People keep journals for many reasons: to record their daily lives, focus on gratitude, work through complex emotions and issues, and the list goes on. So, a journal can be a useful tool for anyone. Here’s how journaling can help you as a writer:
1) It’s a low-pressure writing situation.
Even composing a text or email can be nerve-wracking because you’re writing it for someone else. But, writing in a journal can provide relief because it’s likely no one will read it unless you invite them to do so. (Keeping track of your journal and spending time with people who respect boundaries can help.) Because of the relative privacy of a journal, you’re free to try new ideas and genres. You’re writing just for yourself, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
2) It offers a lot of freedom.
Though writer’s block can happen, keeping a journal can actually be fun. For one thing, you have so many creative choices, starting with format. You could keep an old-school journal, create a password-protected digital file, or even try out a journaling app. You could write standard prose or try poetry, flash fiction, lists, illustrations, and/or observations. Bullet journals are a trend to check out if you’re intrigued by incorporating visual art into writing. Now, to that other fun thing: you can put down that red pen or back away from the delete key. You don’t have to stress about editing here.
3) It could provide inspiration.
Because a journal lets you focus on the creative part of writing, you could generate useful material. For example, you might write a description of a place you visited, using a generous amount of sensory detail. Later, you might use that description to set the scene for a short story or poem. Or, something you write to vent your anger in a safe space might make it into a character’s dialogue. So, journaling isn’t just about the process; it’s also about producing written work you can use for multiple purposes.