Using a journal to note your ideas when writing could mean the difference to your writing.
I am always surprised at writers who do not keep a journal. That’s not to say that you cannot have a successful career without one, of course you can. It’s just that it is a great way to keep ideas and short notes in one place. With the number of thoughts, prompts, and ideas that pop into my mind, I have to keep a journal.
I have to admit, however, that I have only recently fallen back into journaling. My excuse here is that I have only recently fallen back into writing creatively. They go hand in hand.
Keep a journal handy
It may sound obvious, but the best way to write in a journal is to keep one handy. You can buy a book cheaply in the local supermarkets, and keep it in your bag or beside you for when ideas strike. Keeping one beside your bed is a good idea, as when you’re in a creative flow, ideas tend to pop in at all hours.
I have been a fan of this for ages. As a creative writing student, we would often be given a subject and be told to free write. Alan covered this in more detail in his recent blog on Freehand writing.
I soon found that I did this best when I woke up in the morning, capturing any dreams, and ideas that I had falling asleep. It gave a sense of freedom in writing, yet found it’s own structure. Definitely worth a try.
Keeps notes of ideas that surround you
As you’ll see Shirley do every Friday, keeping note of pictures that inspire you may prove fruitful one day. Perhaps you overheard a snippet of conversation, saw a photo, or had a memory pop up. A journal is a good place to jot these down and record them before they get lost.
Ask yourself a question
Some writer’s journals come with a question on every page, prompting you to answer them. If you don’t have one of those fancy specimens, you can easily ask yourself a question and write the answer.
Use it as a diary
Remember the journal is your own personal space, not to be shared unless you choose to. So feel free to write your innermost thoughts. Perhaps you have an anxiety about your writing? Putting it on paper may help you resolve the issue.
You can have a wish list on the inside cover, and tick them off as they happen. Perhaps you record your progress, it’s your journal, so it;s up to you, as long as you keep writing.