On Keeping A Writer’s Journal

In Blog by yellowrose0 Comments

Many famous writers have kept journals, for many, it is a creative necessity, for others, a place for exploration, and for some an art form in and of itself.

Keeping a journal is one of the best tools to practice trusting your writing and to make sure you keep writing. You can keep a journal in a notebook, or on your computer. Just as long as you write as much and as often as you can without editing yourself and you have access to the words you’ve written, you are keeping a journal.
Putting your thoughts, dreams and goals down on paper can change your life.

You don’t need to be a professional writer.

Your journal is for your benefit only and is as unique as are you. Write down whatever comes to mind, don’t even take the time to think about it. Just write.
Writers write. A journal is a way to do that, without knowing where you are going with the writing, to unload thoughts, obsessions, insights and observations, and sometimes to imitate other writers, seeing how your perceptions might come across in the voice and sentence structures of those you admire.

You can use affirmations to instruct your mind to create whatever you want in life. Naturally you want to nourish yourself with positive affirmations to speed you on to success.
Remember, your thoughts create your future. Your mind is ready to work for you and guide you toward your dream. Put the power of your mind to work.
Always use the present tense.
Use positive words.
Use simple action words that engage your emotions.
Repeat often!

Say it, write it, and let it become entrenched in your mind. The more emotion and feeling you put into it, the stronger the impression it makes. You’ll notice a positive voice overcoming the negative. Your mind will work on your goal until you achieve it.

A writer’s journal gives you a place to process your thoughts and feelings specific to your writing. Sometimes, the things you jot down in your writer’s journal will make their way into your story, but more often they will simply inform you so that when you come back to your writing, you have more material from which to write and you can write from a deeper place.

A writer’s journal is a wonderfully effective tool to add to your writing toolbox.

Journals have been the secret weapon for writers for years. Make it your secret weapon, too.

A Chinese proverb states,

“The palest ink is stronger than the most miraculous memory.”

How to get started and keep journal writing going?
Allow yourself regular writing times.
Provide yourself a peaceful space to work.
Prompt yourself with a routine self-reflection question: If you tend to have trouble starting, prompt yourself with a routine question, such as ‘What are you feeling right now?’ or ‘What’s on your mind?’.
Learn from your own experiences and incorporate them into your publishable writing.
After just a few weeks or months of keeping a journal, you may be surprised how fresh your writing is.

In a journal (whether online or in a book), you can write whatever you please and nobody can ever criticize you for misspelling a word, or leaving out a central idea.

To free your creative self, suggests Janet Burroway in her popular textbook Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, you must give yourself permission to fail. “The best place for permission is a private place,” she adds, “and for that reason a writer’s journal is an essential, likely to be the source of originality, ideas, experimentation, and growth.”

Extract from Susan Sontag’s entry in her journal, as printed in Reborn.
“On Keeping a Journal. Superficial to understand the journal as just a receptacle for one’s private, secret thoughts — like a confidante who is deaf, dumb and illiterate. In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.
The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather — in many cases — offers an alternative to it.

“People who keep journals have life twice.” — Jessamyn West.


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