Journaling - Write On! Creative Writing Center


Let's talk about the myth of journaling. There's a sort of modern (and completely unwarranted) belief that journaling is for a specific type of person, and I bet you can guess who. There's an idea that journaling (or "keeping a diary") is just for young girls (and maybe ship captains). This belief means that many people who might benefit from journaling aren't doing it, so let's talk about WHO journaling is for (spoiler: everyone) and WHY journaling is important.

As I said, the answer for WHO journaling is for is pretty easy. Journaling is for everyone. We have this image of little girls writing in their diaries, but journaling is more than that. Journaling is an outlet. Journals are a place for people to vent when they don't have anyone they can talk to about something. It's a place where you can process the events of your day or write poetry or complain about your boss. Whatever it is. Journaling is for absolutely everyone. It's not just for The Queen. Everyone has emotions and everyone has stresses they're dealing with, and everyone has things they don't feel like they can talk about with anyone. That's what journals are for. Men, women, young people, older people, it doesn't matter. Everyone needs an outlet.

The WHY might be a little more complicated. Everyone's reason for journaling is different. I started journaling when I was in elementary school. Back then, it was to process my parents' divorce. I just needed a place where I could talk about things that I couldn't talk to my parents about. As I got older, my journals became my confidants. I wrote about everything, every occurrence in my life, every person that I came into contact with, until I met my husband and then I had someone I felt like I could tell everything to and the journaling slowly came to a stop. I've only recently started journaling again because...well...marriage is hard. But there are other, less emotional reasons for journaling. Maybe you want to track some sort of progress, like your mental or physical health. Maybe you want to remember things about your career or watching your children grow up. Those are good reasons to journal.

Or maybe you just need writing practice. One of the cool things about journaling is that it's a low-pressure way to practice your writing. Journaling is a type of storytelling. You're telling the story of your day or an event that happened or whatever, and you'd be amazed at how that daily practice can help your writing improve in other areas. It's sort of like how doodling can help make you a better visual artist. All writing is practice, and journaling can help you fine-tune your craft as well as anything else.

I always recommend journaling. Journaling is such a valuable tool in every writer's arsenal. It's a place where you can be as messy as you want and only the people you want to see it will (and that can be nobody!). It's a chance to get everything out and hopefully whatever you end up dumping on the page will be valuable as you start to write in other areas. Journal! It's good for your soul.

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