Yeah I know - I can hear you already. "There she is again, going on again about keeping a daily journal." Sigh ....
As you may have guessed, I advocate for daily journal writing as a valuable tool for writers, because I believe this practice will make you a better writer. Yes. Honest.
Why do I say this? Here are five reasons:
1. Part of writing is collecting inspiration, being a magpie, gathering sights, sounds, tastes, smells, feelings, and writing about them in our journal, thus honing our ability to bring situations to life for our readers through observation and sensory description.
2. We meet people most days - some we know well, others we don't - writing down these encounters in our journal can give us ideas for characters in our writing. Maybe the encounter is joyous, sad, tense, ridiculous, unexpected ... all good grist for the writing mill.
3. Newspaper articles, magazine snippets and photos included in the journal can provide story ideas and help get us through the dreaded 'writer's block.'
4. Drawing in your journal can be good therapy. It can help to ease our creativity out when the muse is hiding. You don't have to be an artist. Just the act of drawing can suffice.
5. Sometimes when we're out and about, we might hear bits of conversation ... one time in Seattle Washington, many years ago, walking in Pioneer Square, my friend and I overheard two women talking about something peculiar that had happened to one of them and the other said, "Well, that was nothing but a fig on your imagination." Did she mean to say 'a figment of your imagination'? Little phrases that catch in our minds can be used when creating dialogue.
And another thing. Keeping a journal can help you learn more about you, the writer, and the more you understand what makes you tick, the better your writing will become.
Have a go. Find something you like writing in/on (notebook, tablet) and a comfortable place to write, make a time each day to sit down - even if it's only for a few minutes because it's the habit, the regularity, that counts - and begin. Write about anything you like. You'll be surprised by what might come out.
"In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself. The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather — in many cases — offers an alternative to it." --Susan Sontag, Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963