Keeping a journal is a way to explore thoughts, work out problems, reduce stress, and improve your writing craft. But writing entries can seem pointless when the entries turn whiny or are written for no audience. Keep the excitement in keeping a journal by following these tips:
Choose Your Target Audience
A common myth about keeping a journal is that you are writing entries just for you. The joy of storytelling comes from sharing the story with someone else, whether or not they ever read it. Pick someone or a group of people before writing the entries that you can imagine telling the story you are about to write. Is there a family member or a friend that will enjoy this entry, or will someone from future generations appreciate this entry? Keep them in mind as you write. Did your tone or vocabulary choice change with them in mind? Are you comfortable sharing this entry with your target audience?
Schedule Your Journal Writing Sessions
Keeping a journal can be hard to maintain when its significance isn’t immediate, but writing entries must be done dependably in order to maintain the habit. Set a realistic goal of how often you will write, whether that is once a week or once a month, and choose a time of day when you are most creative. And hold yourself to writing the entry: jot down the task on your to-do list, pencil it in on your calendar, and schedule electronic reminders.
The habit of keeping a journal is easier when it is done consistently. Here’s a checklist to make sure you are writing entries consistently:
- Do you use the same journal?
- Do you use the same writing utensil?
- Are you writing entries in the same location, specifically in one spot?
- Are you writing entries during the same time of day?
- Do you always date or not date your journal entries?
- Do you assign the same amount of space for each entry?
- Do you always sign or not sign your journal entries?
- Do you always doodle or not doodle alongside your journal entries?
Vary Your Journal Entry Topics
Writing entries on the same topic are dull to write and dull to read. Stay fresh when keeping a journal by switching your approach with each entry. Here are some icebreakers to spark your creativity:
- What happened yesterday that was funny or powerful?
- What problem do you need to sort out?
- Are you planning to try something new soon?
- What is your greatest fear?
- What song is stuck in your head?
- What fashion trend to you love or loathe?
- Describe a trivial object in the room and how you came to acquire it.
- What current event takes your attention?
- What is your progress on a current goal?
- What is your favorite spot in town?
Many websites have an abundance of prompts that makes keeping a journal easy and approachable.
What tips do you have to offer on keeping a journal?