Why Keeping a Journal is so Important for Writers and all Creative Types
I’m sure you know what it is like to have a blank page or canvas in front of you, but you’re unable to capture the great idea you had because you can’t fully remember it.
You need something to stimulate your thoughts or help you remember.
I have a solution that’s been working for me and it may help you, too. Truth is, we tend to make it harder than it needs to be.
Thoughts and memories are tricky things. We can have a grand idea one moment and then a minute later we might not have a clue as to what it was.
This absolutely frustrated me for years.
The solution I found is to keep a journal.
Journaling is a great way to record your thoughts, especially when they are fresh. I keep a small, leather journal with me at all times and when an idea comes to me I immediately stop what I am doing and write it down. If I am unable to write I’ll dictate the idea into my phone’s voice recorder.
Thanks to on the spot journaling I lose fewer ideas.
Often, when I am in a rush, I’ll only write keywords about my thoughts and then later when I am ready to flesh out the idea I am able to remember it thanks to those keywords.
On the spot journaling is only part of the solution.
I keep another journal on my nightstand and before I go to sleep I write in it for at least ten minutes (not a minute less). It’s my personal ten minute journaling rule, but I tend to write for much longer periods of time.
Typically I use my nightly journal to write out the ideas I notated during the day, but there’s something special about journaling that my mind thoroughly enjoys; therefore, I often end up writing several pages that I may otherwise never have written (this is how my book, One Boy’s Struggle came to be).
I think the reason journaling is so effective is that I know I will not share anything I write in it. Well, okay, that’s not completely true.
What I mean is that I will most likely not share it the way it is written in my journal, but if the idea is tantalizing enough I might blog about it or use it as the impetus for something else.
Journaling also helps me avoid one of the difficulties I have when writing a first draft.
I can’t help not editing at all while writing a first draft. I don’t know of anyone who edits their journal writings, but I know plenty of people like me who cannot help but edit while writing a first draft. Go head, admit it. It will be our little secret.
A journal is a wonderful resource for those moments when you are staring at a blank page or canvas and find yourself blocked or unable to remember something.
Open your journal and read a few pages because there’s bound to be valuable entries which will stimulate your thoughts and memories.
And, if you’re a writer, you may find that you’ve already written your first draft without realizing it. Don’t you love when that happens?
I love keeping a journal and there are many great reasons I maintain it every day. One of the reasons is the fact it helps me keep a log of my thoughts and ideas. It’s saved me from writer’s block more times than I can remember.
Have you found keeping a journal helpful? If you do not already keep a journal, will you start one? Share in the comments.