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How To Keep A Journal

Updated on May 29, 2011

How To Keep A Journal

There’s an old saying; a dull pencil is better than a sharp mind. Many of us like to trust our memories when we get an idea about a new project. Here’s my best recommendation; don’t trust your memory. Good ideas are fleeting and unless you keep a tape recorder with you everywhere you go (which is not a bad idea), it’s likely you will forget that good idea before you get a chance to crystallize it. I used to write down ideas on pieces of paper and stick them in my pants pocket. I usually forgot about them and they ultimately ended up in the wash. Sound familiar? My suggestion is that you keep a journal, specifically an idea journal.

A journal, in the beginning, is simply a binder full of empty pages, and nothing more. Its only value is what you paid for it. Once you begin to pour your thoughts into it though, it becomes a collection of priceless pieces of thread that makes up the tapestry of your life. While most will view your journal as just writings in a binder (if you’re inclined to allow others to read it) you should view your journal as an extension of yourself; a place to capture your thoughts and ideas; a place to allow your creative juices to flow unabated.

There is no format to keeping a journal, other than the format that you establish. One of the most important things to keep in mind when keeping a journal is to allow your thoughts flow unrestricted. The purpose of an idea journal is to capture and crystallize ideas that are born out of your creativity. Feel free to fill your journal with whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry if the idea seems ridiculous. The important thing is to get ideas written down. You’ll find that once you start writing, your thoughts will begin to flow.


Somewhere between work, school, and family, you have to make time to write in your journal. Don’t just treat journal writing like any other routine though, because it’s more important than that. Try to make it a special moment. After things slow down for the day, find a quiet, comfortable spot, maybe have a hot cup of tea (like I had when I wrote this article), and begin writing. Remember, this is your time so make the most of it every day.

As you start to fill up the pages in your journal, go back and read some of your past entries and reflect on them. Ask yourself where you are with those earlier ideas and determine which ones you are going to put into action. If you decide to act on one, or all, of your ideas, map out a plan of action in your journal and refine it as necessary. Then get to work on those ideas. Keeping an idea journal is a lot of fun and can be the beginning of building a fortune if that’s your goal. The only challenge to writing in a journal, like with many other things, is getting started. Once you start, you will be pleased at the person you develop into. Now if you will excuse me, I have some journal entries to make.

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    • mrwilson1216 profile imageAUTHOR

      M L Wilson 

      7 years ago

      Thanks CJ

    • CJ Andrews profile image

      Chris Andrews 

      7 years ago from Norwalk, Ohio

      I just wrote a hub in response to someone's question about ideas. I keep a notepad and it is a great idea. Glad to see someone else mentioning it too. I would be lost w/o my notebook.

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