Journaling is something many writers would love to have the time to start. Well, I’m here to tell you that you do have the time. If you still disagree then you need to make time to journal daily as it will improve your writing.
Every writer knows that creating a daily practice is important for improving writing skills and developing a writing muscle. If you are struggling with a wip or lost for inspiration on what to write about sitting down and getting it done each day can be difficult. It can create a block rather than inspire us.
How does Journaling help?
Journaling is a great way to explore ideas or topics that we may never normally think about. Approaching an idea from a different angle can also give a different perspective and help overcome a stumbling block in a bigger piece of writing.
It is also a great way to unload all of the things that are clouding our minds and distracting us.
How you use your journal is entirely up to you but the most important thing is that you start one.
Where to start
There are many ways you can start but first, you need to decide whether you’re a pen and paper person, an app person or a keyboard person.
For me, I’m a pen and paper person. I love the feel of my thoughts flowing through the pen in my hand, leaving their imprint on a clean white sheet of paper. One thing I do tend to stumble with is the notebook. There are so many beautiful ones but I find that if I do use a more expensive one, I hate to make mistakes and then I find I don’t start in it!
Paper and Pen
The best way to start with paper and pen is to buy a cheap lined notebook. It is entirely up to you whether it’s A5 or A4, the most important thing is to make sure it is cheap, then you won’t feel so bad if you do make mistakes. I prefer lined paper and think it is easier to write in but if you prefer plain or dots, then get one of those.
There are many apps available to help you journal. I have to admit I haven’t tried any of these but here is a list of top journaling apps you may want to try:
- Day One (Mac, iOS, Android)—best for writing quick journal entries in a simple, intuitive interface;
- Diarium (Windows, Android)—best for dictating journal entries and seamless integration with Windows;
- Glimpses (Windows)—best for free journaling on Windows;
- Journey (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Chrome OS, Web)—best for seamless journaling and syncing on any platform;
- Penzu (Web, iOS, Android)—best for journaling in a blog-like environment while keeping your entries secure
- Dabble.me (Email)—best for journaling by email
- Momento (iOS)—best for automated journaling from your social media feeds
- Grid Diary (iOS)—best for templated journaling;
- Five Minute Journal (iOS, Android)—best for quick morning and evening reflections;
Sitting at a desk and tapping on a keyboard is the best way many writers work. If this is you then you can journal this way too. You could simply open up a new document in Word, Google Docs or any word processing software and file them away in a dedicated folder.
Alternatively, there is a website called 750 words where you can write 750 words daily and the site tracks your word count alongside other aspects of your writing such as how many words per minute and how distracted you where. There is a free trial but eventually, it costs $5 a month.
Some of the apps mentioned above also have an online version so you can utilise both your keyboard and phone/tablet.
Word of warning
One thing I need to say before you head off and start creating your journaling habit is that for you to get the most out of your journal, you need to keep it private. You can use pieces out of it to create content or add to your work in progress. But this is a safe place for you to write whatever you want, explore new ideas without judgment and build your authentic style and voice.