Keeping a Journal

Many people keep journals as a record of the happenings of the day and their feelings about them. Writers use journals in a different way. Instead of recording what happened each day, they write in a journal on a regular basis to find out more about themselves. They use their journal as a place to polish their voice and keep it strong.

You can do anything you want in your journal. It�s your own space. There are no rules or structure except what you decide on. The main purpose of a journal is to help you get used to putting ideas on paper.

Ways to Get Started

  • Take time at the end of each day to record images, events, and scenes that have stuck with you
  • Write down details you recall
  • Make notes about other images or events the day�s images and events suggest to you
  • Explore what the things you remember tell you about yourself
  • Write freely for ten minutes using an image, event, or scene from the day as a starting point
  • Reread what you wrote on other days and develop ideas that strike you

Experiment

Use your journal as a place to

  • play with words or phrases
  • tell stories from different points of view
  • compose a brief autobiography
  • express opinions on issues
  • apply different tones (for example: humorous, tragic, animated, dry, somber) to your writing
  • create dialogue
  • copy the style of other writers
  • write a letter to yourself, to someone else, or to no one in particular
  • review books you have read or films you have seen

If you keep a journal faithfully, you will find that it is more than a place to practice writing. It is a place to store your personal experience. And every good writer knows that personal experience is the most valuable resource for writing.

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