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Keeping a Journal - Top 5 Reasons

Updated on June 13, 2013
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Journal Writingl - Your Life in Writing

Many writers love to keep journals. Because writers, by definition, are people who express themselves on paper, it's only natural for a writer to keep a diary. It's very common among fiction writers to keep a journal every day, but it's equally important for a non fiction writer. Think of all the events and people that you encounter every day. Think about all of those thoughts that race around your brain constantly. Think of your day as a story board for a movie. When you keep a journal, all of these things get recorded, not forgotten. But if you don't record them in your written journal they just become a part of the riot of daily existence. Journal writing is a great idea for the serious writer. Here are the five reasons why you should keep a journal.

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1. Keep your writer's edge. Writing a journal and keeping it up to date every day is one of the best ways to keep your writer's edge. When you make entries in your journal about the things that you have seen or encountered during the day, it is a great way to hone your writing skills, with no editor looking over your shoulder, even if the editor is you.

2. Keeping a Journal is a stress free way of writing. Journal entries are not for publication so you need not be constrained about what you write or the language you use. It's a good practice to write it well, but you don't have to worry about rewriting. If you feel emotional about something feel free to cuss your head off. You can express anger about a person without getting into trouble.

3. No SEO to fret about. If you're an online writer or blogger, when writing your personal journal you don't have to worry about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Many online writers hate to do keyword searching to make sure their titles are likely to show up in search engines. If you want your articles to get notices, you need to make sure that people can find you while they're searching. Your personal journal, on the other hand is for you. SEO writing cramps your writing style, and with journal writing you can happily ignore it because your goal is not to get noticed. Sometimes you want to express a thought in a title that just isn't search friendly. In your journal you don't have to even think about it! Journal writing is like a blog with you as both the writer and the audience.

4. Your journal can become a vast treasure trove of things to write about. Say you have an idea about a great way to enhance a garden. Share your ideas with your journal now and it can become a feature length article in the future. How many times have thoughts just crossed your mind that have the germ of a published article? Scribble these thoughts down on a notepad and enter them in your journal when you sit down to record it that day. Some writers like to keep a journal in cursive style without the aid of a computer. Caution: that may be an emotionally rewarding practice but you won't be able to retrieve those thoughts later if they aren't written into a digital file.

5. Your journal can be your emotional catharsis. Any curbstone psychologist will tell you that thoughts suppressed can come back to nag at you in the future. Sometimes down the road you find yourself upset about a certain situation. Had you written about that situation in your journal, you would have gotten it out into the open parts of your noggin and not tamped it down into your subconscious. There are no rules for what you put in your journal. If you worry about your thoughts ever becoming public, give the file a strong password and the journal will be forever yours and yours alone. The nearby video has some excellent tips on how to start your journal.

The only thing between you and your personal journal is your decision to start. You don't need a plan. Journal writing is an organic thing. You just need to start. How about right now?

Copyright © 2012 by Russell F. Moran

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    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Deborah. Hey, a little notebook IS a journal. Don't make it complicated, just make it real.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      Good advice. Unfortunately, my journal entries are sporadic at best. But I always keep a little notebook close by for jotting down thoughts and ideas.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      So true shiningirisheyes. Without diaries worlds would be hidden from us.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      You are so right with the many benefits toward keeping a journal. I have kept a diary from time to time and when I go back and read it, I always discover a hidden gem waiting inside.

      Imagine where our world would be if philosophers, great writers and so many others failed to write it all down.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Sheila. Journalizing does help us navigate the rough patches. The little things are indeed important.

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 4 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Journaling has helped me through many rough patches in life. I tend to turn to it during stressful times but you are so right - chronicals of daily life would be a great way to remember the little things that make our life interesting. Never know when one might be called upon to make that movie ;-)

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Bill. I sometimes neglect my journal but when I get back to it it's great.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Glimmer. Yes, a catharsis it is.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Millionaire Tips. Just writing without SEO eyeballing is a pleasure in itself.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I used to do this and then got out of the habit. You did a great job of listing the reasons for doing so, and thank you for reminding me of something I need to do.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Great hub here. I keep my journal mostly for the emotional catharsis and also to put down quilt/craft/other ideas and to dos. Hope I never lose it! Voted up.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      Keeping a journal has so many rewards, and you've provided the top 5. I especially like that you can be free to write uninhibited and not have to worry about grammar, SEO or what anyone else thinks of the writing. Voted up.