NOTE: This is an updated version of my blog on why I journal regularly which was posted several months ago. I’ve added some content to share more on the subject.
I never considered writing a daily journal until a few years ago. At the time I wanted to see how much I could write per day on a consistent basis. After a month I was surprised by how many words I could churn out. It gave me a baseline for how much I could expect to write daily, weekly and monthly. I even realized I could write most of a rough draft in thirty days – here I come NanoWriMo.
But as I used a daily journal I discovered a few more reasons to continue. I’ve since read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and found that she emphasizes using “Daily Pages” (essentially a journal) to write three pages in the morning. I don’t always write that much since I’d rather spend as much time as possible on projects but the notion and reasons discussed in the book are great for gaining creative traction.
- I could use it to prime the pump. You want to get started writing but how? Sometimes you need a warm-up and writing about anything can be just the trick to clear the mind. Also, I found that I could set the scene in my mind with a few notes on what I expected to accomplish and how dialogue might flow. I might even return to the journal to further nail down additional scenes depending on what I accomplish.
- I can track what I need to do during the day. Yesterday I wrote about how I work with goals but I find that putting them in my journal keeps them in my sites throughout the day. I use the Strikethrough button in Word to mark off goals achieved. I can also easily “re-heat” goals that roll over to the next day for whatever reason.
- I also use a journal to create a loose, fluid schedule of what I’m doing – everything. This way I know how I’m progressing through goals and other activities throughout the day. Now you might wish to use a calendar for this function but I find using the journal is one less thing to update than a calendar. Besides, I find a calendar is better for reminders about events and appointments in advance.
- A journal can also be used for project development. It’s a great place to explore creative ideas. Once you’ve written these concepts they are easily transferred into other apps or files you use for development such as Scrivener, Evernote, your blog or anything else.
- A cure for “writer’s block”. I don’t believe in “writer’s block”. I view this problem as something which is troubling me in some way. I journal to discover what the problem is. It could be personal or something in a project that I intuitively understand is a problem. If the issue is something personal it could also be the seed for for a writing idea to be used in some way which actually becomes a creative opportunity. But either way I work the problem out through my journal.
What can you use to journal? I mainly use Word and update it during the day but I only keep a monthly file and transfer developmental ideas to other files and apps. You could use Evernote as a purely developmental journal and tack in links or pictures. You could also use Instagram as a visual journal. While Scrivener would not directly serve this purpose, research containers could be used as a developmental journal as well.
Do you journal? If so, what do you use? I love to receive comments so feel free to leave one. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend but don’t spend too much time writing in the journal.
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