After losing part of my journal earlier this month, I thought again about the journaling process.
Journaling is a casual form of writing that is pre-writing, like artists sketching in sketchbooks to figure out or practice drawing certain objects or parts of things. Journaling is a free form of expression and a way to play around with language and ideas.
My favorite type of journaling is freewriting, or writing nonstop for a certain period of time, say five to 10 minutes, without constraint or a specific goal in mind. I like using a line of text, a quote or an image to give me a starting point, not caring what I write as I let loose with the words.
Journals can be used for writing down ideas for first lines of stories, ideas for stories or capturing snippets of overheard conversation. You can use them to record details observed in the environment, such as how a building looks in the setting sun or geese with one foot up as they stand near a pond.
Here are some other uses for journals:
- A diary, or a place to capture daily experiences and reflections and keep track of daily activities.
- Writing exercises you want to try.
- Notes about the writing process.
- Notes from what you’re reading or the things you want to look up later, such as words, phrases and ideas.
- A list of the books you read and what you liked or didn’t like about the storytelling, plot or other elements of writing.
- Character sketches with magazine cutouts, found objects and written descriptions.
- Photos of settings and the buildings and places in your story.
The key to journaling is to write without expecting anything. Don’t worry about quality or grammar or style. Just worry about wanting to write and loving doing so while the words spill off the end of your fingertips.