Keeping a Writing Journal
I was rushing off to a critique group meeting this afternoon and I reached into my closet to grab a tablet. I pulled out an old composition book and stuck it in my bag. When I got to the meeting site, I pulled out the composition book, opened it, and found journaling guidelines that I shared with student writers five or six years ago. The guidelines brought a flood of memories, and reminded me of the power of a writer keeping notes, journaling, and collecting his/her thoughts. I want to share those guidelines with you. Maybe they’ll help you begin the habit of keeping a writing journal, or give you some fresh ideas if you’re already a journal-er.
When to Start
Start journaling now! Write down some of the thoughts and feelings that you are experiencing at this moment. You could even write your feelings about beginning to journal
When to Write
Write whenever inspiration—thoughts and ideas—hits you. The more you write, the more you’ll get out of the experience. You can write early in the morning, during a prescribed block of writing time, when you finish other writing or work, after school [work], on the bus, in the car, before bed, and so on. In other words, you can journal anytime you please.
What to Write
What about you. Write about your thoughts and feelings. Write about what is going on in your life. Write about what you hear. Write about what you read. Write about what is on your mind. Write about what you imagine, hope, and dream. Just write.
Where to Write
A lot of writers find it helpful to write in a quiet place where they can think, be alone, and/or have their own space. Journaling takes concentration. See if you can find your own special place where you like to journal. But you can write at any time and in any place. Don’t let the lack of a perfect location keep you from journaling.
How to Write
When journaling, you can use a pencil, a pen, or whatever your favorite writing instrument might be. Date the page each time you write. Don’t worry about how much space you do or do not fill up. Just write. Skip a few lines between entries in case you want to revise, edit, or add notes to a previous entry.