Writing Tip — Favorite Books: Journals

If you are a beginning writer, or a seasoned one having trouble finding inspiration, keeping a journal may be the style of writing that will help.

I first started journaling the spring I was seventeen in this book, which just has lined paper.IMG_2840 I journaled about what happened each day and really didn’t like keeping it. I might have liked it better if I had narrowed my focus. Back then, I was an avid fan of old movies (still am). My journal could have been about the movies I’d watched and my opinion of them

Now my daily journal is about what happens to my kids. I hope the journal will remind them of the events of their childhood.

At some point in my life, I began carrying a three-ring binder every where I went. IMG_2838I only use it for my journal and fiction. I like this kind of binder because I can add and remove pages. Since I began publishing, I have graduated to a second binder. That holds my WIP (work in progress) novel, and the ancient red one holds the journal and blog posts. I’m almost sure it’s older than my oldest child.

Another kind of journal offers prompts. I won 300 Writing Prompts at a book festival. IMG_2837Many of the prompts ask you to examine something in your own life and seem most appropriate for personal essays with questions like “What is your favorite way to spend a lazy day?” and “What do you look forward to every week?”

Some prompts seemed aimed squarely at fiction, like “You are the wind’s interpreter. What is it saying?” and “Write a diary entry, dated 10 years in the future.”

One thing that I’ve learned about inspiration is that I never know what will ignite a spark and set a story on fire.

If you struggle to write regularly, the demands of a journal may be what you need. And it is private, unlike blogging, allowing you the freedom to explore topics and your own internal landscape.

Like any other skill, writing improves the more often you do it. And with a journal, you can keep your earliest, most inept attempts to yourself, then bask in the the joy of your progress when you look back and see how much you’ve improved.

Do you keep a journal? What do you journal about?


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