In our daily lives with our busy schedules, taking time to journal, especially when we are already writers, seems like a waste of time when we could be focusing on writing our novels, short stories, or articles. However, ever since I have resumed journaling, I have noticed the opposite. Journaling has helped me with my creative writing and my articles. But how could this be so?
Here are my three observations.
Journaling Gives me a Schedule
As writers, it can be hard to find a schedule, partly because writing is such a flexible pastime, parttime, or fulltime activity. And as much as we want to be responsible adults, with flexibility comes complacency. For flexibility is power and we all know what Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker who became Spider-man. Responsibility with flexibility is hard to put into place, the two of them being competing for our attention We are easily distracted creatures, prone to veg out on Youtube, Facebook, or, worse, Twitter. Responsibility coming with age? Sometimes, but other times hardly.
However, journaling encourages us to have a schedule. Most people journal at night, when the day is coming to a close. But there is no written law of when one should journal. Just find time to journal.
Ever since I’ve gotten back into journaling, I have noticed that a schedule has slowly developed for my writing. Before journaling, I usually work on my novels and short stories, or an article. That’s not to say that I don’t have lapses. Sometimes I’m still an unproductive slug. But I have many more moments of productivity, and I feel that journaling has been the key to helping me with my productivity in my other writing projects. Being a night owl, this productivity usually hits in the early evening.
Journaling Helps me Express Myself
Whether we want to admit it or not, we put much of ourselves in our stories and novels. Even if we are writing characters who are the polar opposites of us. It doesn’t matter if the writer is religious and the character he/she created is an atheist, or if their characters are vegetarians and they aren’t, or if they love sports but their characters hate it. Complete polar opposites of characters can be created that don’t reflect the author’s viewpoints, while the writer’s viewpoints still sink into the overall framework of the story, even if subtlety, which is often the case.
Self-expression and clarity of thought are particularly important when writing non-fiction papers such as articles or opinion pieces.
It’s why journaling is important. Think of it as an exercise in self-expression. I don’t know about all of you, my dear readers, but sometimes I think it just might be a more strenuous workout to exercise our minds to develop strong and clear self-expression rather than exercise our body with weight lifting, jogging, or pushups. Journaling allows us to develop what I call the thought-muscles to better express ourselves when we write fiction. For what is fiction but an exaggerated form of reality? Fiction is at least a great way to explore reality.
More Journaling Equals More Writing of my Other Work
Because journaling helps me set aside a schedule and helps me to develop my thoughts, I am able to write more of my fiction and articles. Part of my unproductivity came from feeling overwhelmed over the mountain of words I had to write and the numerous projects I had to finish. In a way, as cliche as this may sound, journaling has taught me that writing is a journey and not a destination. I, therefore, have been feeling less stressed about finishing projects by a certain date, which caused me to break down and not work on any projects at all. Ironically, I have gotten much more done ever since I started relaxing with journaling.
Journaling can work wonders. It’s what’s encouraged me to focus on my other writing, to not be so hard on myself if I have an off-day, and to start posting on WordPress again.