If you’ve been writing for years, whether you are published or not, you will, no doubt, have a stack of notebooks filled with scribbles, ideas, and words in the anticipation of, one day, turning them into something special.
Using notebooks to journal is a wonderful way to explore your thoughts and feelings. Even if only used now and again, it can help to relieve stress, process emotions and capture gratitude.
Journaling stimulates creativity
Regular journaling can also help writers unleash creativity.
A creative journal acts as a companion and therapist during the writing journey, creating space to capture new ideas as they arise, record moments in life that matter and release your worries. Journaling regularly can form the foundation of a consistent writing practice.
Regular journaling can help you grow as a writer because it’s a natural, non-judgemental way to play with the craft, develop your skills and find your voice.
Journals help writers thrive
- Some writers find that journaling can be a great way to start each day. The ‘morning pages’ method outlined by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way, recommends writing three pages daily as a stream of consciousness, covering everything that crosses through your mind. It’s a way to create free movement between mind and pen.
- Journaling can be a great way to stimulate writing. A blank page can feel intimidating so try beginning with a writing prompt – for example a sentence starter, phrase, or word – and use this to inspire five minutes of free writing, kick starting the creative process.
- Doubt and ‘imposter syndrome’ (the feeling that you’re not a legitimate writer) can stall progress, especially for those new to writing. A journal creates a safe space to record such thoughts, work through any feelings of unease and form an identity. Remember, if you write, you are a writer.
- Writing is full of challenges. Journaling enables you to work through problems, capture ideas and create a plan of action.
How to get started
- Write by hand in a notebook and try to connect with the words you write.
- Don’t edit what you’re writing. Instead, let the words flow.
- There’s no judgement, only clarity and focus. Nobody needs to read what you’ve written. It’s personal to you.
- Set aside time for your journaling so you can make it a regular habit.
Using this method of journaling allows you to clear your mind of worry and anxiety. If it helps, write down your fears and ask yourself open questions such as ‘what can I do to develop…?’ or ‘why am I so anxious?’ and see what comes up.
If you don’t know what to write, you could simply jot down ‘I don’t know what to write’. Write it multiple times if you have to until something follows. Then, keep going. Let your active mind move aside.
Alternatively, you could use one of the following prompts:
- Look outside your window and write about what you can see and hear.
- Write a list of your favourite books, songs, places to visit.
- Describe your childhood friends.
- Write an alternative end to your favourite book.
- Write a profile describing yourself as a writer and what you like to write.
Whether it’s to record your ideas, characters, and thoughts, or to practice the craft of writing, your journal is unique to you. There is no right or wrong way to approach it. Your journal is yours to use in the way that best serves you and your writing.
Make journaling a special occasion. Choose a notebook that inspires you or decorate the cover of a plain one and write with your favourite pen. You could also fill your journal with things that inspire you such as photos, quotes and reminders of experiences you’ve had.
Spend time with your journal today and use its pages to free the writer in you.