How to use journaling to improve your writing

I use journaling to improve my writing which is why I mention journaling in nearly every blog post. I talk about journaling a lot because I want to share what has helped me so that everyone else can benefit.

And I am not the only one. A lot of people are talking about journaling. But even though it might feel like the latest fad, journaling and keeping a diary has been around for a long time. The Egyptians have been documented as keeping journals. People’s interest in improving their mental health is the most likely reason that it has been talked about so much recently.

Journaling has definitely helped my mental health and I believe it has also helped my writing. So, I have written three blog posts about the benefits of journaling, the different journaling techniques and journaling prompts for writers. 

Read on for a synopsis of each post. Read them all or just pick the one you need.

journaling techniques to improve your writing
There are many different journaling techniques to choose from.

The complete guide to the benefits of journaling for writers

I talk a lot about journaling and how beneficial journaling is for writers. But I have been keeping a diary in various forms since I was young so journaling is not hard for me. But when you are interested in the idea of journaling to help your writing there are so many options and methods of journaling for writers that it can be possible to be paralysed by choice.

How will journaling help improve your writing? Why should writers journal?

Writing is a skill. So the more we practise the better we will be. I use journaling to help me figure out what my blocks are first of all. Sometimes, it has happened that the reason I have struggled to write in the past is because I am exhausted. But, it is not until I start writing about it in my journal that I realise exactly how little sleep I have had and that I do not physically have the energy to create or focus. 

Have you ever been stuck for ideas to write about? Have you struggled to find momentum with your current writing project? Has your head been full of thoughts and worries about the current situation in the world? Have you found it difficult to think about anything beyond your own personal struggles? All of these can make it difficult to write and this is where journaling can help your writing.

Journaling techniques to improve your writing
Choose from this selection of journaling techniques.

13 journaling techniques to improve your writing

There are lots of journaling techniques to choose from. The most important part of journaling is that you do it. How often and what it looks like is completely up to you.

Getting used to regularly sitting down and producing words will always help your writing. Journaling is a great way to get to know yourself better which will also help your writing.

When you have made the decision to include journaling your next decision is what type of journaling are you going to do?

Maybe you have not been journaling because you are confused by how many options there are. You might be already journaling and wondering if there is an easier way?

I use a pen and a notebook and free write. This is the journaling technique that works best for me. Before I wrote this post I spent a few minutes writing in my journal. 

The reason this journaling technique works for me is partly because I had a diary when I was younger and that was the only option I know about at that time. Partly because I enjoy writing and putting my thoughts down in words feels good for me.

Don’t feel trapped in any particular type of journaling. I occasionally use bullet points instead of full sentences. When life is busy jotting down 5 bullet points can feel like a lot, never mind decorating the page with images as well. But if drawing images and choosing a colour palette makes you feel good then go for it.

Click here for a list of 13 different journaling techniques. 

Use these journaling prompts to unlock your inner writer (and overcome writer’s block)

When you are trying to write getting any words down on the page can feel like a real challenge. This is where journaling prompts can help. Many people enjoy journaling and there are a lot of benefits to journaling regularly.  Sitting down regularly and journaling can set up a writing habit that is sustainable. 

But journaling is not always easy. Even if we are only writing about ourselves. This is why I have come up with this list of journaling prompts to help you. 

These journaling prompts are not designed to help you think of story ideas (although that might happen). They are to help you learn more about yourself as a writer. In answering these journaling prompts you will be able to understand some of your biases better.

For example, one of my biases is that to take myself seriously as a writer I need to write in a garret/attic by candlelight. I’m not sure exactly where that idea came from but it also fits the narrative of the writer suffering for their art. It was also limiting where I thought I could write and be creative.

Once I identified my limited thinking, I was in a better position to challenge it and change it. It’s still a work in progress but I’m getting there. Now, I’m expanding my thinking about what I need to write and be creative. 

Whether you journal regularly or are brand new to journaling you will find something to help you in these blog posts.