What to Write in a Writer Journal | Unlocking the Creativity Within

Posted on Aug 29, 2023

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Written by Zara Choudhry

Home > Blog > Book Marketing > What to Write in a Writer Journal | Unlocking the Creativity Within

Ever found yourself caught in a whirlwind of ideas, only to have them flutter away like dandelion seeds in the wind? Or perhaps you’ve had a midnight epiphany that you’re eager to capture? This is where writer journal step in – a trusty sidekick for every storyteller, poet, and dreamer.

While it may look like any other notebook, a writer’s journal is more than just a place to store your thoughts, It’s a haven where characters come life, plots thicken and ideas turn into brilliant narratives.

But to really make the most of your writer journal, we’ll be exploring the array of things you can keep in it and why every writer needs one!

What is a Writer Journal?

Before we get into the nitty gritty details of what to put inside it, let’s explore what a writer’s journal actually is. Essentially, it’s a physical (or digital) notebook that writers write in without the pressure of formality or even someone reading it themselves.

It’s a space to unload those thoughts, draft notes, insights and observations which can aid you in writing a compelling piece that you’d be eager to publish.

The beauty of a writer’s journal is that there’s really no set time in which you need to use it or finish it. Think of it as an ongoing project in itself that stores what’s in your mind.

What to Include in a Writer’s Journal

From intricate details of your day to an light-bulb moment you had whilst on your walk, we’ll be looking at all the things you can write in your writer’s journal to unlock your full creative potential as an author.

1. People-Watching Observations

While it might sound a tad covert, one enriching activity for your writer’s journal is capturing the essence of the world around you—especially the people. It’s not about intruding or prying, but rather about observing the myriad of behaviours, quirks, and unique attributes that could breathe life into a fictional character.

Perhaps it’s the stranger’s nervous chuckle at a coffee shop or the spontaneous decision your brother made last week. Borrowing these snippets from real life and weaving them into your stories can make your narratives truly compelling. After all, real life, with all its ups and downs, is a never-ending source of inspiration.

2. Your Personal Thoughts and Feelings

Your writer’s journal can be much more than just an observer’s notebook—it can be a sanctuary for your innermost emotions. This intimate space can hold raw feelings, fleeting thoughts, and musings that might otherwise remain unspoken. As you pen down these sentiments, you could unearth the seeds of a novel’s theme or the core of a short story.

Whether it’s a passionate reaction to a situation, a lingering sentiment towards someone, or just a reflective state of mind, it’s a chance to be unfiltered and authentic. The beauty of it? No one else has to know its truth. And remember, unlike formal writings, there’s no right way to craft a journal entry. It’s a mirror of your emotions at that precise instant.

3. Noting Descriptions

Ever stumbled upon a description in an audiobook that made you pause, rewind, and listen again, just to savor the brilliance? Such moments, whether they come in the form of a clever metaphor, an evocative simile, or a unique turn of phrase, can be immensely inspiring. By jotting them down in your writer’s journal, you’re not only preserving these striking descriptions for future reference but also enriching your own palette of expressions.

And don’t stop at descriptions; powerful quotes that resonate with your soul deserve a space in your journal, too. After all, there’s no better reminder of the magic of words than a sentence that speaks directly to your heart.

4. Using the ‘Free Association’ Method

Throw out the rulebook and dive headfirst into the spontaneous realm of free association! This method is all about letting your thoughts cascade onto the paper, unrestrained by logic or sequence.

It’s like a brainstorming session between you and your subconscious, where you might start writing about the crunch of autumn leaves and end up reminiscing about a childhood friend. You could be detailing the chill of the morning air and, before you know it, find yourself dissecting a complex emotion you felt a week ago. This method often uncovers hidden gems and memories, tapping into reservoirs of inspiration you didn’t even know you had. So, let your mind wander, and let your pen follow.

5. Your Writing Process

Delving into the intricacies of your project? Your writer’s journal can double as a reflective mirror, capturing the evolution of both your writing and yourself. Documenting your journey while crafting a novel or piecing together a poem can offer profound insights.

Think about – How do you resonate with your own characters? Or, does a particular chapter stir emotions or memories? By noting down your feelings and reactions, you can better understand your work’s impact – both on your readers and yourself. Ponder on the challenges faced, the eureka moments, or the instances where you felt like scrapping everything and starting anew. After all, self-awareness often leads to the most authentic and compelling narratives.

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6. Storing Your Storyboards

Storyboards can be a powerful tool for writers, allowing you to sketch out scenes, sequence events, or even doodle character designs.Whether you’re plotting the climactic moment of your thriller or tracing the arc of your protagonist’s journey, visual storyboards in your journal can provide clarity and structure. They can be as detailed or as minimalistic as you want, but one thing is certain: having a visual guide can sometimes unlock perspectives and ideas that words alone may not.

So, the next time you’re pondering a plot twist or envisioning a new character, try drawing it out! Your journal is ready to be filled with both words and wonders.

Tips on Keeping Your Writer Journal

Now that you’re equipped with ideas on what to jot down, let’s dive into some best practices to maintain and make the most of your writer’s journal:

  1. Write by Hand: Whenever you can, pen down your thoughts the old-fashioned way. There’s something tactile and intimate about the act of writing by hand that can often lead to more genuine reflections and insights.
  2. A Touch of Organization: Embrace the chaos, but also have a semblance of order. While free-flow writing is therapeutic, having a bit of structure ensures you can revisit and harness those brilliant ideas and thoughts later.
  3. Dedication to Craft: Ensure your writer’s journal stays true to its name. Refrain from noting down daily to-dos, meeting minutes, or grocery lists. Let every page be a tribute to your passion for storytelling and character crafting.
  4. Experiment with Styles: Your journal is a sandbox. Play with poetry one day, try a journalistic tone the next, and maybe dabble in some colloquial dialogue after. Exploring various styles enhances your versatility as a writer.
  5. Daily Doses of Inspiration: Commit to a routine. Even if it’s a brief ten-minute scribble session, putting pen to paper daily keeps your writing muscles flexed and can be a catalyst for creativity, especially during those lull periods between projects.

A Writer Journal: Summary

In the realm of writing, sometimes the blank page can be more intimidating than a room full of critics. That’s where a writer’s journal steps in – your creative sanctuary, a space that understands every scribble, thought, and imaginative detour.

This article delves into everything you need to know about writing and maintaining such a journal. From the art of people-watching to scribing personal reflections, to even mapping out storyboards – there’s an array of content you can house in it.

And hey, remember it’s not just about what you put in, but how you sustain this craft. Write by hand, embrace diverse styles, and most importantly, stay consistent. In essence, your writer journal isn’t just a book; it’s a reflection of your journey, so give it the attention it richly deserves.

Happy Journalling!

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