Do You Keep a Journal?

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Confession time. I hate journaling. I really do.

I wish I were the kind of writer who relished in awaking in the deep dark night to pour profound thoughts onto the page, but I’m not. Instead of writing in the wee hours of the morning, I’m in bed. Warm. Enjoying a restful sleep. To wake up would mean leaving my warm cocoon and entering the frigid world of reality. I’m not doing that.

Besides, I can never figure out what I’d say in my journal entries. “I made a kick-butt date loaf today!” just doesn’t seem particularly important in the grand scheme of things. I know. I could use prompts and mine my mind for diamonds, but seriously… I just don’t think they’re there.

However, I know many writers keep journals. From what I hear, there are wonderful benefits to training the mind to create on demand, to enter the world of imagination without agenda, to document everything from the mundane to the exciting.

But I’m just not like that. And it’s OK.

Each of us is unique, and we writers need to recognize that. Just because our creative processes are as unique as we are, doesn’t mean one method is right, another is wrong.

So… if you’re on the fence concerning keeping a journal, let’s discuss the technicalities of keeping one starting with how (and why) you should you keep a journal, plus an alternative to keeping one? Here are my ideas:

* You can use a journal to record thoughts that you can later mine for “nuggets,” information you could otherwise forget, but may be useful in an article or story.

* You can use it as an inspirational tool, a way to recognize how life always seems to “work out” despite difficult circumstances.

* You can write in a fancy diary-style book, a cheap notebook, napkin shards. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that you record your thoughts.

* I just said I don’t keep a journal. I don’t. I do, however, write ideas on recipe cards… the kind I can get at the dollar store. In one fell swoop, I get 100 cards and I’m good to go. I get an idea, I write it on the card, then file it in a recipe box I nabbed at Good Will. For me, it works. For other writers, it may suck.

My point? Do what works for you.

If you’ve got any thoughts, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments. 🙂

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