- To record inspiring ideas - I used to carry a journal with me and record short descriptions of settings, characters, plot ideas, and anything else I ran across. I found this very helpful when I was writing short stories and fiction. I have never had the problem of writer's block; my problem is that I have more ideas than time.
- To capture my dreams - Sometimes I use a pen and paper, and sometimes I use digital tools like Pinterest or Notes (on my phone). When I get an idea, I try to write it down. When I don't write it down, I've discovered that I don't remember when I want to use an idea.
- To clarify my thoughts - Often my thoughts ramble. Anyone who has written a first draft understands that it takes a few sentences or paragraphs to dig down to the good ideas. Writing in a journal helps by getting all the fluff out of the way. It also helps because when I see something in writing, I'm able to understand what needs to be reworked.
- To think through issues - When I need to work through an issue, I find writing helps. I often make a list of pros and cons. Sometimes I just doodle. I can't explain how it works, but I know it does.
- To track progress - I find it helpful to write goals and review them on a regular basis. Sometimes when I go back to my goals I realize the goals were unrealistic, so I adjust them. Other times I am delighted and encouraged to see the progress I've made.
- To plan for the future - Sometimes I journal to capture items for a bucket list. I may not be able to tackle those items now, but it frees my mind if I can write them down. Sometimes I am also able to start taking steps towards goals that are several years down the road.
- To record personal thoughts and reflections - I currently have a devotional journal I write in every day. I write down verses that are meaningful to me each day, and also some prayer requests or thoughts about how the verses relate to me. In the past I also recorded events from the day and responses to those events.
- To remind to me be grateful - Most of us are aware of Ann Voskamp's 1,000 Gifts. It seems that us humans focus more on the negative than the positive. Writing down a few things every day that I am thankful for has been very helpful to me.
- To hone my writing skills - One way to get better at something is to practice. Writing in a journal allows me to see how words go together and think about how I can communicate ideas more effectively.
Writing in a journal is beneficial to all people, not just writers. According to Lori White's post,writing can:
- Reduce the symptoms of illnesses like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis
- Help people work through trauma
- Aid students in attaining higher grades
- Reduce stress levels
- Increase the odds of being hired for a job
- Improve creativity
Ruth L. Snyder is passionate about creativity. She is on a mission to help other creative people achieve their goals. Find out more at RLS Creativity.