Keeping a journal improves your writing

Hey, writers! Throughout these prompts, we’ve usually focused on narrative writing or writing fiction, and how we can better our writing through character development, strengthening plot structures and finding our style. We’ve also touched on poetry, songwriting and other styles as well. One area we haven’t explored much yet are journals.

Why keep a journal?

Keeping a journal or diary can be a great thing for writers and non-writers alike. It is one of the most personal forms of writing. When journaling you are writing almost exclusively for yourself. Other forms of creative writing often take detours from your initial thoughts because you are considering readers, the plot, your characters and many other elements of a strong poem, song or story.

Man sits at a desk and writes in a journal

However, keeping a journal for yourself eliminates all those things. You are simply writing as yourself to yourself. This can help your voice as a writer and is also a great mental tool to process anything that’s been on your mind lately. By getting the words out onto a page, we are sometimes able to better understand what we are feeling or thinking. Since you don’t have an audience, you can be as open and truthful or as poetic and metaphorical as you like!

To practice this simply find a comfortable place to sit and relax. Spend some time thinking about what’s been going on in your life and write about it. No feedback should be necessary for this one, as everyone’s journal will be unique and specific to them. It’s not a matter of improving but simply staying in communication with yourself and your voice.

Prompt

If you’re having a hard time deciding what to write about, here are some questions to get you started:

  • What happened in the last week? When did you have fun? When did you not have fun?
  • Write a letter to yourself in 10 years. Who are you? Who do you hope to be? What do you want to accomplish?
  • What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in the last year? What’s the worst thing that happened?
  • Write about the first thing that comes to your mind for half a page. Think about something else. Then start writing about the next thing for another half page. Don’t focus too long on one thing!

Have fun writing!

Kody is a Youth Librarian at TSCPL who primarily works with teens. He enjoys music, writing, photography, and lots of coffee in his spare time. Don't hesitate to say hello!