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3 Benefits of Keeping a Journal

When keeping a journal—regular (even daily), some people feel a release of energy they don’t have in other writing forms. Because of that, journal keeping can be an important developmental experience for you both as a person and as a writer. Because the journal is private by definition, you can write in it without fear of how an audience might react. No one will ever see it. Not ever—unless you want them to!

Your journal is a kind of writing laboratory. Scientists use a laboratory to conduct experiments. They check what results from adding this to that, from changing relationships and quantities and sequences. Sometimes when the results are interesting and prove worth pursuing, they continue conducting experiments in similar areas, pairing these findings with those from other experiments.

1) Keeping a journal can be this sort of laboratory for your writing.

What if you record your dreams? What if you make lists? What if you do free associations of ideas? What if you recreate the past as you wish it had been? (Give yourself a commanding role!) Have everything turn out “the way it was supposed to!”

2) You can also experiment with various styles and techniques to record your feelings and perceptions.

What if you write only in long sentences? or only in short ones? Or never use the word I? Or use stream of consciousness (thoughts just as they come without any editing)?

3) A journal can be a tool to get around writer’s block.

Perhaps your writer’s block is due to being cramped by the emotional limits you have imposed on yourself. Use your journal as a place to break free to a more authentic you.

Keeping a journal can be a useful tool when you are writing your memoir. It will give you a place where you can experiment with your writing style, form new themes and associations, and help you find your way around writer’s block.

Good luck  keeping a journal and incorporating it into your memoir!

TheMemoirNetwork.comFor more on journaling for the memoir writer, listen to Journals and Memoirs, an MP3, which is part of our new collection of MP3s, Making the Story Bigger, Second Draft Work.

You may also want to visit Easy Journaling which offers an ebook on the topic and Center for Journal Therapy.

A Coach Can Take You Through the Writing Process—More Quickly

A writing coach can help you at every step of the process. Having “been there and done The Memoir Networkthat”—and being able to talk clearly about it, a memoir-writing coach can point you in the right direction and gently correct your course.

A coach is a teacher, a cheerleader, a critic, a motivator, a writing buddy, a person who holds you accountable for meeting your goals, a good listener, and sometimes an editor—and a coach can be more if you need more.

For a free consult, call 207-353-5454 today to make an appointment.

Click here to read more about coaching.

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3 Responses to 3 Benefits of Keeping a Journal

  1. wondering04 April 11, 2014 at 7:17 PM #

    Yes, and another thing, it is an invaluable resource in writing memoir. I came across a few journals from 1970 that helped me recall events from that period – one scene in my memoir involves a dream and an interpretation from my therapist that I had totally forgotten until I read it in the journal. I also had a few prophetic writings (in my journal entries) that came true many years later.

    I am enjoying your site. Have a blessed night.

  2. Denis Ledoux April 13, 2014 at 12:15 PM #

    Thanks for posting.

    I have found my journal to have many memory prompts. Sometimes, as you say was true for you, I’ll read an entry containing material that has completely slipped out of mind. “So I was doing that then?” I’ll think. Other times, my journal helps me to pin point dates and who was there. Our unaided memories rearrange facts according to how we need the facts to be at this point in our lives. We need back up and our memories are too often willing accomplices. The journal can keep one honest.

    Keep reading and, if you ever discover you have an article in you to post on the blog, send it along.


  1. Journal Writing for the Memoir Writer - May 5, 2014

    […] How to best explore your issues in journals? There are many good books available for you to explore techniques for doing so. Read a few for their many suggestions. Among some of the techniques you can explore in your writing journal are: […]

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