1. Journaling Relieves Stress
Writing professionally can be stressful. Demands on word counts and creativity can be draining. You might think, why on earth would I de-stress from writing by writing? When you’re writing creatively, you’re writing for a specific purpose. You are fleshing out your characters, setting a scene, or moving plot along. But when you journal, you are just marinating in your own thoughts. Putting your worries, frustrations, and victories to paper can help you add closure to your day, and can provide an emotional release. (This is assuming that you’re journaling before bed.)
2. Journaling Helps You Process Your Thoughts
Sometimes in the midst of releasing your emotions on paper, your mind is clear enough to work through those emotions, and figure out solutions to your frustrations. I’ve had some great “a-ha” moments when I’m journaling, or maybe thirty minutes to an hour after closing my journal I’ve found mental peace after littering pages with word vomit. And who knows? Maybe in the midst of one of your own word vomit sessions, you’ll find the solution to that plot hole you unintentionally fell into. By the way, if you spend time journaling, you’re likely to be physically and emotionally healthier according to a 2005 scientific study.
3. Journaling Boosts Your Self-Esteem
If you spend ten minutes every day writing about something positive you did or something you like about yourself, your self-esteem will thank you. Similarly, writing five things you’re thankful for each day can make you more grateful, and as a result, can make you happier. You’re enforcing positive truths about yourself and your writing each time you practice this.
4. You’ll Be In Good Company
Kurt Cobain. Abraham Lincoln. Leonardo Da Vinci. Andy Warhol They all kept journals. If it worked for them, who’s to say what you’ll get from the practice of journaling? The hardest part of journaling is starting the habit. The easiest way is to schedule a time for yourself that will be consistent every day. Get a notebook that you love looking at or touching, or if you prefer to go digital, try Evernote or other note-taking apps. Of course, there’s always blogging if you’re ok with being more public with your mental processes. No matter which route you take, journaling is a worthwhile life practice to start. Do you journal? How does it improve your life? Let us know in the comments section!
Make a Start by Positioning Yourself in the Present
Set a timer for ten minutes and tackle these questions as spontaneously as possible.
- What is the story I tell myself about my writing life and who I am as a writer?
- How can I reframe this story?
- What is the story I would really like to be telling myself about my writing life?