What is a journal? In French the word means newspaper. You can read about sports or recipes, people with problems or advertisements for products you might need, or births and deaths, or breaking news, or stock market trends, or people’s opinions about just about anything. But I’m not talking about the newspaper. And yet a journal is somewhat similar in that everywhere you look dozens of different topics pop up.
Your journal can be like a newspaper, only better. Here are
7 Reasons for Writers to Journal
- You can awaken your muse every day with seemingly mindless putting of words to paper, but you will also be awakening the right side of your brain in preparation for the creative work of writing for real that day.
- In your journal you will sometimes find the germ of a new idea which might find its way into more serious works. Sometimes mindless writing and not stopping to let the pen off the paper forces you to just let your mind go. Once I got an idea for a short story based on a childhood misdeed of mine and my brother’s, and I only thought of it when I just wrote and wrote, letting my fingers do their thing.
- When on holiday, often writing takes a back seat. If I force myself to journal, I find new and different ways to think about experiences on my trip. In Newfoundland last year, I wrote many blog posts. On one I talked about a play we saw there which was excellent. Since I wrote about my experience I can reference the material again and again, feeling the smile spread across my face as I see again the actors performing Tempting Providence.
- Regular journal writing helps writers keep their skills fluid and flexible. The business of writing often takes us away from actually putting words on a page. Daily journal writing helps.
- Writing in a journal gets us away from the keyboard and physically holding a pen while the ideas write themselves from the brain is a special kind of connection that typing just doesn’t have; in fact, many writers still do their writing with a pen and paper. I interviewed Carole-Ann Vance, who actually sat with her family in front of the television while finishing her novel.
- For those of us who can’t do without our keyboards, journals can be created on the computer or iPad just as easily as in a notebook. I often do this and then print off the pages and create my own books of my thoughts. Sounds a little arrogant, I know, but it’s fun.
- And that gets us to the final reason for journal writing. It’s just fun. I love the way words seem to arrange themselves in lovely sequences, flowing from my special fine point pen in any colour I like. I can tell if I’m stressed as my hand just rushes through and the words become a flowing, floating free fall from my brain, whereas if I’m calm and take my time, my handwriting is even, with smooth cursive strokes, showing how in control I am.
One thing to recognize, though, is there is a good chance you’ll write things you don’t want anyone else to see, those secret or maybe even sordid parts of your life that you usually bury deep under layers of beautiful stuff. Some day you might even take those parts out and use them in your writing, and what could be wrong with that?
Do you journal? Or do you read others’ journals? Consider leaving a comment about the most interesting journal you’ve ever run across.