Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you today for my first post of 2022. Hope your year is off to a great start.
Years ago, when I was still in the “want to be a writer” stage, I began a writing journal. While many of those first entries sounded like a pity party, there were several highs as well. Things like my first writer’s conference, when I joined an online fiction writers group, staring the draft of my first novel, and my first published book.
As I wrote more fiction, the journal entries decreased. But last summer, when I went through a writing slump, I began to journal again. It didn’t take long for me to realize how beneficial journaling can be.
Here are five things that I found useful.
- Brainstorming ideas. Have a story idea but aren’t sure what you want to do with it? Work through it. Ask “what if” questions. Record the pros and the cons of each scenario. You’ll likely scrap some of the ideas and go with others.
- Keeping a record of highs and lows. I referred to this earlier, but when you’re in a writing slump, it’s often helpful to look back at past successes and yes, failures. Sometimes seeing how far you’ve come in your writing career is enough to get back in the swing of things.
- Free write. One of the assignments for a writing class I took was to open a blank document, put my fingers on the keyboard, close my eyes, and write whatever came to mind. If you use the hunt and peck method for typing, closing the eyes won’t work. However, you might be surprised at what ideas might come to mind when you shut out the rest of the world.
- Keep track of your progress. In my last post, I wrote about setting goals and keeping a daily word count. That doesn’t work for some writers but jotting down the progress you’ve made on a project can give you a sense of satisfaction. I find it encouraging to record when I’ve had a particularly successful writing session or when I’ve worked through an issue with my WIP.
- Use the journal to rant and rave. Life happens and it’s not always a bed of roses. Working through my emotions by journaling helps to clear my head and give me a new perspective. Keeping negative emotions inside where they fester and grow can be detrimental to our creativity.
You can use a computer program such as Word or Pages to journal or you can purchase an inexpensive notebook. I keep a Word document because I can type faster than I can write, but use whatever method works best for you. (In a future post, I’ll talk about the benefits of jotting down ideas by hand.)
Do you keep a writing journal or have done so in the past? Did you find it useful? Please share in the comments.