Journal, and then Keep Journaling

If you’ve never journaled before, it’s time to start. Journaling—the practice of writing down your thoughts, impressions, and reactions every day—can help you become a more confident writer. Keeping a journal improves your memory and trains you to record everything you experience in a meaningful way. It’s an invaluable skill: anyone who writes anything should adopt a journaling practice and stick with it for an extended period of time. It’s one of the most reliable ways to find out more about yourself and your writing personality, something you can leverage not just in your creative work but also in order to improve your style and to pitch your books and articles.

These tools and resources can help you start journaling.

  1. One Line a Day: A Five Year Memory Book

Especially if you’ve never kept a journal before, this small, unintimidating book will make it easy for you to get started and keep going. The book is organized with five lines per page, one for each day of a year, and there’s only enough room to write one or two sentences (preferably one) per day. Once you cycle back to the page you visited in the previous year, you’ll be rewarded with a look back in time at what you were doing and saying on that day in your personal history.

  1. Journaling Techniques to Improve your Writing

Mari L. McCarthy at The Creative Penn has put together a collection of useful information on how journaling can make you a better writer, and how journaling is not writing.

  1. Why Good Writers Keep Journals

Ruth Folit at Writers Store records why “writers from Allen Ginsburg to Virginia Woolf to Victor Hugo” kept journals.

  1. 5 New Ways for Writers to Keep a Journal

If you’re ready to start journaling, Brian Klems at the Writer’s Digest has put together a useful list of modern ways to get started with a journaling practice.

  1. Creative Writing Journal Ideas

This useful page offers constructive ways to begin a journal and keep using it by finding creative ways to gather journaling ideas.

People watch: “The people around you can become fictional characters or the subjects of poems.”

Listen: “Eavesdrop in restaurants, in stores. Listen to your own family and friends — really listen. Not just to what they’re saying, but to the words they use”

“Free-write.” “This technique is especially useful as a warm-up for creative writing or as a cure for writer’s block. The way free-writing works is that you keep your pen moving on the page, normally during a set amount of time”

Read more: there’s a second part to the article that teaches you how to read actively, listen to music for writing, and take inspiration from a technique used by Italo Calvino.