I remember starting to write in a journal when I was in middle school. It was the summer after 7th grade, after my family moved before I started going to another school. I don’t remember why I started journaling. What I do know is that I haven’t stopped since, even during those moments when I wasn’t writing in my journal very often.
Now, I’m on my ninth journal and still going strong. As a writer, I think it’s important you keep a journal. You don’t necessarily have to write in it every day (I know I don’t), but I believe it’ll help you in the long run.
What I love about keeping a journal is being able to write my own personal thoughts down on paper. Nowadays with advancements in technology, digital platforms are becoming an increasingly more popular mode of communication. Emails, texts, social media—everything is digital. Even writers use digital forms to store their writing somewhere safe. But with digitalizing everything comes risks to your writing being stolen or worse, accidentally deleted. So it’s nice to keep a journal because I can physically write my thoughts down on paper without having to worry about someone else reading them. It’s also nice going through the motion of physically writing things down because it allows you to stay in practice of handwriting.
I love keeping a journal too because I can write without judgment. I don’t have to clean up my handwriting, make it neat and pretty or worry about someone else reading it. My journal is for me to express my thoughts only so I can use it however I want and not have to worry about any writing mistakes I may make. It’s also a nice way for you as a writer to express all of your thoughts, allowing you the chance to get whatever thoughts are buzzing around in your head out.
Whenever I was in college, one of the classes I took was called Creative Nonfiction. In that class, we were assigned the task of writing about personal experiences in our lives. And one of the things we talked about was using writing to heal. About how by writing about some of your most personal experiences, you are acknowledging your past and can use it as a means to heal from the trauma and move on. I think writing in your journal works in the same way too. For one, it’s a very personal mode of writing where you document all of the experiences you’ve gone through in your life. But you document them from your own experience, sharing your own thoughts about what happened and how it’s shaped you as a person. I like writing in my journal in this way because I’m able to bring fresh thoughts out that I might not be ready to share on my blog yet. I can write about the most personal things, and not have to worry about someone else seeing them when I’m not ready.
I also like journal writing because I fully believe it helps you improve as a writer. It allows you to get any thoughts out that might be stopping you from writing. But I also think it can improve the way you write by allowing you to write in whatever way you want. When writing in a journal, the only person you’re writing for is yourself. You don’t have to worry about someone else reading your personal thoughts, so you can write about whatever you want, which can improve your writing because you don’t have to worry about writing for a perspective audience. You can write about whatever’s on your mind with no care in the world.
I also like to write in my journal because I feel like I’m accomplishing something. I’m already on my ninth journal, which feels like quite an accomplishment to me. And seeing all those blank pages I have left makes me want to continue writing in my journal to see how long it takes me to fill them. I also like it because I like how writing in a journal feels. It feels like I’m writing in my own personal space where nobody can bother me. Each journal feels like a different chapter in my life, like I’m telling my story in different parts. It’s like an adventure story where I’m just waiting to fill in the next journey I myself as the character am about to go on. I don’t know where it’s taking me; I just know I’m going somewhere. And with each journal I complete, I learn something new about the world around me and myself.
As a writer, I believe journal writing has vastly improved my life. It’s allowed me to keep writing, even during moments when I don’t feel like it. It’s also allowed me to continue expressing myself in whatever way I see fit as well as makes me feel like I’m accomplishing a lot even when that really isn’t the case. I know it’s something I’m going to continue doing in the years to come, and I can’t wait to see how many more journals’ pages I’ll fill.
What about you? Do any of you write in a journal? Leave in the comments below your own experiences with journal writing and whether you feel like its benefited you in anyway.