Journal Insights

Saturday, April 19, 2008
Many writers keep a diary or journal, even if they don't write in it consistently. I try to update my journal at least once a week, but sometimes, I only write in it when I'm having a horrible day and I need something to vent to that's not going to judge me or gasp at my choice of bad language. When I have time, I read my old journals and am often surprised by things I had forgotten about or by how much I've changed over the years.

Recently, a friend of mine said she was feeling unmotivated and uninspired to write, so I encouraged her to journal. What she wrote wasn't important, just the fact that she wrote. She could ramble and go off on tangents and not make any sense at all--it's her journal and no one has to see it.

I've found notes for story or novel ideas in mine; life goals I set for myself; resolutions; and a whole lot of rambling nonsense that must have made sense at the time. I love being able to express myself with no reservations in my journals. I write a lot of things in them I wouldn't say out loud. Just writing it down really helps. It's like having a personal therapist, except you don't have to pay by the hour and your appointment is anytime you feel like it. Instead of a therapist offering insights into your personality, however, you have to discover those insights yourself.

If you've kept journals for a long time, go back and read your early ones. You might not only find some ideas and inspiration, you might also find out some things about yourself you didn't know.


Marcia Peterson said...

I agree with all of this Del! :)

gillboard said...

Exactly, when I read previous posts in my blog I realize things that I've learned before that I tend to have forgotten, and it's great to relearn those lessons again.

Plus, there are other bloggers who give sound advise. You can't go wrong with that.

Annette said...

I think journaling is probably the most important writing any writer can do. If you go back 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, or even further, you can see how much you've changed, the experiences (good and bad) that you've had, the mindset and emotions you felt at the time--and it's wonderful fodder for plot lines, characterization, and emotional authenticity.

That being said, I wish I were disciplined enough to keep up with a journal.

I've tried rather unsuccessfully over the years. I have one journal that has three entries:
1.) Single, pre-Boyfriend A, lamenting the lack of decent men.
2.) A summary of the crash and burn of the two-year relationship with Boyfriend A.
3.) The intro of Boyfriend B. (Who ended up being the inspiration for my memoir.)

The last entry in that journal was in 1999. LOL

So much for journaling continuity!

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