The most important aspect of writing is feeling comfortable. That’s where a journal comes in handy. A journal is your all-the-time connection to your creative self, a tool you reach for not only when you sit down to write something, but also to record the torrent of ideas running through your mind.
A journal is a safe place where you can write anything. You can write complete sentences, fragments, snippets of overheard conversation, a clever turn of phrase you heard at the gym, or even ideas for your next article. It’s a place to experiment with words the way visual artists experiment with shape and color. In addition, journal can even be a diary, or a place for lists of errands and groceries. How much you use it is a matter best left to each individual writer.
A journal must be private. You may choose to share bits and pieces of your journal with family and close friends, but to truly use the journal, you must be able to write in it without fear. The easiest way to accomplish this is to keep the journal nearby at all times; this serves the dual purposes of maintaining your privacy and having the journal available whenever you feel like jotting something down. If someone close to you expresses discomfort, the best policy is always honesty. Explain that it’s your creative safe haven, and it’s something every writer does. These kinds of discussions are simply part of being a creative person.
The kind of journal you use is a matter of preference no different from the brand of mustard you prefer, or the type of hammer kept in the garage. If you like cheap spiral notebooks, go for it! Also fine are small Moleskine notebooks, dedicated hardcover tomes available at book and craft stores, as well as online, or any other bound mass of paper you can find. If you’re a digital person, or if you don’t want to carry around yet another item, journaling applications such as MacJournal and LifeJournal are available for your smartphones and laptops.
Finally, it’s important to write in your journal every day. Regular activity helps keep the creative juices flowing, which leads to higher confidence, better writing, and a heightened sense of self-worth. So go on! Get that journal! Write something down! You’ll feel great for doing it.