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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Does Keeping A Journal Make You A Better Writer?

I've always kept a journal, or a diary, as I prefer to call it. Especially when I was growing up I couldn't wait to transfer my emotions onto the four lined section I had for that day. Telling my diary just what fun, exciting times I had during my teenage years. Writing how much I loved my life on every single page. That's a complete lie by the way - growing up I hated pretty much everything about life.

But I always found that writing down my feelings helped me a great deal to process them and to put my emotions into some kind of logical order. I had a better insight to why I felt how I felt, instead of just trying to work out the thoughts in my head. 

It's no wonder I felt better because countless pieces of research have proven that writing down your problems does actually help you to solve them. Your brain can see the physical evidence through your writing that there's a difficulty which needs to be solved and it quickly goes about finding potential solutions to the problem.

I had a huge diary when I was travelling. I went out and bought a A4 one to keep a record of my experiences throughout the year. And I wrote in it every day, something which most of my fellow travellers could not understand.

But I am so glad I did because it was these diaries that gave me the inspiration to write my first two books. I wouldn't have had this inspiration if it wasn't for them.

So the pivotal question of this blog is does keeping a diary make you a better writer?

I believe it does, even if you're writing pure fiction books. You don't have to write memoirs for it to be helpful. Keeping a diary helps you process your thoughts, condensing them into succinct notes. It forces you to cut the bull and focus on the main points. And this tool is invaluable to all writers. When you're faced with writing out plotlines I believe if you're used to keeping a diary you'll find the process easier.

So, what about you? Do you keep a regular diary of day to day life? Do you find it helps when you're writing?


  1. I write every day because it's fun. And I'm travelling at the moment, and write every time I stop for a drink or meal! I shall complete two A5 exercise books during the month I'm in Laos - so I must be writing even more than I did on my long trip (only 13 books in 8 months!)

    But I have also noticed how many young people are also busy scribbling - they enjoy the drinking and throwing themselves in rivers, of course - but also feel a need to record it all so they can tell the stories when they get home. Good for them.

  2. Writing letters is also a good idea. Make sure that what you write is captivating to your one-person audience. Practice on each individual you're writing to. Don't ramble on about mundane things; your reader is apt to start skimming. Keep it vibrant and surprising!

  3. Hi Jo, I'm envious of your travelling time - I must book another trip away soon. Good luck with your writing - I hope it continues to be fun for you.

    Hi Lisa, I agree writing letters is indeed a brilliant idea. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Tried to comment already, so please excuse if it comes over twice--more or less. I write morning pages, which are a free association of whatever comes to mind when I wake up. I'm not sure it improves my writing, but it creates inertia. If you write, then you continue writing, which helps.

  5. Its a nice information and also i am so happy that i came to know about your journal writing experience through your blog..

    Journal writing

  6. Thank you Tutorsindia. I'm glad you enjoyed reading my post.