1. Journaling helps with memory
Journaling helps free up the mind, allowing you to remember more of what you want and less of what no longer serves you.
2. Journaling builds character
You can use journaling to get to know your characters better. What are their dreams, fears, and deepest desires? Actress Dominique Fishback did exactly this to prepare for her role in the film Judas and the Black Messiah: “I was really going off of my instincts and journaling as a character… I really had to make worlds.” Likewise, you can use journaling to explore your characters’ worlds and/or to better understand your own motivation as a writer. And yes, it can also build your character as a human being.
3. Journaling boosts creativity
Journaling provides a safe space to experiment with your writing. Experimentation and free-style writing lead to courageous self-expression.
4. Journaling is an accessible literary genre
Epistolary fiction can be constructed with journals, letters, diary entries, interviews, and more. As technology evolves, the elements that comprise this genre will also expand to include modern correspondence (i.e. podcasts, blog posts, and text messages.) The Color Purple is a popular example of an epistolary novel. The leading character, Celie, tells her story through private letters that she writes to God.
Journaling has helped me grow as a writer and human being. Do not feel bad if it is hard for you to do at first. Everyone takes a unique path to get to the sweet spot of their writing. Allow yourself to fill your pages with a bunch of “nothing” and one day you’ll be surprised at how your writing has evolved into something. I journaled for decades before I was happy with the way I journaled, but that didn’t stop me from benefiting from the practice. So whether you like it or not, it’s helping you! Julia Cameron, author of The Artist Way who developed a method of journaling known as Morning Pages calls journaling “The bedrock tool of a creative recovery…” I highly recommend her book if you are terrified about the idea of journaling. We also explore this topic in my eight-week course.