The Benefits of Keeping A Writing Journal

The Benefits of Keeping a Writing Journal R.S. Mollison-Read

I’ve written before about my extreme love of journaling in detail here, but until this past year I wasn’t keeping a writing specific journal (other than one in which I could scribble down ideas I had, or passages of dialogue that came to me while I was out and about.)

In the last year, I’ve started writing about my writing (I know, it’s all very meta.) But I’ve found three specific benefits from keeping such detailed entries about my writing process:

#1. Specificity:

I keep a very specific record about my writing habits in my writing journal. The date, and time I spent writing are noted, and I also record whether I was working on my novels, writing for my serialized Wattpad stories, or blogging. I journal about whether I was able to focus well, and get into a good state of flow, or whether I was more distracted. What I’m currently reading is also something that I’ve found worthy of recording (for reasons I will get into in ‘Analyzing trends’). The more detail I put into my journal entry, the more benefits I can extract from later analysis.

#2. Emotion:

I also take careful note of how I’m feeling on the day of writing – noting any big events happening in my life, and my physical and mental state as well. Unfortunately many people dismiss, or completely ignore the impact their emotions have on their ability to work. By assessing and managing my emotions, I find I am an infinitely more productive writer (as well as a generally happier person!) Reflecting on your emotional state,  can help you to identify triggers that might derail your writing efforts.

#3. Analyzing trends:

Keeping a writing journal in this way has allowed me to analyze the trends in my writing productivity against what is going on in my life. I have been able to find the optimal time of day for me to get my best writing done, and I’ve discovered what triggers a ‘bad writing day’. One of the most interesting trends I’ve discovered is that when I am completely absorbed in a work of fiction, my own writing motivation can suffer. Because I noticed this trend, I’ve been able to readjust my writing and reading schedule so that my reading doesn’t interfere with my writing!

Do you keep a journal about your writing habits?Tell me what works for you in the comments below!


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