There are many reasons to keep a journal. Here are some that I think are helpful for writers:
- Prods our creativity
- Helps develop writing skills
- Captures experiences we can use in stories
- Keeps us in the habit of writing regularly
There are many benefits for non-writers, too, and for me these are even better reasons to keep a journal:
- Allows us to see how our attitudes and thoughts have changed over time
- Becomes a record of our lives that others may one day appreciate reading
- Helps us sort out our feelings
- Relieves stress by clearing out the clutter in our minds
A journal doesn’t have to follow rules. It can be as detailed or vague as we want it. Whether we are writing whatever comes to mind, or following a structured theme, it can help us discover more about ourselves as well as document our thoughts and experiences.
Whether your journaling is autobiographical, free-writing, focused on a particular topic, or a mixture of those things, it can be a useful and fun hobby. There are many sites that provide creative suggestions for journal topics, as well as ideas for creating personal journals.
Here are 2 sites with articles about journaling that I found helpful:
Your Life is Your Story On starting a journal; has many helpful links.
Infed: Writing and Keeping Journals Discusses learning from the journals we keep.
I haven’t kept a regular journal for a year or two, but started a new one this week as part of a study course I’m taking. Although I usually keep my entries in Word documents, I’m also going to print off the ones for this journal and keep them in a 3-ring binder. I only have a few entries so far, and the binder isn’t fancy—but I like it. It feels right for what I want to accomplish, and easy.
Do you keep a journal? What topics do you write about? Do you use bound journals, notebooks, binders, or computer files for your journal entries? Do you have any tips, or know of helpful sites for more information on keeping a journal?