The Importance of Keeping a Journal for Writers

Not long ago I got that Erin Condron planner I’ve been wanting for about a year.  I was so excited, snoopy dancing around the house.  It holds so much information!

It also held my weekly and daily to do lists, moving them out of my bullet journal.

Now, to be fair, that leaves a lot of things still in my bullet journal.  Here’s a small list of what’s still there after six months.

  • Lists of movies I want to see, books I want to read and songs I want to download.
  • Short story ideas.
  • Notes for Woven
  • Lists of things I want to do every season.

That still leaves all sorts of room, though.  After all, that cuts out my daily, weekly, and monthly goals.  That takes the vast majority of my journal.

Well, I needed to fix that.  I have been really bad about keeping a personal journal my whole life.  Try as I might, I will keep a journal for a day or two, maybe a week, then stop.  But now I’ve got all these lovely journals lying around.

So I’ve been keeping a journal for about two weeks.  And I’m realizing something.  I should have started this a long time ago.  Here’s what I’ve learned after just two weeks of consistent journal keeping.

  • My attention to detail has improved, because I’m writing more of them down.  It’s kind of a good skill for a writer to know.
  • I find that I’m writing about people around me.  Character studies, people, character studies!
  • When I finish my day by writing down details, it helps me to see the day in perspective.  I can see it, good and bad, for what it was.  It was a day, and now it’s over.
  • I think when my hand is moving, and what comes out is not always what I thought would.
  • It’s therapeutic.  Really, it is.  Let’s face it, as a wife, mommy, and crippling introvert, I am not always at liberty to say what I’m thinking.  Sometimes, though, you’ve got to get something out.  Like poison.

Basically, what it comes down to is this; keeping a journal helps you learn people, details and your own brain better.

Of course, because it’s me and I’m always incorporating new things, I added a few new things.  One big one in particular.  I’m listing three things I’m grateful for at the end of every day.  I got the idea from a book called Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnah.  As she says, you will just not be the same person after listing your blessings at the end of each night.

If none of those reasons are enough, consider this.  Your story, your every day story, is more interesting than any story you will ever write.  There are reasons why autobiographies are published every year.  Consider I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou or One More Time by Carol Burnett.  I love stories about real people.  It doesn’t need to be about someone famous, though I do love stories about writers.  Everyone’s life is amazing, everyone has stories to tell.  Tell yours.

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