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Benefits of Keeping a Journal for Writers

Updated on September 13, 2016
Writing down your ideas helps you to remember them.
Writing down your ideas helps you to remember them.

You Can Keep Track of Your Ideas

If you write often, most likely you will randomly be coming up with good ideas throughout the day. With all the demands of daily life, it is all too easy to forget these ideas that pop into your head, which may you may later want to use in a story.

Also, if you have unusual dreams when you sleep, you can write these down as soon as you wake up so you don't forget them. You never know when you might want to write a story inspired by your dream. Write down as many details as you can remember, and you can even add some more ideas as side notes if you want.

Also, reading books, watching movies, or looking at pictures can give you ideas for your writing. You can write these down too, as long as you make sure you don't copy them too closely when you write. You might want to consider writing down the source of your ideas too if you got them from a book, movie, or picture, so you can go back and use it as a reference and so you can check that you are not copying it too closely.

You Can Set Goals

Writing down your goals not only helps you remember them, but also makes them seem more important, so you're more likely to succeed in accomplishing them. When you write down a goal, you should include how you plan to accomplish it, so you know you have a plan and you feel prepared.

For example, if your goal is to eat healthier this week, you can write that you will eat oatmeal for breakfast instead of bacon, drink water instead of pop, and replace your daily snack of chocolate chip cookies with a piece of fresh fruit. Likewise, if your goal is to write 5 articles on Hubpages, you could write that you will write one article per week for five weeks, and that each article will be at least 1,250 words long and include pictures.

You are Practicing Your Writing Skills

Since journal writing is a type of writing, by writing in a journal you are practicing your writing skills. Like any type of writing, journal writing can improve your vocabulary, spelling, and grammar skills, all of which will inevitably be helpful when you write your stories, blogs, articles, or whatever it is you write.

The more you write, the easier it will be to write. You will be better able to think of ideas and find the words you need to convey your ideas in a shorter amount of time if you write often. If you are writing in a journal, that is one of the easiest ways to practice your writing skills on a daily basis.

Writing in a Journal

It Makes You More Creative

Once I start writing in a journal, I am able to think of many other possible writing topics. I often find myself writing a short story or a poem in my journal without even trying. I'm just writing down what I think.

If this ever happens to you, and you think it might be a start of a book you can write at a later time, you already have all your thoughts written down and you can review it later when you are ready to start turning your journal entry into a book.

It Clears Away Mental Clutter

You probably have a lot on your mind. Writing about it can help you determine what is most important, what needs to be done first, and what you don't necessarily have to do if you don't have time for it.

Not only can writing in a journal help you prioritize, but it can also calm you down and help you to sort out how you really feel about different aspects in your life. I used to work long hours, and didn't have time for much writing, but when I switched jobs, I was able to write more. I feel more calm and focused now, and I am able to see more than ever why my previous job was not for me.

Composition notebooks make great journals!
Composition notebooks make great journals!

Keep Track of Your Development

If you are keeping a journal for at least a year or two, and your have been writing in it regularly, you can go back and see how much your writing or your life has improved. Has your writing changed dramatically since you started your journal? What improvements have you made? Is it easier for you to write now than it was a year ago?

If you have been writing about your daily activities, you might also notice a change in them. Since writing regularly has likely made you more calm and focused, and has improved your ability to write, your life in general may have also improved. Maybe you got a better job, started a blog, or have your own website as a result of your improved skills and confidence you gained by writing.

You Will Be More Positive

Instead of just seeing the negative side of things, you will be able to see the positive, because you will be writing mainly about the positive. You will be more observant and be able to see the good in parts of your life that you never even thought about before. This will in turn make you more confident and happy with what you have, and better able to complete your goals. You will write better and accomplish more with your writing.

It Improves Your Memory

Writing things down always helps you to remember them better. I have found that if I simply write an idea down on paper, I remember it better, even if I never go back and read it again.

If you have a life experience that you may later want to refer to and use as a reference in a story, you will remember the details much better if you have them written down. You can go back and reread what you have written, and then use that to write your story.

For example, you could write about how you felt the first time you went camping in the mountains, what you saw downtown, why you felt angry when your aunt broke your computer, or what the monster looked like that you imagined coming out of your kitchen trash can.

I like to write with pen and paper.
I like to write with pen and paper.

It Helps You to Explore Your Mind

Ever have a random, unusual thought, such as imagining finding a troll sitting on your bed after coming home from vacation? Ideas like this would make great topics to explore in your journal. You could describe what the troll looked like and what was he doing when you found him. What did he want? How did he get there? How did he react when he saw you? You could elaborate and fill many pages in your journal describing your encounter with this troll. This could easily become a short story, a children's book, or even a fantasy novel.

Journal Writing

Do You Write in a Journal?

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It is Inexpensive and Portable

Writing in a journal is extremely inexpensive. You can get a spiral notebook at a department store for as little as $1. If you want a more professional looking journal, you will have to pay a little more, but one large size journal will likely take several months to complete. If you prefer to do your journal writing on a computer, then you don't even have to buy paper.

Another benefit is that your journal is portable. You can easily take your journal with you wherever you go. It is lightweight and easy to carry. Then you will have something to do when you are waiting. This will enable you to complete your journal writing session, even on those busy days.

How Has Writing in a Journal Helped You?

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    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 17 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great hub! I'm not as faithful at doing this, but I do keep everything I write going back to high school. (No that wasn't last year!) In fact my latest book includes stories I started about 25 years ago and rolled into one book that was published about a year ago. You never know when those old notes will come in handy.