Journaling for Article Writing

Think journaling is old fashioned? Think again. Are you having a hard time getting started on your article writing? Combine writers block with journaling to spark your article writing frenzy.

Journaling is a powerful tool for brainstorming ideas, keeping your writing skills sharp, and for storing ideas and notes for future article pieces.

“Keeping a journal of our thoughts, experiences, insights and learnings promotes mental clarity, exactness and context.” – Stephen R. Covey

To make the most of your journal, I suggest the following 4 tips to all article writers, beginning through advanced.

1) Get the right tools.

I love shopping for notebooks because there’s such a wide variety available today. Looking for a journal with flowers and other fancy designs? Try Barnes and Noble or Borders bookstores. Wal-Mart and office supply stores sell functional albeit less expensive journals. Make sure it feels good in your hands. Too small and you’ll breeze through the pages too quickly. Too bulky and you won’t take it with you for fear someone might snicker.

And, don’t forget your writing utensil. Your pen options are either rollerball or gel. Some use a 0.38 Uniball pen. I’ve only been able to find them in OfficeMax. I adore the fine point but they do tend to run out of ink faster than other pens. I love coloured ink, so I have a pack of gel pens that I can use.  Use what you like best. If you hate to smear ink, or are clumsy like me and get gel all over you hands, shirt, and pants then stick with a ball point. Or, better yet, get a pencil. I don’t use pencils because I tend to erase too much.

2) Make it a habit.

This goes without saying. If you want to be successful at journaling, you have to journal. Pick a time and spot where you can write everyday. Then just do it. Stay away from your computer so you won’t be distracted by everyday business.

3) Fire your inner critic.

I used to think that all writing should be critiqued, reviewed, and revised. Once I let go of my inner critic, I began to enjoy journaling. Many times I pen random thoughts that would have been lost otherwise. Journaling should be inspirational, not drudgery. For those of you who are perfectionists, this step will be harder to do. Don’t write on your computer. When you see the autocorrect marks lighting up your screen, you’ll be tempted to make corrections. Use paper and pen and just write.

I have been recently involved in a “Shut Up And Write-athon” program which has helped me deal with this.  Basically you choose a time that you will write for – 10, 20 or 30 minutes – you choose and then you just write.  I have a notebook that I use for this purpose.  When you are all done, then you can evaluate it, decide if it is good, or if it is trash and burn it.  It is very freeing.  Stella Orange is the host of this program.  Look her up, she has all kinds of great tips.

4) Use your journal for article fodder.

Can’t think of anything to write? Flip through older journal entries. I guarantee it won’t take but a few minutes to find and idea or inspiration to get started. I purposely review journal entries to find new article ideas.

Journaling is an exercise to help you let go of yourself and break through any writer’s block. The important point to remember is that there is no wrong way to journal.

Try to journal at least once a day. Don’t think you have anything to journal about? Write down your daily to do list. Sometimes just getting something on paper will get your mind working. You never know until you try. Have fun, enjoy the time, and get writing!

To your speaking success

Fran Watson

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