Surprising Ways Journaling Makes Me a Better Writer

Kyle Smith

The benefits of journaling go far beyond the emotional and intellectua

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Every single day after I get a cup of coffee, I sit down and compose 2-3 handwritten pages in my journal. I follow a practice called “Morning Pages,” which is outlined by Julia Cameron in her excellent book The Artist’s Way. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it. Even if you don't call yourself an artist--or think you're an artist, that book can absolutely change your life.

When i start journaling, I don’t have any agenda for what I’m writing about. I write about whatever comes to mind. Usually, I’m talking about my feelings, what’s happening in my life, or sorting out a problem I need to solve. As I sit there with my pen and paper, the page starts to fill up. A thought becomes a sentence. A sentence becomes a paragraph. Before I know it, I have several full pages there right in front of me.

But the benefits of journaling go far beyond the emotional and intellectual. In fact, journaling helps you become a better overall writer in three practical, and surprising, ways:

1. You develop the habit of writing every day.

If you’re going to be successful on any level as a writer, then regular writing is a must. The more you write, the better you are going to become.

Whether you are writing books, blog posts, articles, social media posts, podcast content, or something else … a daily writing habit will help you improve your skills. Your ability to write solid content quickly is a skill that is transferable to almost any type of work.

2. You release your creativity through the act of writing.

Nearly every time I sit down to journal, it generates ideas, thoughts, or memories about something that I would not have accessed otherwise. This creativity spills over to other areas of your life.

We live in a fast-paced world. It’s critical to slow down and just observe for a few moments—to process what is going on. Journaling is a great way to do this. You are a better thinker and writer when you can critically observe both yourself and the world around you.

3. You have a written record of your life.

One of my most prized possessions is a notebook from the 1970’s that contains handwritten poems from my grandmother. She was a great writer, and oh how I wish she had kept a journal! I’m very much like her in the way that I think, create, and process the world.

When you keep a journal, you now have a record of your thoughts and ideas. You can look back and see your progress and how you have changed and grown over time.

Having a journal also benefits you both now and in the future. Journaling also helps you become a better writer for your business, company, or organization. You will start to grow in ways that you won't notice at first. But you are absolutely growing. Before you know it, you will start to think a bit differently. You'll have more focus and even start to think clearer.

I can’t begin to tell you how much this simple habit of doing journaling has impacted my life. If you’ve never done journaling, I encourage you to start small with just a few minutes a day. You can use a timer if you'd like. Or maybe even just journal for a half-page a day for a week. Give it a try and see what you think.

Do you keep a journal? If so, how has it helped you become a better writer?

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I write about writing, productivity, creativity, and much more.

St. Louis, MO

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