Want to become a successful writer? These two words will help: journaling, and habit. But why journal?
Journaling is more than just writing. Writers shy away from journaling because our time’s limited. Why write something you can’t sell?
It’s simple — journaling helps you to improve your writing, and sell it for more. Journaling isn’t a fluffy time-wasting activity; it’s pragmatic. You get more out of your writing time when you journal.
Essentially journaling is thinking on paper. And you know much more than you “think” you do. Here’s a great quote from Flannery O’Connor:
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
Journaling: your journal helps
In my more whimsical moments, I’ve said that there are two kinds of writers; those who journal, and those who don’t.
Recently I took a quick poll among my friends who’ve made money writing for more than 20 years. Although I know what journaling has done for me and my students, I was nevertheless surprised. Each and every one of these veterans journaled.
Journaling helps, no matter what you write. The writing profession is lonely, and uncertain. No one knows what you’re capable of as a writer — not even you. 🙂
Your brain is limited: you aren’t
Neuroscientists look on your unconscious as a super-computer. However, your conscious awareness is limited to what you’re aware of, and this is a challenge. If you restrict your writing to what you think you know, you’ll write little.
We all go through life with blinders on. My favorite strategy when a writing student tells me: “I can’t… (whatever)” is to ask the student to write down 20 ways he could in his journal.
“I can’t…” Write down 20 ways you can
- “I can’t get clients…” Write down 20 ways you could get all the clients you can handle in two weeks;
- “I can’t get subscribers to my mailing list…” Write down 20 ways you could get to 1,000 subscribers in three months;
- “I can’t outline my novel…” Write down five attributes your main character might have. Choose one, then write ten one-sentence descriptions of scenes which reveal this attribute in action.
Whenever you find yourself thinking or saying about your writing: “I can’t…” take that as a challenge to journal 20 ways in which you could.
Not only does journaling help you to think, it also eliminates procrastination. Writers write, and the more they write, the better and more confident they become. Over time, you’ll look for challenges you’d previously considered impossible, because you’ll know that you can handle anything in your writing.
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Journaling can not only solve challenges in your writing, it can change your life. Learn more in: The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day.
I'm sure you've heard quotes like: "if you can imagine it, you can achieve it." And: "if you can dream it, you can become it."More info →
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Updated: February 9, 2018
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