Ever since I started writing seriously in the mid-1980s, I’ve kept journals. I didn’t use those fancy leather-bound journals available at some stores, though they are fine to use. My earliest journals were on inexpensive spiral notebooks. As a writer, I’ve found journaling an invaluable tool for my craft.
How often should one write in them? Some will recommend people write in them every day. Although I’m not opposed to this, I don’t write in my journal every day. I do, however, try to write in it as often as I can.
Journaling has lots of benefits for writers and non-writers. I share four of these benefits here.
- Journaling is therapeutic. When we’re going through a difficult time or a personal crisis, journaling helps us express our emotions. By writing, we can vent our feelings and find release from stress. Psychologist James Pennebaker says journaling reduces “the impact of stressors on our immune system.”
- Journaling helps our creativity and also helps to overcome writer’s block. Through journaling, we can practice new styles of writing and experiment without the pressure of deadlines. Sometimes, ideas will pop into our heads for stories or articles. Keep a running list of these ideas in a journal.
- Journaling improves our writing. Through journaling we learn to express ourselves better, and this includes clearer conversations with other people too.
- When we journal on a regular basis, we develop self-discipline. Self-discipline — writing everyday regardless of how we feel — is one of the keys to succeeding as a writer.
If you haven’t been journaling, why not start today? All you need is a pen and notebook. It’s never too late.
Lidia Kesarovska, “The 17 Benefits of Journaling That Will Motivate You to Start Writing Tomorrow,” Let’s Reach Success (blog)January 9, 2020, https://letsreachsuccess.com/benefits-of-journaling/
“Benefits of Journaling: The Science and Philosophy Behind Keeping a Diary,” Intelligent Change (blog), https://www.intelligentchange.com/blogs/read/benefits-of-journaling, n.d.
Thai Nguyen, “Ten Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a Journal,” HuffPost, February 13, 2015 https://www.huffpost.com/entry/benefits-of-journaling-_b_6648884
“How to Write Better: 5 Benefits of Journaling,” MasterClass, August 30, 2021, https//www.masterclass.com/articles/benefits-of-journaling