Journaling is a self-indulgent, narcissistic waste of time. It’s nothing more than self-administered therapy – the writer simultaneously on the couch and in the psychiatrist’s chair, endlessly picking apart the minutiae of her life to no good end. Time would be better spent alphabetizing the spice cupboard.
I have kept journals on and off since I was seven years old. My entries have ranged from copies of Shakespeare’s poems to what I did today to philosophical musings to documentation of the soap opera antics of the teenage years. I have professed love, eschewed love, and pined after lost love. I have envisioned my future, questioned my past, and reveled in my present. I have railed against the world and explored the dark and sparkling caves of my inner self. I have written letters that were never sent and scrawled meaningless sentences of disconnected prose just to keep my hand moving. I have spent a lifetime between the pages of various notebooks, sketchpads, and diaries, and I don’t count a single minute wasted.
In her book If You Want to Write (originally published in 1938), Brenda Ueland encourages writers to “Keep a Slovenly, Headling, Impulsive, Honest Diary.” She recommends letting go and letting it rip and says that by doing this, you will become a better writer.
Here are my top ten reasons why journaling will make you a better writer:
Number 10: It helps develop better writing habits. The more often you make time to put words down, the more often you will make time to put words down. Don’t wait for some Big Project, just sit down with pen and notebook and let fly with the words.
Number 9: It helps you find your voice. Writers are obsessed with discovering, developing, and refining “voice.” When you lift the expectations and just write as who you are, your unique voice will come out naturally.
Number 8: It clears your mind. In her much-loved work The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends writing “Morning Pages.” The method involves writing for a bit first thing each morning. The purpose is to clear your mind of any clutter that might clog up your creative process. Putting thoughts on paper, frees up space in your mind for the task at hand.
Number 7: It saves relationships. A journal is an excellent place to blow off steam without the risk of saying something in haste that you won’t be able to retract later. Angry at your lover? Write it down. Hating your job? Write it down. Have a secret crush on the boy next door? Well … you get the idea.
Number 6: It brings you closer to perfect. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says that to be an expert at something, you must invest at least 10,000 hours in practice. The hours you spend journaling count. Start logging pen time today.
Number 5: It improves your health. There have been a number of studies that demonstrate how people who write about their feelings (good and, especially bad) have less stress and stronger immune systems. It’s not surprising – keeping things bottled up inside is a recipe for disaster while learning about yourself is a good bet for increasing well-being and confidence.
Number 4: It creates a vast personal archive. Much of what I’ve written in my journals is schlock unfit to be read, even by me. Still, there are also many ideas and snippets that could inspire stories or articles. I’ve even included writing exercises in my journals – practicing writing dialog, description, action, etc. (Tip: If you think you’d like to go back into your journals and you’re not using a searchable software, think about creating an index so you can locate passages later on.)
Number 3: It delivers gems. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to re-read a passage and thought, “Damn! Did I write that? It’s pretty good!” When you free up your creative self and make the commitment to be completely honest and uncensored, good stuff is bound to come up. The diamonds will be buried amidst tons of rubble, but they will be there.
Number 2: It flushes out the crap. We all write crap. In another of my other favorite writing books – Bird by Bird – writer Anne Lamott talks about writing “shitty first drafts.” We all do. It’s part of the process. Journaling is the fastest, easiest way to get more of your crap onto the page so you can get on with the business of writing your best stuff.
Number 1: It alleviates the pressure to be “good.” Journaling frees you write with joy, abandon, and unbridled creativity. Writers are often hog tied by their own stress about living up to some manufactured standard. It paralyzes and stunts – sucking all the life out of our writing, leaving us with a diluted version that is limp and colorless and completely lacking in inspiration. A journal gives you permission to write without any fears, without editing, without any “shoulds.” It lets you “just” write. What a gift.
And those are my top ten reasons. What are yours?
Have you ever kept a journal? How did the practice impact your other writing? What other reasons do you think journaling is a good practice for writers?
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who, among other things, works as a marketing strategist and copywriter. She helps creative entrepreneurs (artists, writers, idea people, and creative consultants) discover their “natural” marketing groove so they can build their business with passion, story, and connection. She also blogs. A lot. She is a mom, a singer, and a dreamer who believes in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Look her up on facebook or follow her on twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.
Image Credit: Chris Blakeley
383 thoughts on “10 Ways Journaling Makes You a Better Writer”
I too am a life long journaler (although I took a break in my late twenties because I couldn’t stand what I was writing). I find journaling a really important part of my writing practice because it’s one of the only times I write with good ‘ole pen and paper. I learned this tip from Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’. Actually touching the paper and having that connection between my hand and the pen and the paper seems more personal. I know I can’t write a longer piece that way, but doing it once a day for my journal seems to help connect me to my writing again.
Thanks for a great post!
Carrie – Thanks for coming by! 🙂
I also find that I write very differently when my tools are pen and paper than when they are keyboard and screen. I’ve never been able to figure it out, but I know it to be true. I wonder if that’s why so many authors still write their first drafts longhand … to preserve that more personal connection.
That is very true! We are more connected to our inner selves when using only a pen and paper. It’s even more true when done in cursive writing. Though, that’s becoming a lost art. Now I could go into the neuroscience aspect of that, but I won’t. Thanks for the great post on journaling. I reposted it on my FB wall. 🙂
Oh, I so loved this post. Number three was my favorite. How many times have you gone back to peruse your past and been confronted by a stranger? I have moments reading my own journals where I don’t even see myself in them. It’s always interesting, and at times inspiring.
So glad to know that other people still believe in this practice. In an age of blogging and status updating, it’s easy to forget about the trusty pen and paper.
i love this post, i reblog it …. cause this is what i found when i do my blogging too 🙂 cheers
Thank you for the interesting post. I too have kept a journal for as long as I can remember. I’ve credited my journal writing with keeping me this side of sane for many years. I’ve always felt that I could not live if I were not allowed to write. Writing, like music, is vital. When a college student in a café waiting for friends to arrive, I would actually sometimes take napkins or coasters and scribble down whatever was coming to mind. I’ve always felt that if I had a pen and a piece of paper I could never be alone and never be bored. And it’s basically been true. Recently I started a new journal before a long trip that I was going to make from Paris to Hungary. The day I bought the journal, an extremely fancy Moleskin, absurdly expensive and pretentious as far as I could tell, I got stuck in a café in Paris. No longer reduced to writing on coasters or napkins, I wrote this text while stuck there. It is about that delicate relationship between pen and journal. If you’re interested I’ll share the link to that text on the blog that I created for the first time in my life to share my trip and some of my journaling with family and friends. http://wilhelminatunnels.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/stuck-in-a-cafe-in-paris-august-2nd-2010/
Thanks for this article. Reason number 4 (It creates a vast personal archive) was very useful for me. I started keeping journals during high school in a green Snoopy notebook. When I read my entries back then, I realized how much I’ve matured (well, relatively). Also, keeping journals are very helpful for forgetful people like me 😀
Thanks a lot for this article. 😀 Reason number 4 (It creates a vast personal archive) is very useful for me. I started keeping journals during high school in a green Snoopy notebook. When I read my entries back then, I realized how much I’ve matured (well, relatively). I guess I’d be saying the same for this year’s entries when I read them in a decade’s time. Also, keeping journals are very helpful for forgetful people like me 😀
All your points are well-made, Jamie. I love journaling, especially when it’s first thing in the morning (with’morning pages’) as a way to just empty the brain of whatever it has that is taking up space and getting in the way.
After I journal for 20 minutes or more, I find that ‘good stuff’ starts to surface, stuff I can use for whatever writing projects I have on hand.
Journaling, to me, is like washing the dirty dishes and clearing off the counter – making the kitchen ready for the next meal without anything to distract or slow me down. 🙂
I agree – you have to sort of warm up your writing engine – get all the coughing and spluttering out of the way – before things start humming along properly.
I’ve always read that you should write for a few minutes past the point when you think you’re done … it’s in these post-done minutes that the juiciest stuff comes out.
Love the kitchen analogy – makes a whole lot of sense.
I never thought of it that way. I will try journaling in the mornings to see how it turns out because almost every morning I wake up with tons on my mind. Hopefully it works as well for me as it has for you. Thanks
Thanks for sharing this. I came across your blog via a facebook friend. I started journaling probably as a means of coping with the emotional pain associated with my divorce ten years ago. Today, I journal for alot of different reasons which include achieving a greater self awareness of myself and the personal challenges we all face on a day to day basis. I also journal and interact with the ideas of some of the books I read. For further explanation you can check out my own recent blog entry entitled the “Art of Journaling” which I posted on my blog at http://bibaugh.blogspot.com/
Again, thanks for sharing. It’s always encouraging to find out others see value in what you are doing or experiencing…Bill
Thanks for visiting and for sharing your link. I liked how you broke down the different ways you use your journaling to explore ideas and feelings. It’s always been amazing to me how things come up on the page if you’ll just put pen to paper and let ‘er rip.
Lifelong journal writer here. I have a whole trunk full of mundane, explosive, poorly written, sparkling gems of pages. Journaling kept me writing in the days when I wasn’t writing for anyone but myself, and certainly helped me to find my voice.
Question: what does one do with all these private pages? I have told my husband to burn them in the event of my passing, since some of what is written was never meant to be seen by anyone other than myself. Thoughts?
Love Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott!
What a great question.
Like you, I have dozens and dozens of notebooks of all shapes and sizes.
In my delusional fasion, I imagine that I will one day mine each and every one to find the gems amidst the shale (it’ll give me something to do in my old age, right?), and then dispose of the rest. There are other parts of me that would like to hav a huge bonfire tomorrow and set all those words free so I can work on looking forward and not back.
The journals from my youngest days I will treasure forever and hopefully pass along to my daughter when she’s old enough to be interested in her mum’s youth.
I have also heard of people who do the journaling practice, but destroy what they’ve written immediately … almost like a cleansing. The point, for them, is not to capture the thoughts, but to let them move on.
Whatever you decide to do – good luck & I hope you keep journaling!
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I too love to journal, and agree with the points you make. I just bought a new one, too. Thank you for a great post.
Nothing like a new journal to inspire! 🙂
Enjoy your journaling journey.
I am such a lover of journaling… I really liked this post. I think it was well written and you tackle so many amazing reasons why one should journal. One of my favorite reasons to journal is often to sort out what the hell I am thinking. Sometimes I just don’t know what I want or don’t want until I actually write it. It is a way for me to confront what I don’t want to sometimes.
GREAT post, thanks 🙂
I so agree, Leah. Journaling is such a comfort for me – both personally and professionally. Anything that helps us let down our guard is, in my book, a wonderful gift.
What wonderful reminders! I’m currently blogging my way to a memoir about my recovery from bipolar disorder, and if it weren’t for my piles and piles of journals, the story would be harder to recreate–amen to personal archive!
And congrats o FP-ed! Hang on for the ride!
What an amazing story you must have to tell. I imagine your journals must contain a wealth of information and huge chunks of your story. How wonderful that you took the time to write them during your passage through that difficult time. What a treasure for you to have as a writer.
Good luck with the memoir!
PS – TKS for the congrats! 🙂 Wheeeee!
Oh, good heavens! So am I!
How many of us are out here, writing our way to mental wellness?
Journaling is what I turned to after going through electro-convulsive therapy. I lost my marriage, my job, my home and my memory. I had journaled all my life, and it was the thread that pulled me back to myself.
I’m sorry now that I burned years of journals awhile back. They would have helped me reconstruct the life I can’t remember on my own.
Thanks, Jamie, for the lovely post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.
I would love to keep an honest journal but I am so bad at it because I tend to start and then I get bored! As my handwriting gets messier my motivation begins to end…I am currently living in the middle east and have tried to blog, but not religiously…I tend to waft. But I know that I will regret not keeping notes on my experiences that I cannot publish on line. I admire people who are so consistent in journaling.
Thanks for sharing and inspiring me to begin a journal.
The Purple Penguin? I’m intrigued. 😉
If I have helped nudge you towards giving journaling another go, I am glad.
I love to journal long hand, but I can totally relate to the misery of illegible handwriting (not to mention the finger cramps!). That’s why I do switch things up and use a digital journal at time. LifeJournal is an inexpensive option (for PC only, I think) that I’ve used from time to time. I like that it makes my entries searchable.
Even if you can’t journal “long” form entries, try to just capture a sentence here and there. Play with using additional types of media (photos, sketches, ticket stubs) … whatever feels good to you for capturing the moment. Even if you use few words, you will have kept the spark of the day alive and that will make it easier to return to later.
Purple Penguin – Love penguins and love the color purple
congrats on being FP’d. it led me to this post, which is so spot on. i’ve been journaling in some form or another since i was 5 [many, many years ago]. and yet i’m always amazed at how much further i can go with it. i’ve been using Sandy Grason’s Journalution to help me work through some tough times. her exercises really make you look at your insides.
and i too have often wondered what to do with all the journals i’ve filled. if/when i become a famous writer, i certainly don’t want to have them published! 🙂
and i am one of those writers who writes everything longhand first. i keep a separate journal for my novel writing, but if the mood strikes me i’ll write stuff down anywhere! then when i “type it up” on my computer, i can edit and refine as i go. i’m currently in the middle of my “shitty first draft”, and without morning pages first it would be even worse!
thanks so much for this post! 🙂
Kristen – I’m so glad you found us! 🙂
I’ll have to check out Journalution … that’s new to me and sounds very interesting.
I can “hear” your love of journaling and creating in your words. I find that most people who journal are just in love with life – we want to capture as much of the experience and the world around us as possible. Though some entries may be “dark,” they are part of the whole deal, so to speak. Like you, I have plenty of notebooks and even more scribbled notes. I try to contain them (mostly so I don’t lose them), but I have a huge collection of “snippets” on scraps of paper. Someday I’ll sort them out … maybe.
Congrats on being FP-ed!
It’s always nice to hear that your compulsions are actually useful! I still have many notebooks and sketchbooks with drawings and badly spelled stories from my childhood (to be fair I just learned to read and write ;)).
Once I lost my journal (I just started my first job and was working long hours and commuting a lot) and I was so relieved to write again when I found it, that I vowed I would never ever misplace my journal again…!
I haven’t written anything worthy for my blog (or anywhere else for that matter) in a while, but I’ve been keeping my journal- can’t live without it!
“I haven’t written anything worthy for my blog (or anywhere else for that matter) in a while, but I’ve been keeping my journal- can’t live without it!”
The beauty of a journal is that everything you write is worthy of your journal. If you were compelled to write it down, it deserves to have a life there.
I would have panicked if I’d ever lost a journal. Oh, the things I’ve written in those books that NO ONE should ever read. Yipes! Glad you recovered yours!
I love this post! I’ve kept a journal on and off since I was 12, but I’ve been writing daily since December 2009. I smiled when you mentioned creating an index, because I’ve definitely done that. There’s no control + f in a journal, after all!
Congrats on Freshly Pressed (:
LOL – an indexer after my own heart. Thanks for admitting that. 🙂
I’ve actually attempted to create digital indexes in journaling software so that I could locate passages in my handwritten journals. In the end, the process was too tedious (I have SO many journals!) and I gave up.
TKS for the congrats and for stopping by. Happy journaling!
I love this … and I love the fact that blogging has taken journaling in a whole new direction. For me, at least…
Writing is my passion, my art, my craft — and my therapy! So when I started going through a crazy divorce, I journaled a ton. It is only recently (about 7 months ago) that I transitioned the journal into the blogosphere, and I’m having a great time with it!
The aspect that makes blogging more fun (for me) than journaling: feedback!
So while I still journal on occasion, I love the freedom to express myself online. It’s cathartic, and it has definitely allowed me to find my voice.
Happy to have you in the blogosphere!
I agree – private journals have a lot going for them, but the feedback you can get from a blog is great (case in point – all the lovely comments here today!). That interaction definitely inspires writers – it’s like a little shot of adrenaline that keeps you going through the long stretches of quiet. 😉
Thanks for putting a little noise into my quiet day!
I keep a journal. Well, I keep an old spiral-bound notebook, anyway. Journaling allows me to “flush out the crap,” as you say. I write down to-do lists, grocery lists, and reminders–and then when I sit down to write a blog post or an essay, my mind isn’t distracted by whether or not I need to buy cheese.
I LOVE that. Personally, I’m often distracted by thoughts of cheese … and chocolate … and …
what was I saying?
Congrats on being freshly pressed! I kept a journal all through my teen years, although I only do it occasionally now. I truly credit that experience with all of my success in writing.
I think number 10 and number 6 in your list are too often overlooked when it comes to writing. Writing effectively is a habit I would NOT like to fall out of. I think if I ever did, I simply fall to pieces.
Great post, great thoughts–well done! 🙂
Hi, Jessica. Thank you! 🙂
TKS for calling those two out. I think journaling doesn’t get enough credit as a training tool for writers. Even if you’re just barreling through a free-form brawl of words and thoughts, you are still working on your writing process and voice. Each word counts – no matter where you put it down.
Here’s to never falling out of the writing habit!
Thank you so much for posting this. The principal reason to blog is improve upon my writing and find my voice. Also, I want to examine issues and topics are not necessarily news worthy. Thanks again!
You’re very welcome. I hope you found some inspiration in the post.
Good luck with your writing and finding your voice. Journaling will help!
Congrats on being FP!
I also keep a journal. For me, it’s a lot like a pianist playing scales or a dressage rider trotting over poles. It’s not glamorous or fun, but it helps develop skills over time. It’s a great way to write something every day. I will be referring back to this post, I’m sure.
Howlin’ Mad? Is that mad-angry or mad-crazy? 😉
Your mention of trotting over dressage poles brought back my memories of riding. It’s a sport I long to get back to (and will … eventually).
I actually kept a separate “riding” journal that I wrote in after each lesson – at first to capture the technical aspects of my lesson, but I soon found that there were so many life lessons woven into my training. I often thought it would make a great book if I collected all those journal entries together, but … perhaps another day. I’m just glad I have the info there if I ever decide to write it, but mostly I’m grateful for the way the journaling process helped me see and appreciate the deeper lessons of riding.
(TKS for the congrats.) 🙂
Hi Jamie – Congrats on making it to FP, and thank you for this very helpful post! I’ve kept a journal for years – threw 30 journals away in a fit of stupidity a few years ago, and am still kicking myself for it. Your post has inspired me to get back to journaling. Thank you for that!
Miss Fitz – I’m so glad to hear you’ll be getting back to journaling! 🙂
I have never thrown out any journals (ouch!), but I did throw out a shoebox full of love letters from my school days. I often wish I’d kept them – in part because they would be great research material for a story about kids that age, and in part because one of my amours from back then came back into my life 4 years ago and is now my steady beau. I’d LOVE to have those notes back – just for fun!
Lovely blog entry, thank you! My journal entries have become more stilted as I’ve grown older. In my youth, I drew pictures, folded and tucked postings or clippings into the book, and my handwriting expressed my emotion with multiple underlines and rabid caps and excessive punctuation. (!!!)
We should all remember that our journals are a place for us to tell our stories back to ourselves in ways other than plain words and sentences.
YES – YES – YES!!!
I’ve done a little work creating altered books and the experience was so much fun. Being able to express with words AND pictures, color, etc … it actually opened up my written word to a place that felt more free and whimsical.
Sometimes it’s good to get out from between the lines and just play.
Writing in a journal has certainly helped my relationships! Journaling is a much better sounding board than talking to a friend or just blurting things out to the boyfriend. Whenever people say that journaling is narcissistic, I ask them what is narcissistic about thinking critically about life and relationships. More people should.
Agreed! If more people wrote before they spoke, the world would be a happier, saner place.
I hated the idea of keeping a journal until my English teacher in the ninth grade had our class do them. The “daybooks” were a requirement, and I despised her for it then!
Now, I thank her…journaling/daybooking is one of the best things that I’ve ever done for myself.
Viva la pen!
So glad I read this!
It reinforces my reasons to continue writing my inner babble down somewhere. Flushing out the good, the bad and the ugly is simply put – a must.
Great post and great advice!
Yes! Babble is essential. You have to go through the babble to get to the good stuff – no question.
Keep on writing it ALL down.
As someone who is new to novel writing, I like number six. I wrote a daily journal growing up so I have got to be close to that 10,000 by now.
I wouldn’t call myself an expert writer at all, but I think I am near expert at writing teen angst. Which brings me closer right?
Absolutely! Each word counts – each word brings you closer to where you want to be. We can’t help but learn – about the craft, our voice, the process – when we write, write, and write some more.
Ahh … teenage angst. I’ve got plenty of those pages in my personal history. They kind of make me laugh now, but back then – whoa!
Keep writing and have fun with it!
Thanks your opinion. I really need more guidance to improve my writing skill, even though my blog is mainly a comics journal. But I always have hard time to tell a story in words.
Journaling can help you as a form of practice. Try not to have any expectations. Just play with it.
I agree. Journaling is good for you all around. I started writing my thoughts down in middle schoole, and have continued through out the years. 🙂
Yep. So many benefits, it’s a wonder everyone doesn’t do it.
this is excellent, I especially like numbers 3 and 2
Gems and crap – great combo.
TKS for coming by!
I love the idea that a journal gives you permission to just write. Since i started using a writers notebook on a daily basis i’ve found the freedom and comfort it creates really motivational.
Freedom is key to enjoying what you do. Love that your writers’ notebooks are motivating you.
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Based on the number of mommy-oriented blogs in existence, I’d say journaling makes for saner mothers too. Counting myself among them.
Amen to that!
Ok. THAT IS THE BEST POST EVER! Nice page.
What a nice thing to say.
This was an awesome, enjoyable post. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told how pointless it is to journal; but as you so eloquently stated, it’s totally worth it!
Thanks for such a pleasant read! (:
No act of self-expression is pointless. Even if it only has an audience of one.
Thanks for coming by!
Great post and congratulations on fp.
A friend recommended to me another book by Julia Cameron. Its sheer title persuaded me to write. and. often. Cameron’s The Right to Write, gave me the permission to step up my production daily, several times a day and at certain times of the day. Journaling is our right and voice to writing.
(When I’m not writing I engage in making all kinds of mental lists: topics, places, characters, metaphors, all sorts of associations.)
I hadn’t heard of that book – thanks for the tip … I’ll definitely check it out!
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So glad to see this posted. Having journaled for the last seven years, I was losing faith in the chronicling of humanity.
Never lose faith!
I have never maintained a journal. I do write “emotional situational” poetry. This calms me. This is my reality check in processing and resolving issues. When my children were teens; this type of poetry helped me maintain my sanity. It is beneficial to the soul.
Absolutely, These are the most sufficient ways, writing is a challenging ! especially When you try your hardest to refine your voice as you said . I love writing because it is interesting and it makes me feel better.
As for me it’s very challenging because I am a native Arabic speaker which means that I face troubles in forming sentences and how words revolving in my head between Arabic as a first language and English as a second one !
But it could stop me not from loving it !
What a great post! I kept a journal when I was in high school and got away from it when someone else read it. I am just starting to “let go” again but am cautious. I love the #1 reason. It fits me to a “t”!
Do you prefer “pen and paper” or a computer program and what journaling software do you like?
Thanks so much for sharing this post.
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My name is Heather and I happened to come across this blog post and I immediately clicked on it because I saw the words “writing” and “journal”. These two words stick to me like a pen sticks to a piece of paper when a very interesting story or writing piece is about to come to life!
Anyway, I’m seventeen years old and I’ve been writing since I was about nine or ten years old. I’ve been keeping journals and diaries since I was little, all I knew how to do was constantly write. Many of my family members would always talk about how I always had a notebook with me everywhere I went and I was always writing in it.
Journaling has always been very theraputic for me and I have yet to stop writing. I don’t think I ever will stop to be honest with you. 🙂 Writing is just too great for me.
Recently, I’ve slipped away from journaling on paper and I’ve been writing all my thoughts and things I would normally write in my journal on my blog. I’ve enjoyed blogging quite a lot that I prefer that now-a-days.
I agree with all your reasons you have listed about how keeping a journal makes you a better writer. It has done all these things for me. I would tell you my reasons of how it’s helped me, but I’d only be repeating you. 🙂 As I read through this post, I nodded my head as I read all ten of the reasons.
I just wanted to share with you that I highly agree with you and your post is very interesting. I will never stop writing for as long as I live, and this post only strengthened my want to keep writing.
I thank you.
All good and true! Thanks for taking the time to think it through and publish your findings!
Any writing is good writing. As long as you keep the creativity flowing without editing yourself too heavily, it can be very productive. The idea behind writing a journal is to collect your thoughts, not to brag to the world. I have several journals from my trips that I’ve never actually read. There’s something about putting down the words on paper that imbeds it deeper into your memory. Nice article.
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Great post. I agree and like your reasons. Thanks for sharing your insights. I’m going to bookmark this!
I’ve expressed some like thoughts on the journaling issue, but I tend to be a bit sarcastic.
I can strongly agree with reason #7. My journals have all taken quite a verbal lashing, and also a journal doesn’t judge you if your thoughts would otherwise be deemed too idealistic, naive, or even selfish. Does anyone have any research or thoughts relating to keeping a handwritten journal versus typing one? I am starting to feel like I would like to go back to my sloppy but comforting paper and pen journal, but worry that my laziness will keep me from writing as often. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Wow, I’ve never thought about it that way. Journaling is like a hobby for me; I never thought it could improve my “serious” writing. I especially like reason #1 – I’ve always found that when I sit myself down and tell myself to write brilliance, I write worthless nonsense. Thanks for the insight! 🙂
Love it! Great post. Thank you for reminding me of all the reasons I used to journal in the first place. Recently I stopped journaling because I needed to focus on my writing as a potential career.
I have so many blank spaces and minutes of sitting, staring at my computer screen. Perhaps this will help me leap the hurdle.
I thank my lucky stars everyday for this wonderful invention called the Internet. Without it, I would not have access to some many creative forces live you and your team of writers. It’s great to connect with other writers who are willing to share their experiences and successes. Your reasons for journaling mirror my own and confirm I am on the right path to fulfilling my writing goals.
I keep two blogs for journalling, and have kept diaries since i was a teenager. I’ve published one book based on some of my dairies, and in the midst of writing a second. Free writing and journalling really do have many benefits. great post.
I have found this article very good because it presents me excellent details about how to improve my writing. I am a young person who loves books and writing; I want to be one someday. And as you mention here, I do journalist every day. I always get Coelho’s agenda and use it to write, since it inspirers me. Also I have a blog here in wordpress, but in Spanish, English is my second language. So thank you for you very good advises. I know if I keep writing I will improve it more and so day I will write for publishing.
About all the points, the one I identify the most is the number 3, since I dore- read again what I wrote before and sometimes I find very good thoughts, and surprise with myself.
To read what ones have written is very good, for me I started writing when I was a teenager, so reading my thoughts helped me to understand myself better and see how much I mature, therefore it help my emotional health.
Congratulations on making it to FP!!
I agree with all of your points but especially #1 and #3. I’m like you also that sometimes the urge to move my hand overtakes my capability to write something “proper” and writing in my journal lets me indulge myself without pressure to make something “good”.
Thank you for sharing your list 🙂
I’ve been journaling since I was sixteen. It’s where I found my voice as a writer and it’s where I could write when I couldn’t write anywhere else.
Occasionally there’s a feeling that you’re not really writing when you’re writing in a journal, but it’s not true. It all counts. It gets you to where you need to be and gets things out that would otherwise stay in. Not only that but I’ve had bouts of journal writing result in story writing.
Good post. Thanks for sharing.
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All of the above reasons are terrific. My personal favorites are 1, 3, 4 and 10. It’s quite interesting to see other reactions. Glad that this post struck a personal chord with so many. Kudos!
I always remember hearing that a thought is not fully realised until it is expressed – you have to speak it or write it for a thought to be complete. Journaling seems an ideal way to realise many thoughts without having to frame them – like saying “This is my idea for a novel, I’d better construct it as an outline” or, “This is a poem, I need to find rhymes…”. With your journal, you can simply write it down as it occurs to you and evaluate and refine it later…if you want to.
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.
I think everything, including writing, is learned by practice, practice, practice, and journaling is just one more way of getting writing practice.
I’ve become an avid journal-er and find that I enjoy it more with each passing day. Last year, as a “just because” gift, my husband bought me a 10-year journal. At first I didn’t think I would like it because there are just four lines per day for 10 years. But on days that a few words, phrases or comments is all I can muster, it’s perfect. When I have more time or more material I want to put to paper, I have a regular journal next to my bed and reading chair.
Most recently, while cleaning out a closet, I found my journal from the year I moved to Texas and became “serious” about the man I would eventually call my husband. While most of my journals are private, and very personal reflections, I’m so thankful I have these memories.
Yay for journaling (and blogging!)
blessings to all 🙂
I’ve kept a journal since 7th grade, even off and on before that. I love the joy I get from journaling, for all the reasons you’ve named. I love it so much, I’d say its an identifying characteristic about me. The wonderful thing about journaling is that it can adapt to whatever your need is. So I have, of course, middle school journals that are all about boys, but I also have journals full of poetry, or a year of gratitudes. Thank you for encouraging journaling, I’ll probably do a post on the topic myself soon!
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I’ve kept a journal since I was about 10 years old – it’s amazing, and without it, I’m not sure I would’ve gotten through those turbulent adolescent years as well as I did. I agree that it makes you a better writer too, by forcing you to practice, and that it’s great as a form of therapy. I think so much stress could be saved if only more people journaled 🙂
I love the physical act of putting ink on paper. I love the solitude. I love how writing my thoughts gives me time to meditate on what I’m writing, and leads me to another thought. Writing is comfort to me.
Journaling has been a big part of my life, and even though they contain mostly mundane accounts of daily life, prayers and thoughts, I can’t get rid of my journals. They’re piling up in a closet, and I can’t decide whether to burn them before I die, or leave them behind for others to see who I really was.
I’ve loved reading your post, as well as the comments. Obviously people who keep journals have a lot of personality traits in common.
Thanks for a great post!
This was really good. I always have a notebook going of completely random things – song lyrics, passages from books, my own random thoughts, things that happened in a dream, etc. It’s interesting to go back and look over it all and see what was going on in your brain a month or even years ago.
Love this, but I hadn’t enough time to read it all… I’ll come back soon.
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This is the best post I’ve ever read in Fresh Pressed. Ever. It spells out why I’m doing what I’m doing….slogging along with my blog and some days wondering why I’m even doing it. Thank you. Great post!
S’ good to not be singin’ songs in this shower all alone.
I enjoy bein’ in here with ya ‘all. The Lyrical soap is nuthin’ but good! Muchas Gracias, Amigos.
Wow, this is an amazing post. I often find myself journaling just for the sake of emptying my mind.
It’s like clearing my recycling bin.
I used to be up to date with my journal, but hand cramps got the best of me and I find that blogging or keeping a digital journal is much easier on the hands.
This is pretty good
I have kept journals from the time I learned to write (musings about my favourite animals or theme parks or pretty flowers) until now (rantings about the frustrations of everyday life), and I have never stopped! I find that it always helps me to cool down after a brief period of rage, or to sort out my thoughts. To be honest, journaling is one of the few things I started and haven’t given up on.
Nice post and thanks for sharing!
Good Evening Jamie –
WOWOWO! Sincerely, this is the best Freshly Pressed blog I’ve ever read. Thank you so much for this. Your blog has made my Friday night > GREAT! 🙂
What a beautiful post! I have written crazed musings all my life, and it’s only now as an adult that I am able to live without the fear of younger siblings’ prying eyes! Some of that stuff is definitely NOT fit for outside viewing!
Thanks for the inspiration – I will continue to write my life away, and hopefully one day some of it will be novel-worthy…
I like #6. “It gets you closer to perfect” 🙂
I think journaling is great because it comes from a place of passion, which is ultimately where great writing comes from. Journals are a huge resource for short stories and poems, at least, that’s what I’ve found.
Thanks for your post. Oddly enough, I don’t journal, although my father and one of my brothers did/does religiously. I do keep a planner, and this serves some of these functions. But I started blogging last October, and though I don’t write every day, I try to blog several times a week. It is not in any sense a journal, or only occasionally and accidentally. Mostly it is a blog about whatever is on my mind on any given day. But I definitely see the benefit of regular writing, and I hope to improve in quality and quantity with time.
A good list, and good advice!
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I enjoyed reading your take on journaling. Your reply to your first comment caught my eye. You said you write differently with pen and paper, and many authors have first drafts that are handwritten. Even though I am so new to the world of blogging, all my posts so far were on paper first. I started wondering why I do this, and why I can’t just get on here and type like the rest of the world does. Thanks for restoring some form of normalcy to my view of self. Lol! Does this mean I’m an author? Ha, ha!
I write differently with pen and paper, too–different from keyboard and Word page. I also write differently with pencil and paper than pen and paper!
So many great tips!
Love this post. I especially appreciate #1. I keep a notebook or two on me at all times, so I can write down whatever ideas pop into my head. If an idea is interesting, I’ll write a few lines, or maybe a few pages. Or maybe I’ll just jot down a phrase and come back to it later. No pressure.
Starting a new Word file with a title and purpose and a completely blank page? Pressure.
Yes, those blank Word pages can be very frustrating! Especially when I want to write. NO. When I HAVE to write. And then there’s the blank page. Staring at me. Sniggering.
I guess that’s when you pull out a journal.
Excellent post. I’m more of a sporadic journaler. Sometimes I have problems writing with abandon because I’ve read published journals that sound as if they were perfect.
But I suppose it’s good to remember all that you’ve mentioned already.
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I find it SOOO true.
#7. My mother would always want a letter as a present on her birthday or Christmas instead of other material things.
And I guess I should better start practicing now. I’ve always wanted to write a book.
A letter! What a good idea!
Journaling is not only for writers or wanna-be writers like I am. It is a cathartic endeavor. Sometimes, I am prompted by a ‘spirit’ to write in the wee hours of the morning – afraid of losing the spark. Sometimes I never write at all. But all the time I stash the pages away. Because I am crazily obsessed with the thought of dying and if I die anytime, I don’t want people to read my life and judge me. The only thing I am keeping is my last will – my written instructions to my family about how to go about my funeral in details. I know its crazy.
Sometimes I am most creative in the wee hours of the night! That is, until my mind gets too tired.
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Number 9 is my favorite among the 10 reasons. I want to Like this post over and over again though it makes me regret how I never really journaled my almost twenty years of existence. Thank you for this very very very inspiring entry. 🙂
AWESOME POST! now i’m determined to blog moooooore! thanks!
Interesting. So I wasn’t conceited after all! I like number 3 a lot. Whenever I’m cleaning my room, I always have this urge to re-read past written entries and I surprisingly find it entertaining! What a life…to be entertained by your own past self.
This was excellent write up, I do keep a journal but not regularly. I don’t know why, but for me thoughts flow freely on a keyboard. Thanks.
You can have a journal on the computer!
Yes, for me, too, thoughts sometimes flow freer on a keyboard. It also doesn’t tire my hands as quickly! 🙂
But sometimes I need paper.
This is great advice and a very healthy outlook I think. As someone who used to keep a diary when I was young, I’ve enjoyed revisiting it and embarrassing myself! I’m going to try to get back in the habit.
i love this post!!
“Number 7: It saves relationships”… its my favourite!! i have really been able to let out things which bothered me a lot by writing when there’s no one to listen to what i really feel….
i don’t know when i started to love writing, i think it was since my 7th standard. I had started to write about how i would like my DREAMGUY to be!! 🙂
Now i have got many pages full of things which makes me laugh, cry, remember some special moments…
some pages are very embarrasing!!
i write a lot though i am not a good writer. There are times i find myself pouring my thoughts on a paper till the wee hours of night…
Right now, my work schedule doesnt give me much time for journalising.
thanks for this post!! i feel like writing up a journal again 🙂
I did not keep any, but my better kept diaries of all the expenses we incurred since we met, meticulously for 30 odd years! Those are our journals now to relive the days, find references and discuss relationships. Not a bad idea. Congrats on making it to the front page alongside the Royals.
Ever since I started writing I am beginning to discover that there is so much that we can share with people all over the world. And it is so much fun and creative:)
When I first started blogging I had almost no idea what I was going to write. Just–anything. Now though I have ideas. There is so much we can share!
On bad days of a blank and stubborn mind, though, there is still some question of what to write. “Can I force anything?”
Hi, I’m a 15 year old girl. I like to write poems and articles. I’ve really an intrest in writing. Truly, all your tips are very useful for me. thank you very much!
Congrats on being freshly pressed…good job on the post. Sadly, I am not one who writes in a journal. I’ve tried (and failed) at keeping a good journal. My mindset was on a daily entry written in which I can never keep up with. Though I’ve done alternative methods in venting out emotions, ideas and what not. Maybe I’ll truly discover the joy of a journal one day.
i like your article. Good for writers
I chanced upon this on Freshly Pressed and im blown away with the interesting articles here.
efinitely two thumbs up!
As someone who’s hoping to fulfil her dreams of being a writer some day, these tips are truly encouraging.
Keep them coming!
Great article, thanks. I would say that even if there was no other benefit than the first one, that of developing good writing habits, it would be worth it. Maybe most writers have more self discipline than I do but on bad days, there is nothing like just getting something, anything, down. Journalling is a way of doing that in bite sized pieces as far as I am concerned.
Tonya, just to give you one person’s answer to the question you posed, I actually keep my journal on my laptop. I know that could create problems for some people or not even be seen as a ‘real’ journal. We all write differently. But I send it periodically to myself to a gmail account which is password protected and then delete it from my computer.
So it’s still there and it’s also destroyed! I may one day give someone the password to use when I am gone or I may not. I’m not ready to make that decision yet. But it’s written, sent, out of my mind yet still accessible one day should I want it. Just one person’s solution for what it’s worth.
Thanks for the share! 🙂
Whenever I tell people that I write, they snub their noses up at me as if writing is a pointless act. To me it is art – and I use it to express who I am and what I aspire to be. Starting my blog has helped me immensely…especially with getting confidence in my writing from strangers reading and complimenting my work. Writing is an art-form and always will be.
I know–blogging has helped me, too, gain confidence in my writing.
When only friends and relatives comment (and they always say, “Oh, that’s good.” or “Wonderful!” “I liked that.”) I get doubtful. After all, they love you. What are they going to do, hurt your feelings? 🙂
But when people I have not even seen say, “I love that!” it’s nice.
When I was in school, I wrote daily. I didn’t write much, sometimes a paragraph, sometimes a page but I always made the time to write. So many years later, I realized it had made me a more eloquent writer and has been one of the major reasons for performing well in courses at universities.
Now that it has been a few years of breaking that habit, I realize my writing is struggling. Since I dream of one day writing a book, I recently restarted that habit – and chanced upon wordpress. 🙂
Lovely article. Thanks for motivating me even more 😀
Congrats on being freshly pressed! I have kept various diaries and journals throughout life, recording everything from raw emotions to working through life decisions, sadness, heartbreak, etc…. The process of writing has allowed me to think my way through things – which is important as I tend to be an impulsive person. When I returned to University in my late 30’s my writing took on a whole new perspective. Love the process, absolutely love it.
this is great!! I journal every week at one of my favorite cafe’s and it gives me a lot of joy and respite. I have a child with a disability so I call it my therapy!! However I’m and artist and writer and I agree with you about bits that can be used later for something else!!!
I really enjoyed reading this!
Absolutely wonderful post! I too have kept a journal since I was 7 or so, but I started an “official” online journal in 2001 and still write in it regularly. I often go back to read what I wrote and it’s like reading my own autobiography that is constantly being updated. Sometimes I come upon something written x years ago and I’d go…”WOW did I really write that back then!? Was I really that immature?” or “That’s SO true even today!” I would laugh and giggle at some entries but pause and think when I read others, reflecting on the circumstances under which I wrote them. At times the words sting me in the heart and feelings come gushing back at me from all those years ago. It’s a marvellous thing! I think over the years the journal has definitely honed my writing skills and carved me into the writer that I am today, with my own style and “voice”, as you said. Thank you for sharing this inspirational post!
what can make non-writer a genius but i believe is the ability to read more and love what you do most.
Brilliant! What can I say? If everyone on Earth read this article, we’d have the whole human race keeping journals in no time. And becoming better people!
I started keeping a journal when I was five and although I got in trouble for something I wrote in it, It didn’t keep me from writing. I admit I have drifted away from my journal from time to time, But I have always come back!
Great Post! Thanks for the reminder!
I my day, journals were called diaries that were stowed in your underwear drawer only to be discovered my your mother when she put the laundry away…..
I love this post! Thank you.
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This is a truly cool post and thanks for sharing, Jamie. I love writing and writing for me is therapeutic. Although I do not have a journal, I use a blog as a place to express my views on issues via online. Congrats for being freshly pressed.
Thanks for this, Jamie. Great advice. I might call myself an in-my-head journaler. I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to transform thoughts and ideas into complete sentences and even paragraphs, and memorising them with the intent of writing it down later. When I do get the chance to write it down it comes out different! Am I alone in this?
Oh! Sometimes I “write” the best passages in my head! And then later (even only a few minutes later), when I get the paper and pencil, it gets muddy and messed up.
It’s not such a diamond anymore. More like quartz.
Or maybe… it’s that when it’s down on paper I realize that it truly wasn’t that good! 😉
Thanks Jessie, you summed up precisely what I was trying to say but you showed me I still have much work to do. Cheers!
Great article. I have experienced most of these points while journaling. I have journaled with a fountain pen and on the computer. Both have their advantages. It has been fun to read my thoughts on different anniversaries.
This post is amazing! May I link back to this on my post here: http://vanessajaded.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/background-story
Great, great post.
Loved this post, linked through WordPress’s “freshly pressed.” I was a big-time journaler from early teens through mid 20s. Dropped it when life’s angst kindly loosened its grip (perhaps the years of journaling self-therapy worked). Now I am food blogging, and it feels a lot like journaling did — still passionate, though from a much more positive and fun place. Thanks for your tips — I’ve taken note!
This helps a lot. Not that I don’t journal because I’ve been doing it for a very long time, but I have always wanted to get my work published and this post put a little more inspiration and positivity into my game. I am blogging about letting out some long overdue emotions but am a writer as well and I will continue to do so no matter what the outcome. 🙂
I love this blog post!
When I was younger I often went abroad and to this day I can’t really remember the holidays. However, I went to Paris one year and each night wrote a long, jam-packed entry in my diary; because of this my memory of Paris is still so clear in my mind. It always reminds me that journals can enhance daily experiences by not allowing you to forget them.
This is a great site – I’m so glad it got freshly pressed so that I could stumble across it!
Many thanks, Lucy W.
You write very good!
I too have journaled from the time I could write. My early journaling was tossed as we moved from place to place. I have kept my journals for the last 17 years. They now fill up a bookshelf. I loved your post. I am now journaling my dance with cancer and the aftermath. Join me anytime. Congrats on being freshly pressed.
I’ve tried journaling on and off but I’ve never kept it up with the thought that as a fiction writer, I wasn’t writing novels and stories about myself, so what was the point of journaling? Your post, however, has go me re-thinking this, especially Numbers 10 & 1.
I LOVE JOURNALING! I HAVE SO MANY JOURNALS!
I try to write in a journal. It is hard to find time and do it consistently.
But a journal for me is such a relief–I can just write what I think about the world, or what my favorite ice cream is and why, or why I think something happened. Something that no one else would even care about, and I don’t care that much, I just think about it. It’s a way of just talking on paper. Nobody has to listen. Only myself, perhaps, if I read it over.
And I wince at passages with too little information or background. Thankfully, I’m the one who wrote that, so I know the background. No, my journal will never (and because it’s not really that much of a gem of writing probably should never) be published.
Of course, maybe my great-grandchildren… 😉
I always have trouble journalling because I have trouble writing to no one.
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Really great writing post! I journal on and off but you’ve inspired me to stay ON :). Thanks! K
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I’ve found that if I don’t make any rules for myself, like, “You can only write at this time with this pen on these days for this long”, I write a lot more and a lot better. I can’t stick to all those rules, so I just give up. Finally, I decided that carrying my journal and pencil box in my purse everywhere I go makes it so much easier.
Not to mention the fact that I think my classmates now identify me as the girl with a big purse full of pencils and books, which is always kind of a fun label!
Thank you for making this list, you totally made my day! And (shameless plug starts now) if anybody wants to check out my so-called “writing” blog, I’d appreciate the visit! (I’m really sorry, by the way, for pushing my blog on your page, that’s kind of rude… I’m sorry)
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I started keeping a journal freshman year of high school for two reasons – I wanted to remember it, and I wanted the material. As a writer, I’ve found that the craziest characters and conversations are usually sitting next to me. So I have them all bound up in a book whenever I need them.
I definitely struggle with writing. Sometimes my ideas tend to be all over the place. And I struggle to keep a nice flow. Any advice?
Loved your post!
Writing is fun, especially poems, I like writing on hope.
The best part is definitely getting out what’s in your heart into set of words constructed to sentences.
In such a widespread network, you are highly likely of finding like-minded people.
i think i’m going to start a journal. i’ve been thinkingo of the pro’s and con’s of having a journal…and i have decided that there really aren’t any cons, and this post is what caused that decision. thank you.
Thank you for your post! I have kept a journal regularly since 2000 (and by regularly, not every day unfortunately). It is so interesting to see how my writing has improved, as have my “voice” as you put it. I heartily agree that keeping a journal should be a must, even if its a small pocket-sized booklet for those less inclined to fell ink in their blood.
I started blogging for this very reason. It’s my segway from the (many, many) journals I’ve kept since a very young age to the (someday … maybe … maybe) dream so many of us have of being recognized for our writing.
One of my readers told me that reading my blog was like reading a ‘girls diary’, which I suppose is exactly that. It isn’t the processed and publishable material I’d someday want to offer; it is instead the blather, crap, the working behind what might turn out to be writing. 🙂
Thank you for this – it feels to me as if you’ve summed up what I’m trying to do. Write, write, write … hopefully someday exposing the diamond that might be underneath.
This has helped remind me of why people keep diarys’ and the reasons for doing so, I’m awful at keeping one and haven’t had one for years, the one I did keep, I only wrote into it when I was stressed or down and rereading it makes me quite down.
People who do manage to keep one for any lengthy amount of time always amaze me.
But instead of a diary I do something similar with a sketchbook, I date my drawings and write a comple of sentences about why I drew what I drew and what I am doing at the time. I always like looking back over them.
Thank you, it was a nice interesting post to read.
I’ve actually done The Artist’s Way and finished the 12 week program. I can’t say that I kept up with the morning pages but I have replaced it with a daily blog so I feel like I am doing a little writing every day. But so many of those top 10 are true. I do feel like it’s a good source of therapy and it’s not totally self-indulgent. Great entry, Thanks!
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Great thoughts on writing – and I totally agree with the top 10. I do most of them myself. But get this, I don’t do it by journalling. Why? I couldn’t get into the discipline of that particular sort of writing. It’s a personal thing. I write every day though – mostly on the books or features I’m writing. Sometimes I’ll deliberately work through a stylistic exercise – consciously pushing the envelope. Mainly to see where it goes. Personally I think it’s hard to go past your top 10 reasons for journalling – and that they apply to all writing. But I’d also add:
1. Great writing isn’t taught – once the rudiments are there, the real craft can only be learned with practise. How to get better? I write something every single day. Without fail. I don’t set a word target. Writing should be a joy. The words should fall from the mind in a cascade – not struggle to meet a target. (Though that’s sometimes necessary when deadlines press).
2. I’m brutally self-critical. I don’t fall in love with what’s down there in black-and-white. Are those words any good? I’ll stick them in a drawer. Come back later – yeah, they’re rubbish, right? Then I’ll write them again.
3. To me, the medium frames a writer’s thoughts. Stuff drafted on computer is different from what an author might write in pen-and-ink. Personally, I usually sketch stuff out in pen-and-ink, then draft it on the computer, then work through printouts. It’s amazing the difference it makes.
Writing is a fabulous, fabulous field. It’s all good, thanks for your thoughts on journaling – and congrats on being freshly pressed.
wow. i really need that.. i am a journalists in our school but not a good writer.. ’cause i’m just a photojournalists. ^^
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Bravo! I’ve always held great disdain about the idea of a journal. Just a bunch of pansy emos whining about their boring lives and forced drama, this has always been my stance. But I think I now see the light. Perhaps keeping a journal will enrich my writing and curb my puppy-kicking throughout the day.
This was a great post! I’m a huge proponent of journaling, both as a writer and working in the mental Heath field. This post actually pointed out a few things I didn’t know and makes several good points. Kudos to you for such a persuasive and informed post!
You referred to some of my favourite writing books, Jamie, ones I’ve read and reread over the years. I love your list, particularly the one on finding voice. It’s the most powerful thing we have as writers, the expressions that are ours and nobody else’s, and by writing lots and lots (and lots of crap!) we identify and hone that unique voice. Thanks for posting.
I really want to start writing a journal but I would be really scared someone would read it and I think something like that is really personal.
Jessie. How do you stop people from reading your journal?
Very nice post, Jamie. It is clear that you take your own advice; with writing as good as yours, you must be doing something right!
I have been a long-term journal-writer, myself, but only sporadically so. I find that one of my greatest pleasures in it comes from going back and reading old posts in which I find a completely different person with a completely different voice. It gain really put perspective on how much you’ve grown in the years you’ve been writing.
I keep two journals. One is full of letters I write to my daughter. The other is full of letters I write to my son. Each are volumes long. Someday, I’ll share them with my kids.
Agreed and very well put! Thank you!
I wish I wrote more. For some reason I tend to get a writers block after I have written a few entries. Recently I traveled to Rome and I bought a journal and intended to write in it but instead I never opened it. It wasn’t until the flight back that I had my boyfriend write a note to me and then I to him.
Should I keep that journal as our travel journal where we write to each other about our adventures and start a new one? Or should I continue writing in it?
So many thoughts!
I have journaled for the past ten years — I’m a teenager embarking on the adventure that is life, and I’ve kept every single one of those journals. It amazes me how much I’ve grown as a person every time I go back to look at what I have written, and how my perspective has changed. I love this list, and couldn’t agree with it more.
If you want to spent a moment or two thinking about journaling (or a lifetime, really) read Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape. There is the ultimate journal-keeper, and perhaps a comment on what we should be taking from our journalling.
I am a journal writer who doesn’t write in just one journal. I just write what I have in mind in whatever piece of paper I have at the moment. And then sometimes I end up losing that piece of paper. Well, I don’t know if you would consider that journal writing, but I think it is. I think journal writing is about writing what you honestly feel and think, whether good or bad and whether you get to keep a copy of it or not. Journal writing is about expressing yourself, and it’s really a healthy way to slowly understand the world. It makes us grow more as a person and that’s what I especially love about writing in general.
Nice post by the way! 🙂
Wow!Great Tips and thanks for the info! Thats some of the reasons I made my blog about my favorite dog, a Golden Retriever 🙂
I 100% agree with you. Even though I’m not a regular journal keeper, every once in awhile while I’m stressed or mad or just plain bored I find that writing a thing or two down helps me clear my mind and organize it as well. And who wouldn’t want that?
.,i like your post so much and i’ll remember the tips that i gained from it..thanks for sharing….though sometimes its hard to think of what i should write about….hehehehe
Great post! Im so glad I came across your blog. I am not a writer, but I have journaled and blog much of my life. I recieved my first journal at 9 and have been hooked ever since. I love your perspective. I have many friends who feel I “waste” my time journaling. I feel it gives me a place to write down all my thoughts and feelings. Keeps me sane
Journaling is a way of capturing life’s unpredictability! I was able to draft my perspective on things when I got my first one when I was a kid. And I have recently took to journaling to get out a few random thougts and unexpressed feelings…..it has become a small canvas of life for me!
Wow! This clears my mind about writing. I have always known it to be one of my boredom therapies and fulfillment solutions, but i always push it out of my system because of realities in my life. But i have made a compromise so i can continue writing: Continue with my present lifestyle and then just write whenever and wherever i can – without any quota of writing output.
I am a biologist by education and would take it up as my profession but biology doesnt give me enough space to keep my imagination flying so since my childhood I wanted to be a writer but studies and my laziness just never allowed me to write much. I wrote few stories and poems when I was a kid but my first love breakup made me to write journals. I would sit and pen down my thoughts, frustrations and lessons learnt though never to read them back. Recently I have taken up blogging and I hope to be sincere about it.
Your entry is an inspiration to continue writing.
Very good blog, every night I produce a journal entry. I never purposefully started writing, what used to be a habit turned into a regular routine. I find that it helps me sleep at night as it clears everything from my mind. I find it is a very good archive of my life.
great post! i have been journaling since high school, about ten years ago, and at first i kept doing it because it felt natural but now in the age of internet and blogging, etc, i’m thinking about my journals and what purpose they serve in this context. some of the stuff i’ve said in my journals are really lame, embarrassing stuff but some are surprisingly good. i don’t know what to make of them. i fantasize often about entrusting them to a dear, close friend and maybe, i don’t know, publish them or something. but i know that’s just my ego talking. 🙂
I remember keeping a journal since I was a kid. I wrote about every important thing between 5th and 9th grade. But it was in high school that journaling became truly important for me.
In the last few years, the paper was the one the heard my confessions. Those things that actually screamed in my heart – although I couldn’t say them out loud – were told to paper sheets. And I wrote about it with a smile, but also while I was crying and couldn’t breathe. Sometimes, I was writing so fast that it all seemed to be a scrawl, and it only stopped when I had finally cleared my mind and my hand hurt.
Definitely, it made me closer to the paper, and a blank sheet doesn’t bother me anymore. It is actually my best friend – if I have a pen and something to say. And it’s just great when you read something and remember happy times you thought you’ve forgotten. That’s honestly another reason why I do it.
I’ve truly enjoyed your post! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂
This entry made me realized to go back to the good old pen and paper before going to bed. Like I used to. I may have lost mots of ‘gems’ for the past two years I neglected my journal. 🙂
If you want to become (be) a writer- the only way you become a better one is just by writing…journal is a fabulous way to find your own voice!
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Yup, I couldn’t disagree with any of your points there. It works for me!
Definitely agree, Journaling keeps your head clear and lets you rip others to pieces in private.
A good idea is to have a line or a small paragraph warning people that if they do read your journal without your permisssion they’re likely to get offended.
Great way of putting it! So true!
You are so right! I find time at the end of everyday to add a little bit or trivia to my journal. Often, I will think of how my characters might react to some pitfalls or joys that happened to me that day. Fiction is just a mask for real life.
I started keeping a journal when I was ten. Mostly, the words would have to share the page with a tear or two, but it helped.
Thanks for this post. It’s very helpful. It is an encouragement. I think of my blog as a journal although of course, it is not as personal as actual journal. Sometimes I wonder if I should just keep a paper journal instead. Probably 🙂
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Thanks for a handy column. I’m on a Caribbean cruise, teaching writing, esp. memoir writing. Adrien Helm gave an excellent workshop on journaling yesterday, and I will give the URL of your column to the participants.
Thanks for sharing with your fellow students. 🙂
Congrats on FP! Love your post.
keeping a journal and keeping one handy is such a must do type thing for a writer and i’m sure a lot of writers do not keep one.
It helps me anyways in keeping track of ideas that may have been forgotten if not for the journal.
It also helps to work ideas out.
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Lotta truth here. I’ve been blogging in various forms since I first got the internet at 16 or so, but its only more recently that I’ve been appreciating the privacy of a pen n paper journal. I’ve never been that frightened of living ‘in public’ with personal rants – but since getting work where I have contractual obligations to not speak about certain things, to ANYONE – which turns the stress up beyond 11.
Finally got round to forcing myself to start a paper journal this weekend, and its amazed me at how even after only a couple of pages I feel more like myself again!
I’ve a brand new journal and I can’t wait to open it up and let it flow. Thanks for that little ten-point nudge I needed 🙂
This post has egged me on no end, although I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
I find journaling exceptionally therapeutic. It’s like having an invisible friend you know won’t tell anyone what you’ve said. And also who won’t always talk back!
Although I’m not a regular journal-keeper (about 1-2 times monthly), I do keep one for many of the reasons you state – thank you for cementing the ideals I’ve had since starting keeping a journal.
Tips number 4 & 5 are the ones I most identify with – looking back at the last few journals I’ve had, there has been a forrest of trashy, therapy-inducing witterings, but within that, are the beginnings of many of my poems, and/or short stories.
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I really enjoyed this blog post! I have been an avid journaler on and off pretty much since I learned to write. Unfortunately, like others here, I threw out the ones that were embarassing to me when I was 18 and moving out on my own. I just wanted to express that I appreciate you expressing the importance of journaling, as I have felt lately that maybe this form of selfish wallowing is unproductive. I have come to realize that it can be, but as long as I am striving to get out of where I am, expressing the way I feel is never a selfish endevour. Everyone around you benefiets when you get to know yourself better.
Thanks again, -S.
I never really kept a journal but I did have blogs when I was younger. Some were public and some were anonymous, but I found voice that way. Re-reading them now though they are kind of embarrassing. (:
I am so inspired. Just started my first blog yesterday really to write…things I love and things I don’t. This makes me believe that there is a writer in me somewhere. Thank you!
Right on! (or rather, “write on!”)
This is exactly what I needed to read today.
I agree! But the only problem with jourlnal writing for me, is that i have no idea what to write.
problem? or not?
Not a problem. Just put pen to paper and start moving your hand. Even if you just write your name, or “I don’t know what to write” over and over until something comes to you – that’s okay. Something will come. Try just free-associating random words, or even just start by doodling if the idea of coming up with WORDS causes anxiety. Try to loosen up and just flow with it.
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thanks jamie!I totally agree with your 10 ways. I’m a journalist and I add another reason that’s why I write: I want to impreove english, my second laguage. So reading and listening english and then writing it is a good way to leap to a further step.
This is fantastic, I’m so glad I found it! I’ve kept journals continuously since I was around 9 or 10. I’ve found pretty much everything mentioned in this post to ring true with my experiences as a writer/journaler. I’ve especially cherished the catharsis that accompanies each entry, even the mundane ones, and it’s true that it becomes easier to write when there’s no pressure to sound a certain way or be a certain thing– something I’ve struggled with in my work. Thanks for posting this.
#9 and #6 are great and often overlooked. Kudos to you for touching on those. may you always make the time to make the time to write. 🙂
Oh yes, oh yes! As a confused, weird, busy, crazy teenager, my journal is my drug – but also as an aspiring writer, my beloved notebook helps me develop so many useful skills! I just recently wrote an article about writing journal for a Danish amateur-writers magazine, because I, like you, wanted to share the fantasticalities of journal-writing! 🙂
I have journaled on and off, but have my true love being photojournaling.
Thank you for a thought-provoking post. I’ve journaled since I was a little boy. I find that perusing my old journals, recalling fancies and ideas I had when I was younger, inspires me to write today. When I feel dull or empty of ideas, I can always turn to my journals and borrow from my younger self the enthusiasm and childlike sense of wonder I had then and which sometimes eludes me when I’m consumed with work and responsibilities.
Found this via Fresh Pressed…I have been a handwritten journaller for 15+ years. There is nothing like it. As a writer, it makes my writing much stronger, but honestly? It’s like therapy, only significantly cheaper! 🙂 Thank you for posting this!
I’m like you, Erin. I prefer to sketch out my ideas by hand. For some reason I feel more intimately and physically connected to my words and my language when I write them by hand. By the time I get to a keyboard, I’ve usually filled pages of my journal with the pieces that will form my final, polished product. The process is cathartic.
I write down in my diary during the process of preparation for a blog post – taking down points and all…. But not considered writing down thoughts and feelings in a diary. But its too dangerous – people will get hold of it no?
I think you’re right about the dangerous part. A number of years back, not having any one I could take into my confidence, I began keeping a diary. I was very depressed at the time and I hoped that by putting down on paper some of my private thoughts and feelings I might be able to make sense of some things.
Well, my wife found it, and read it, and condemned me for what I had revealed about myself. I was not prepared for the sense of violation I felt.
The sense of shame I felt has caused me to avoid any further attempts to write openly and honestly, for fear of having it used against me. It still hurts after 30 years.
Gosh! That is such a violation of trust. And then to condem you for it seems monstorous. Have you thought about making an anonomous blog? That way there is no ‘evidence’ to find. Just make sure your browser history clears daily and you don’t save passwords. Good luck! Hopefully you find an outlet, as I truly believe we are better people when we can understand ourselves better. BTW I am curious as to how you worked out of that phase 30 years ago… How did you end up expressing yourself??
Jamie~ I found your post on Freshly Pressed and LOVE IT!! I’m a lifelong journal FREAK…(freak in a good way that is!). I’ve done it for many reasons, I’ve done it for my children, to remember my trials and triumphs in life (and not to make the same mistakes twice..or maybe three times!), and for my lifelong dream of being a writer in general! I even kept journals from my years and years as an RN in the ER/ICU/OR…boy do I have some crazy stories from those journals! Fantastic post, truly, fantastic!!!
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Wow, I think I’ll continue to write in journals. I really like your top ten reasons; These would’ve never crossed my mind! ^_^ Really love this blog.
Wonderful post! It simply mirrors what is in my heart and the reasons why I always have the need to blog and write about what is in my heart! Although some people (esp close to me) do not understand, in fact, abhor the fact that I let the world into my life and heart (and have them judge me), I really don’t care. As long as I know that what I write is about my struggles, my triumphs as a person and not about others. thank you for this post! congratulations for being freshly pressed!
Thanks for your post Jamie. Awesome thoughts and ideas on the topic. I’ve journaled for the last 23 years and feel it a very necessary part of my existence–as necessary as food, sleep, a job, and taxes! I especially appreciate your #1, 2, 7, 8, and 10.
Equally interesting are the comments posted here by others–I love learning about people and what makes them tick…journal blogs are especially helpful in making you feel more “normal!” 🙂 Keep writing Jamie, and sharing your world view!
What i love abour journals is that it also keeps your memory fresh and when I go back a few years when i read my journals I have also realised things about myself that I didn’t realised before. One example is the way i judge people before i get to know them etc.
Eversince I was a young girl, I kept a journal with me at all times. It has been my companion, day in and day out. I recorded even the nonsense that’s going on with my life or what’s around me.
And even today, I carry a one journal and a ballpen. It’s where I’ve written my musings everyday. even just a drabble in it.
I will continue writing till my heart’s content.
What i love about journals is that it also keeps your memory fresh and when I go back a few years when i read my journals I have also realised things about myself that I didn’t realised before. One example is the way i judge people before i get to know them etc.
All 10 tips are absolutely on the money!
I particularly like the “gems amongst the rubble” – oh so true!
I kept a journal during some tough times as a teenager. I read back on it now … and by the time I have finished reading, never is there an occasion when I don’t have tears running down my cheeks. The writing is raw, honest and for me, incredibly moving. I can’t believe I wrote something so powerful.
Even though I wrote it more than 10 years ago now, I still won’t show anyone. That’s the beautiful thing about journaling – it’s personal, and it’s for your eyes only.
Thanks for the great post. I think I may just ressurect my journal. Life is sooo good now – why not record it?
It helps me with my battles with my depression and my weight. Keep journalling everyone! Thank you this has been most interesting. Some of my journals, the parts I don’t mind do end up in my blogs which are angie1925.wordpress.com and angie1926.wordpress.com.
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congrats on being freshly pressed!!!
I’ve journaled a lot in my life and I wholeheartedly agree with all of these, even though #7 has proven to come back and bite me in the ass more than once when my parents have found my journal.
I have journalled for years and it has been helpful as far as having a written record of things that I have needed to recall years later! I do better writing long hand and use a big artists sketch pad. I have been known to wake up in the night and “jot” a thought down, and have pen and paper in my car, the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen. Some years, when my entries are in several books, I tear the pages out & put chronologically in a spiral notebook. For me, it is more important to write than to always do it at the same time & the same place. I am getting better organized with it these days! My cat, Tumbleweed, journals but he seriously needs to get more committed to doing it on a daily basis! http://tumbleweedtails.wordpress.com
Thank you for this! I too have been journalling since I was extremely young, on-and-off, sometimes wondering why I was indulging myself in this manner when there is so much want in the world.
I am sad to say that when I was about 16, I discovered a bunch of journals with entries I found humiliating. I was embarassed for my past and the things I wrote, and so I burnt them all: Effectively destroying the anals of my own history.
I love this post; congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
I find that keeping a journal helps me to crystalise my thoughts. When you have to convert your thoughts into writing the conversion process allows you to see potential holes in your thinking and also areas where you are more right than you first thought. Often I’ll start writing about something I was thinking about and it will all start falling into place.
I find that explaining a concept to someone else also helps.
great post 🙂 I love it. I’ve been writing journals since I was ten and I’m still writing them until now. I’m a teenager, and I totally agree with you.
I didn’t really realize the ‘use’ of my journals, but after reading your post, I can see that they do give great impacts.
I do feel embarassed when I read my past journals.
once, I’ve thought about burning them all but then thanks to another self-discuss in my journal, I realized that they’re a part of my life, a true evidence that I grew, I learned, I lived.
so I do hope that everyone, everywhere, keeps their love for writing journals 🙂
and btw congrats for being featured at freshly pressed! ^0^
Thank you, thank you, thank you Jamie!
The last time i journaled was in college. it’s longer than i care to admit. Each point you mentioned is true and valuable. Now that i write ‘professionally’, it sometimes feels like a chore or something that i do in auto mode. i get into funks of using the same words, phrases or process without really caring.
Other times i feel i have to let something out or express myself which is more rare. thank you for reminding me that i could just write to and FOR myself!
Thank you in Filipino: Maraming Salamat!
And i love your profile pic btw!
Thanks, Jude, for that enthusiastic comment! 🙂
I’ve come up against that same road block – I spend all day writing professionally, and then I find I’m too drained to write for myself. The thing is, when I do carve out the time, the exercise is so enjoyable and so grounding that I feel refreshed and inspired afterwards. Highly recommended.
Maraming Salamat to you as well!
PS – TKS re: profile pic – my dad is also a professiongl photographer, so I have him to thank for that. 😉
Life is one big journal, we just write the entries!
MILESTONE MAN feels quite profound after writing that!
Its defiantly help me in future, i am not good writer but i am trying to write Poetry and sometime. Very inspiring for me.
Journaling and blogging are great ways to express yourself, the former being more private than the latter. It’s the two places you can truly express yourself and write (crap or brilliant work), without having to conform to any standard. Amen to that! 🙂
Incrediable read, well done, I hate the term self-indulgent and I hate that some apply it to writing.
Writing is not just my hobby, but my passion. Thanks for these tips. These will really make me a better writer. I am an incoming 1st year college and I am planning to take up a creative writing course. That will make me far better! Thanks!
Every therapist I attempted to start a relationship with recommended that I keep a journal. However, I was never able to maintain my own written diary (nor the relationship with the therapist). But surprisingly, I have been able to maintain a blog, which I feel is nearly the same as a journal, only online and with an audience (if you remain anonymous, it’s as private as a journal). Perhaps I didn’t want to bat around inside my own head alone. I feel that my blog has provided much more therapy through trying times (i.e. my move to Brazil) than any diary entry would have. I also definitely agree that a regular bout of scribble makes one a better writer. I feel that keeping a semi-regular writing schedule has fine-tuned skills that were going to bit rusty.
I love your 10 points. It will help me to blog more often, worrying less.
I’ve been an off and on journaler, most often in my teenage and college years, but my therapist has continued to encourage me to journal to work through anxiety/depression as well as self-image issues. I’ve been amazed at how most times, it takes as little as a page to reach some sort of epiphany or breakthrough.
I wholeheartedly agree with all these points. Great post!
And who cares even if it IS self-indulgent? Sometimes we need that to nurture ourselves — also learned from my therapist.
Hi! Nice tips here. Will certainly keep note of this. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing. I like writing because it helps blow off that anger you’ve been hiding and sometimes, you could share tons of good stuff to the readers. Another reason why I like journals is it allows you to reminisce on the past once you take a review of your old writings.
Thanks again for this great share!
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I used to journal a lot, putting down all my crazy, all my feelings, until I discovered that my father and now-ex husband would read my entries. All this was a serious violation of my privacy; so I’ve never really felt at ease anymore writing my stuff anywhere. This has proven to be so incredibly unhealthy. But I agree with everything posted. I am going to try and start journaling again. I do want to write more to improve my writing skills and let all my words and ideas flow.
I was never a good writer / journalist, but ive always enjoyed writing down things, esp those that stresses me. it totally relieves the burden.
I have been keeping a journal since I was thirteen. I’ve always told myself to put to words my emotions as soon as I’ve felt them so that while they’re still fresh in my memory, I can preserve them. Luckily, indeed – upon searching through old books that I have, I found my old diaries covered in dust. When I read through its pages, it brought back not only my past memories but somehow, I had a quick glimpse of my emotions back then – and I find it funny today. My thoughts made me giggle. Now, I’m 23 – and I’m still keeping a journal of all the emotions I want to cherish forever. Thanks for this post!
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As a mental health therapist, I’ve encouraged people to journal their thoughts/feelings many times. However, I’ve never really followed my own advice for more than very brief periods of time.
Thanks for sharing your reasons for writing a journal – I’ve regained interest in doing something I rarely ever want to do. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
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This got me thinking. Perhaps I ought to pick this habit up again…
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Thanks for validating the importance of writing/journal writing in particular.
I love journaling as well. It is a great place to reflect on the day. Anais Nin’s Journals are absolutely beautiful, a definite must read.
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Wow I just stumbled upon this post. This entirely resonates with me. I have been a prolific journal writer since my teens. I have recently starting blogging about food and am finding it a terrific creative outlet. I long to become a better writer as I am very amateur. I look forward to subscribing to your blog.
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I’ve just started blogging. I’m learning so much. It’s great to read others interests and get advice from people who have been doing it a while. I find the reasons for why people write are especially fascinating. Who know where it all will finish?
I’m a on again off again journal and have been since my teens. I’m one of those people who uses them for therapeutic reasons then then I’m cured and stop using them. It’s a bad habit really but I think it works for me.
Journaling, and now blogging, has changed my life. I now write car stories. I don’t know where the traffic is coming from only that it is amazing. It’s good that we all support each other and leave comments and encouragement. In my view this is one of the better things to come out of the internet.
I could relate to a lot of this, I have had a journal of one description or another for 9 years and whilst it frustrates me no end I always feel that I need a online place to call home. Home was LiveJournal for most of that time, now it is here.
I very much enjoyed this post. In fact, as I was reading it, I kept waiting for you to mention the lovely Anne Lamott. I read her about a year ago and I so frequently go back to reread some instructions on writing and life. In December I committed myself to write (nearly) everyday. What I now have to show for it is a wealth of seed ideas and early drafts. (Just yesterday I started a blog as a nice safe zone for a “phase II” of my writer’s notebook.) Once again, your post is appreciated 🙂
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I do keep a journal, though I don’t know whether it’s impacted my writing or not. I guess that’s because I wouldn’t notice the difference. I write every day, so I don’t know how my style would evolve. But for someone who looked at my work a couple of years back, and for that same someone who’s looking at it now, I guess it would be VERY different.
And if it counts, on bad days I write complete bullshit in my journal. It’s all sorts of weird stuff, like when my cat rolled over, at exactly what times of day she rolled over, etc, etc. Helps to get all of the crazy out of me.
Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
As a fellow journaler (since age 16), I thought this post puts the finger right on SO many little details–particularly about the gems being buried in the schlock. I’ve gone through journals from ten years ago and think, “GOD I was such a pansy/jerk/fifth-grade-girl/lazy” person about whatever the topic was, and it has the ability to make me cringe. I didn’t know that happened to other journalers!
I am still the same person, i’ve evolved. Now, I am in my middling sixties and started journaling in my twenties.
Sure, my thoughts from way back there have changed
but the change has been evolutionary. I am a grown up Hippie, spiritual, sober now, but holding mature perceptions about what i believe and and where i was back then.
Now, i can see the road map and understand the process, Better. Journaling helps me to identify the parameters of the Road. I had to learn from mistakes and not repeat. But i repeated the same shit until i learned The Lessons of my Journal. To me its a text book, that i review over time.
It is a very valuable tool and I agree with Julia Cameron in ‘The Artist’s Way’ about ‘Morning Pages’. Its mental exercise.
“I’ll die before I go senile” (Bob Dylan)
The journal is like a bus I get on and am surprised each time what i can see from my seat.
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I definitely agree with number 10, keeping a journal has helped me develop better writing habits.
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I’ve been devoted to my journals for about a decade, and while I do see it as self-indulgent, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I love your idea of getting down “pen-time”! I think journaling does make you a better writer, and a better person, and personally I find it helps me cope with life – we all need things to help us cope and journaling is a relatively harmless vice to have 😉
I’ve kept a journal since 7th grade, even off and on before that. I love the joy I get from journaling, for all the reasons you’ve named. I love it so much, I’d say its an identifying characteristic about me. The wonderful thing about journaling is that it can adapt to whatever your need is. So I have, of course, middle school journals that are all about boys, but I also have journals full of poetry, or a year of gratitudes. Thank you for encouraging journaling, I’ll probably do a post on the topic myself soon!
I also love long, involved fiction–have you checked out ‘Pillars of the Earth’ and/or ‘World Without End’? (I have reviews of both of those on my ‘books’ page). Thanks for your recommendations! I’m especially intrigued by that last one you mention.
I think there are so many people who have so many good things to say about this post. I keep getting updated on them and find it so much fun to recognize kindred spirits in journal writing. I wonder what is to become of journal writing though, now that so many of us are writing on line, sharing intimate thoughts with strangers around the world. Is this a good development? Is it a threat to true journal writing? Then again what is the meaning of true? When we write in our own private world for no one, is it not there where we find freedom and truth? That is what journal writing has always been for me at least, a moment where the other slides away and an essence steps forward, precisely a non-narcissistic moment, almost a time of meditation. Now, as we share our deepest thoughts and sorrows with the stranger down the street as well as the unknown soul mate across the world, which essence comes forward? In this distant and desperate attempt to connect with others, do we lose out in the ability to connect with that which is greatest inside each and every one of us? Just musing.
Thanks for visiting and for sharing your link. I liked how you broke down the different ways you use your journaling to explore ideas and feelings. It’s always been amazing to me how things come up on the page if you’ll just put pen to paper and let ‘er rip.
I am a professional writing major. This blog is genius and so helpful. Thank you for this post. I am currently working on filling up my first journal, and now I know it will be worth it.
🙂 That makes my day!
Hello Lisa, I love my morning musings. I try to spend a minimum of 15 minutes every morning writing out on my deck (summertime only I reside in Alaska). It really prepares me mentally for any challenges that I may have to face during my work day.
I also like to take 1-5 Word A Day and spin a story when I have nothing to really pour onto the page. I recently returned to writing and I have to say that I am enjoying be emmersed in with a past love, it is as if we were never apart.
Thanks for the awesome post.
Thank you, “Reminiscent & Wonder,” I’m glad you enjoyed the post and am myself enjoying the image of you on your deck up in Alaska. Sounds a wonderful place to ruminate and discover.
Thanks for sharing content to read.I’m happy to read it.
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Hi, I have just had my journals scanned and am going to destroy the originals. The purpose behind this is because of privacy and also space saving. I live alone but the thought that someone could read my journals either now or after I have gone has been bugging me for some time. Hence the decision to go digital. I do wonder if I have made the right decision though as I do like handwriting in books. I am thinking of maybe keeping a handwritten journal for stuff I don’t mind people seeing and writing the more personal indepth stuff on the laptop or does this defeat the purpose of going digital. Any views anyone?
Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year
old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her
ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!
Wow, this article is pleasant, my sister is analyzing these kinds of
things, thus I am going to let know her.
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It is the best time to make a few plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have learn this put up and if I may I want to recommend you some fascinating things or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles relating to this article. I wish to learn more things about it!
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Reblogged this on lornacifra and commented:
This is a an inspiration for writers and would be writers.. After reading this, you wouldn’t want to see an empty monitor anymore. Your fingers will itch to start typing off your thoughts!
We love itchy fingers! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
We have common denominators, singing, writing and journaling. I was inspired more to explore on other subjects, to just write whatever comes to my mind and not to leave my computer monitor empty. Thank you for your wonderful and helpful tips! I am now a big fan!
We DO have a lot in common! 🙂
I wish I had more time for singing. I took a few lessons a couple years ago, but I just haven’t had the time and have fallen WAY out of practice. My daughter (10 yrs old) has started to take some lessons with a friend who Skypes with her. It’s fun to listen to my little girl exploring her own voice. 🙂
Thanks for the lovely comments and thanks for being here.
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post on our site. Keep up the great writing.
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Terrific thoughts here Jamie. Like that you mention Brenda Ueland.
Great stuff here!
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This has been very helpful to me. I have been regular with my journaling for most of my life, but to be plainly honest, it hurts. I am a poet and sometimes what I write has a depth that I’m not sure I allow myself to completely confront, if that makes any sense. Journaling is so raw and can feel pointless to me because I don’t know if it is truly helping. However, these are very real reasons to journal that have inspired me to get myself back into the routine. Thank you
Thank you for sharing your experience, Olivia. I’m glad to hear that you’re getting back into your routine. Even when it’s hard, we have to keep going.
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Reblogged this on GlobalSisterzMedia, LLC and commented:
These are really great writing prompts & refreshers for writers at all stages, levels.
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Another benefit is that it helps with your storytelling. For myself, I find myself a better storyteller after writing, which helps to charm both the professional audience and the opposite gender ;). All in all, thank you for your insight. It’s was a great way to lay out the benefits of journalling.
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Reblogged this on P E E K.
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I feel like I’m a little late to the party, but… This post spoke directly to my soul. I’ve been trying to find a way to rationalize my lifelong love of journaling, and I think you summed up why it’s so important to me. Thank you! (Now, if only my journals could actually pay the bills… :P)
Thank you, Barbara. I’m so glad this post found you when it did, and – for what it’s worth – I wish for you a day when you don’t feel that you have to rationalize or justify journaling. Though it may not pay the bills, it has a purpose much higher than can be defined by financial transaction. And part of that higher purpose is to give you the strength and perspective and inspiration to do whatever work you do in the world to earn your living. It’s all connected. 🙂
Happy journaling & thanks for coming by!
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Yes. And you discover who you are and what is most important to you. Such bliss.
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The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not fail me just as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I really thought you would probably have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you can fix if you weren’t too busy seeking attention.
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