Why Journal? A Look at the Positive Effects of Journaling


Guest post by Story Circle Member B. Lynn Goodwin

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How can a journal help a writer? Journaling allows writers to vent, process, explore, discover, and rejoice. It offers a safe place to explore, express oneself, dig deeper, analyze, and discover truths.

Over the past ten years my journals have been

A record

A place to spew

A place to delve and see where the pen takes me

A place to hone my thoughts

A place to sharpen my craft, and figure out what I really mean to say

A place to make discoveries

A place to find story ideas

A place to find resolution or the next step on my journey

A place to make lists and cross off what I accomplish

A place to look back on what was once important and gain perspective

A place to record my reflections

A place to hone my character’s voices

A place to explore my character’s secret thoughts and private lives

I write my journals in longhand. I like the smooth flow of a pen on paper. I like the progress of moving from left to right, line after line, traveling down one page and on to the next. The rhythm of longhand soothes me.

In addition to the fact that university studies have shown that writing saves lives, here are a few other reasons to journal:

I write to share

I write a pull out secrets locked place in my brain

I write to see what happens if I release my private truths

I write to move to a new level of comprehension or analysis

I write to tweak life and imagine happy endings

I write to tweak life and imagine worst-case scenarios

I write gratitude lists to feel better

Try some of my favorite sentence starts and see what happens:

Today I feel…

Today I believe…

Today I want…

Inside of me…

No one knows I worry about…

I am…

I can barely remember…

I love the smell of…

If I ever talk in my sleep…

What if…

Though it does not always seem like it, my journals have the power to get me out of my head and into action. They are a safe place to heal. Healing does not wipe out old problems or past actions. It washes over them, helping you cope, change your attitude, and move forward.

Heal your spirit and discover the spirits of your characters by writing in a journal.

BlynnPB.Lynn Goodwin is the owner of Writer Advice, http://www.writeradvice.com and the author of You Want Me to Do What? Journaling for Caregivers, which contains encouragement, instructions, and over 200 sentence starts to help you journal any time, even if writer’s block rises up like a granite wall in front of you. She’s also the author of Talent (Eternal Press), which will be out November 1, 2015. 

She teaches through Story Circle Network, welcomes all kinds of editing clients, continues to journal frequently, and is hard at work on a YA novel. Talent Cover

4 responses to “Why Journal? A Look at the Positive Effects of Journaling

  1. What a wonderful post! As I read down your list I kept nodding in agreement. Thanks for reminding us about the value of maintaining a regular journaling practice! Really it’s the starting point of a focused writing life! 🙂

  2. I find that my journaling seems to come in fits and starts. There are months when I never miss a day, and then weeks when I never seem to write in it at all. I used to try to play catch-up then, but now I just write whatever I feel like I have to write on any given day and then let it go. I spend a lot of time unraveling the tangles in my life on paper, trying to see what’s happening and understanding how it makes me feel and what effect I can have on it. Of course, I don’t always follow through on my resolutions and decisions in real life!

  3. I agree, Edith, and it’s always there, so if you forget for a few days… or months… or even years, you can go back to it anytime.
    http://www.writeradvice.com
    Check out our current contest there

  4. You said a mouthful, Yemenijourney. “I spend a lot of time unraveling the tangles in my life on paper, trying to see what’s happening and understanding how it makes me feel and what effect I can have on it. Of course, I don’t always follow through on my resolutions and decisions in real life!” What an awesome response.
    http://www.writeradvice.com
    Author of TALENT, coming November 1 from Eternal Press

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