My friend Jodi passed on some info about author B. Lynn Goodman, who writes at length about the importance of journaling in her book You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers.
The book is based on Goodman's own experience as a caregiver for her mother and how she fell into the daily practice of journaling. The book includes over 200 prompts for readers to follow her lead and start the practice, as well.
The daily practice of journaling is invaluable for writers. Whether you jot down a few lines or observations about your trip to the mall, or have a set time for your journaling every day, just the practice of getting words down on a page regularly helps you establish self-discipline and can get you into the "flow" of writing regularly.
Below are a few tips for getting started with journaling:
First rule--there are no rules! Your journal is really what you make it. If you're a list maker, use your journal to jot things down. I suppose you can call my little notebook my "journal"--I have a little orange notebook that I keep in my purse. I write down article ideas and possible markets for them, lists in varying stages, reminders, quotes, book titles...you name it.
You don't need a "pretty" journal. Plenty of folks give me those pretty, leather-bound journals as gifts, but I'm embarrassed to say that I prefer a regular old spiral-bound notebook. Out of all of the journals I've kept over the years, I've never been one for the fancy books that almost look too pretty to write in. I taught a workshop about journaling over the summer, and a few other writers and I came to the same conclusion--you can rip out the spiral-bound pages...it seems like a crime to rip a page out of one of those nice books.
Don't hold back. Your journal is for you. Remember those diaries back in high school? This is the same idea. Don't be afraid to get your thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams down on paper. Don't worry about grammar or sentence structure or any of that technical stuff--just write. As much as you can, as often as you can.
Be observant. Pay attention to the world around you. Jot down quirky or interesting phrases that you hear or physical traits that you notice as you people-watch. That information just might be useful later.
What about you? Is journaling part of your regular routine? Any other tips for those new to the practice?