are still relevant today.

Photos and Videos 

Photographs can capture the world around you and help tell the story of your experiences. For some people it may even be the best way for them to express themselves. A photo journal would be an excellent way to document your life during the pandemic, showing how things have changed for you, how you have been able to meet everyday challenges, or what you do as you go through the day.

To keep the record of your photographs in either format, label each one with the date it was taken, the location, who or what is in the photograph, and other pertinent information. Looking back at your photos years from now, that kind of information will be extremely valuable.

Some ideas to help get you started photo journaling:

  • Choose a theme or mood to help tell a consistent story.
  • Take photographs of a person or item over a certain time period.
  • Take pictures of changes in your community.


You can also keep an audio journal, recording your thoughts rather than writing them down. For advice on that practice, visit this site, Guide to Keeping an Online Journal, or check out this article on The Art of Audio Journaling

See our Blog Posts for some writing prompts and other journaling suggestions.