Whether you prefer scrawling your best cursive in a cute notebook, scribbling on an old napkin J.K. Rowling style or experimenting with the new bullet journal trend, there’s a style of journaling for everyone.
What many people may not know, though, is that all that chicken scratch is improving your overall writing. Here’s a few ways how:
I think we can all agree that the hardest part of writing is actually putting the pen to paper and going for it. We have this unspoken expectation for our writing to be flawlessly crafted on a perfectly established concept the second we let it out, but let’s face it, that’s just not how writing goes. Which is the best part about journaling: no expectations. No one is going to grade you, you don’t have to stick to topic, and no one will be checking for accuracy. You can just write (or type) freely.
Which brings me to an aside: the pros and cons of typed journals. On the up side, your fingers can keep up with the effervescent flow of your thoughts meaning when you want to go back and read something you don’t have to try to decode your own handwriting. On the other hand, the delete key is WAY too easy to hit, which is counterproductive to overcoming hesitation. If you choose to type your journal, just be aware of these points.
Gradually you will get used to sitting down and openly pouring your thoughts onto paper without getting in your own way.
Discovering Your Voice
Since journals are often personal accounts, we tend to journal more similarly to the way we’d casually speak. While this isn’t necessarily encouragement to throw grammar to the wind (please don’t), it is an opportunity to get comfortable with the way your words sound on paper. The more you write in that natural tone, the more your personal style will emerge. This is your writing voice. Finesse it, embrace it, use it to your advantage.
Declutter & Inspire
While these two may seem like total opposites, they’re quite related. Hear me out: When trying to come up with an idea or topic, how many times does it feel like you can’t think of anything? Wellwe think all the time! Sometimes there’s just too much going on upstairs to make inferences or hone in on any one thing.
When you journal, you can get all the “junk” out (the person who irritated you at work, the cute barista who actually spelled your name correctly and everything in between), and make room for new, fresh ideas.
At the same time you’re getting the “junk” out, though, you’re processing your thoughts, which can transform them into ideas. You might discover it’s not “junk” at all, but something you’re incredibly passionate about, and that writing it down inspired you to go on about it for a page or two or ten chapters. Well congrats on your first book! Or not. Either way you’re making progress.
Practice Makes Perfect
Whether you were trying out for soccer or learning the trumpet, even as a kid we all heard it: The more you do something, the better you get at it. Well it’s as simple as that and it applies to writing too.
Writing is a crucial skill to hone in any profession, PR practitioner or not. So what are you waiting for? The road to becoming a writing pro is just a journal entry away.