Writing in a journal is a great way to stay productive with any creative hobby or career. On top of that, writing in a journal can be a powerful and therapeutic tool for writers of all levels. It can help you explore different thoughts and feelings, practice your writing skills and record any ideas.
Here are some great benefits to keeping a writing journal and tips to get started!
Pin for Later!
The Benefits of a Writing Journal
1. It will improve your writing skills.
Regular journaling can help you improve your writing skills by providing a space to practice and experiment with different styles and techniques. A journal is accessible at any time. It’s easier to crack open a journal and start writing than it is to boot up a laptop or PC and start your writing program.
Whenever you come across a new technique while reading or enjoying some other form of media, you can use your journal to take notes and practice your writing. It could be you setting a scene, trying a different style of narration, or breaking a few grammar rules in order to tell your story. There are so many methods and techniques out there that a writer is often adjusting their style to find something that works.
If improving your writing skills is something you’re passionate about, it’s a great reason to start a writing journal!
2. It will help clarify your thoughts and emotions.
Writing in a journal can help you process your thoughts and emotions and be a helpful way to work through any challenges or problems you may be facing. Sometimes it can be a chaotic experience writing a book, especially if you have many responsibilities that need your attention. One’s mind easily fills with worries and concerns, not to mention ideas for writing that get suffocated by these anxious thoughts.
If you struggle with a chaotic mind or are easily flustered when life throws way too many curveballs your way, then a writing journal can help you clear your head and maintain your passion. Taking a moment to address these thoughts helps and there are a few ways as great as seeing your thoughts on paper. Any writing ideas you have will also get written down for later review and now that they are on paper, that’s one less nagging thought to bother you.
If staying organized is very important to your writing process, this is another reason to start a writing journal!
3. It will help you record your creative ideas.
This is a benefit that pretty much goes without saying. Ideas can hit you at any time, but they leave your mind just as quickly if you aren’t quick to record them. That’s why having a writing journal is a big deal for a lot of writers.
One of the most common problems I hear from other writers and my students is that they have so many ideas and they don’t know which one works best or that idea is forgotten by the time they sit down to write. The problem is that they don’t record these ideas, they just wait until they can write their novel and then try to remember. It’s no wonder they are frustrated about forgetting great ideas and settling for mediocre ones!
If you tend to have a lot of ideas for your writing, either from daydreaming or actual dreaming, it would definitely pay to record these ideas in a writing journal!
4. It will help you reflect on past writing and analyze current writing.
A writer rarely stops thinking about what they have written. Most will look at their past writing and see room for improvement. Even if they are satisfied with the writing quality, they might have a problem with the story or the characters. That is why so many writers struggle to finish a book, because they linger too long on what has been written and rarely push forward with their work.
That’s where a writing journal comes in handy. You can note down the important elements in your novel and get a simplified picture of what has been written and what needs to be written. From there, any major changes you make are easily implemented. You can see which elements are affected by that change and which areas of your novel need to be adjusted.
As for writing quality, I believe every writer needs to accept that writing quality is best improved once the first draft is written. If you tend to make adjustments to your novel, a writing journal can make it effective and easy.
5. It will boost your productivity.
The biggest benefit every writing journalist notes is a major boost in their productivity. Not only do they have a great idea of what they are writing before they start, but they also keep track of new ideas and techniques that help them write scenes effectively. A writing journal is more of a tool for your writing as a whole, not just for one project, as any ideas you have can pass forward into a sequel or be used in another novel should have plans to write a different story.
A writing journal can be used for many things, every writer has a different journal, a different structure. Many use it as a personal ideas board, many use it as a way to keep their mind on writing and many use it to keep them writing regularly.
If you want to write more than you already do, a writing journal will help boost your productivity.
Tips for Starting a Writing Journal
Now, here are some tips to help you get started with your writing journal. You will develop your own methods and style, and you will do what’s comfortable for you, but these tips will ensure you have a great start to the writing journal experience!
1. Find a journal that works for you.
Choose a journal that feels comfortable and appealing to you. It could be a leatherbound journal or a notebook, it could have lined pages or blank pages. Everybody can be presented with an array of journals and find one that they like more than all others.
It is always important to consider the paper and not just the cover. If you like to be organized and write cleanly, then perhaps a lined journal will work better for you. If you are more artistic, blank pages might work as well, but also note the thickness of the page if you plan to do more in the journal than doodle with a pen or pencil.
You need to pick a journal that you can work with, not just one that looks good or feels good.
2. Set aside dedicated time for journaling.
Choose a regular time to write in your journal, whether it’s once a day, a few times a week, or even just once a week. The key is to make it a consistent habit. You don’t want to put your journal aside for too long and just forget about it. That is why if you don’t plan to use it often, only when you need to, you need to take the time to open it and just write anything that works, no matter how small it is.
Making it a habit to use the journal will help you avoid slipping back into the routine of being without one. You need only decide the best times to use it, whether you prefer to write in the journal before or after you start writing, in the mornings or the evenings.
Making time for good habits is the best way to start them!
3. Write freely.
Don’t worry about grammar or structure when you’re writing in your journal. Just let your thoughts and feelings flow freely onto the page. A writing journal isn’t a project, it isn’t a chore. It’s a personal tool, one that allows you to enjoy the best part of writing; the raw creativity.
A journal makes for a nice break from the professional restrictions that come with writing a novel or even a short story. You can use the journal to talk informally about your story and writing, leave little notes, or jot down silly ideas. Whenever you force yourself to write seriously in a journal when you don’t want to, you are only wasting your time. You are just turning it into a creatively stifling experience.
4. Experiment with different writing prompts.
If you are having trouble getting started, try using a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing. There are many writing prompts available online or you can create your own. It could be anything from small poems to short stories. Not to mention a writing journal is a great place to practice with a variety of ideas and styles.
Use your journal to experiment with these prompts, write small scenes or create little character bios. These prompt inspirations can come from anywhere, be it other books or a movie you saw recently. Whenever an idea hits you, you don’t just have to write a small sentence down to remember it. You can also write an entire scene!
5. Be consistent.
Now, the more you write in your journal, the more you’ll get out of it. Try to write in your journal consistently to make it a meaningful and valuable part of your writing experience. The one aspect of a writing journal you don’t have to be consistent in is what you include in your journal.
You can jump from idea to idea, use it to practice writing, or use it to doodle different characters. It can be used for recording ideas or adjusting your current novel. There are so many options, but there aren’t any rules. Whatever you decide to use your writing journal for, be sure to work at it consistently. As I said earlier, this is another great habit that is easy to let go of.
I have dabbled with a few writing journals since I started writing. Originally, I filled the journal with small doodles and ideas, writing small pieces here and there. More recently, my writing journals contain plot outlines and adjustments for my major writing projects. It helps me keep track of where the story is going, which is something I have trouble with when I am working with a larger novel.
Overall, keeping a writing journal can be a rewarding and beneficial activity for writers of all levels. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro, a writing journal can help you improve your writing skills, clarify your thoughts and capture your creative ideas. If you are thinking about starting a writing journal of your own, I hope this article helps!
Thank you for reading and as always,
Good day, goodnight and happy writing!