7 Ways to Use Your Writer's Journal

Want to start a writer's journal? You'll find ideas and resources on this page. For more creative writing tips, be sure to join our free email group.

Many writers find it helpful to keep journals or notebooks. It's a way to keep your writing muscles in shape and to collect material you can use later in stories, memoirs, or poems.

There's no right or wrong approach to journaling, but here are some ideas.

1) Write about your day.

One option is to use your journal as a diary, where you write about what happened during your day.

See how vividly you can capture your experiences with descriptive details of sights, sounds, smells and sensations. You can practice writing dialogue by reconstructing conversations you've had or overheard.

2) Write about your memories.

You can use the journal to explore your past, reliving your memories and turning them into scenes on the page.

Write about your memories in our online course on memoir writing.

3) Keep a fake journal.

Another idea is to keep a fake journal. Make up events that never happened and write about them as though they did. You can write in your own voice or in the voice of a character you invent.

This is an interesting way to get to know characters that you can use in your fiction. Some of your fake journal entries might turn into stories.

4) Plan a writing project.

Many writers use journals to plan their writing projects, taking notes on their ideas.

Some writers make character profiles or draw pictures of their characters. You can also collect photos of people who look like your characters or places that you might use as story settings.

5) Set goals.

You can use your journal to set goals for your writing and track your progress. For example, if you're writing a novel, you might decide to write a certain number of words each week and calculate how long it will take you to finish a draft.

6) Take notes on your reading.

The books you read will feed your writing, and you can use your journal to take notes or copy out passages that inspire you. Your journal's a place to have interesting conversations with yourself.

7) Enjoy your freedom.

Remember, the only rule for your journal is that there are no rules.

The journal's just for you. The privacy of a journal means that you can write with absolute freedom, knowing that no one else will read it.

Writer's Journal - Next Steps

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