For today’s bloghop, I wanted to share about a strategy that has helped me strengthen my writing – journaling. I’ve kept a journal since middle school. At times, I’ve written in it faithfully every day and other times I’ve been more sporadic about writing in it. Not only is it fun to look back at what I was thinking at certain times in my life, but it has also helped to cultivate my writing skills.
Here are some things I use my journal for:
1. Recording specific events or special moments that occurred during the day. I find this is helpful in both nonfiction and fiction writing. For nonfiction writers, you’re getting practice writing about real events in a creative and fun way. For fiction writers, you can often use specific things that happened to you in your novel, or at the very least, some version of those things.
2. Writing down things I’m thankful for. This is helpful for anyone wanting to live a happier, kinder life. When I think about all I have to be grateful for, I’m no longer dwelling on all the bad things in life. Simply because this improves one’s mental and sometimes even one’s physical health, this is a beneficial practice for writers.
3. Writing exercises using a prompt book or prompt list. Sometimes I feel like taking a break from writing about myself, so I pull out one of my writing prompt books. I find an exercise that sounds fun and complete it in my journal for the day’s entry. (If you enjoy writing poetry, you could use a prompt to write a poem.)
4. Writing a character sketch for my WIP. This is something I like to do when I’m struggling with a certain character’s development or her motives for what she is doing in the story.
5. Writing summaries of ideas for future WIPs. I love doing this. This helps me explore the newest idea that’s popped into my head, getting down the things about it I know I’ll want to remember. Once that’s done, I’m able to get back to work on my current WIP.
6. Writing book reviews, hi-lighting the things that worked really well, or noting the things that didn’t work in the book. This is always fun too. I love picking out things that work in a novel, the things that made me want me to keep reading, and the things that made for a believable, life-like world. I also find it helpful to note the things that caused me to not care for a book, or worse yet, not finish it.
I don’t keep all these things in one journal. I have a separate journal for gratitudes, as well as a separate one for my story ideas. I have found that consistent journaling benefits not only my writing process, but also my writing habit.
Resources for Journaling
I often enjoy using specialty journals. Here are a few of them that I find especially helpful:
The Steal Like an Artist Journal by Austin Kleon
The Severed Moon by Leigh Bardugo
Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith (There are several versions of this. I think I have one of the earliest ones.)
300 Writing Prompts -This is a generic prompt book I picked up in Five Below. They have several different writing prompt books there, so if you have one near you, you might want to check it out.
Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Samara O’Shea. This is actually a book with some journal exercises at the end of each chapter. So far, I’ve been enjoying it.
So what about you? Do you keep journal? If so, how do you utilize it in your writing? Do you have any favorite journaling resources? Let me know in the comments.
This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop hosted by Raimey Gallant. To check out all the participating blogs, or to join in the fun go here.