Make a Deposit in the Idea Bank
Whether you keep a journal to help you express your feelings or gather ideas for your writing, the very act of journaling will help you become a more skilled and confident writer. Here's how:
Under no circumstances should you keep your personal journal on your office computer; increasingly, courts are upholding the rights of employers to read any writing done on office time and even to use it in court cases.
As you can tell, keeping a journal offers even more benefits than exercising—and you don't have to break a sweat to become a fine journal writer! Stay tuned; here's how to make journals work for you.
Journals vs. Diaries
A journal is an idea book, a record of your thoughts, emotions, and reflections. A diary, in contrast, is a record of your activities.
A journal is not the same as a traditional diary. Journal writing is generally used to spark self-reflection, to get in touch with your deepest feelings, and to sort out your emotions. This is what makes journal writing, when done often, such a powerful tool.
Diaries, in contrast, are used to record the day's events—sort of a super Filofax or Day Timer.
Diaries are not used for reflection or experimentation. As such, they don't help you improve your writing skills while you grapple with life issues. A diary can help you make it to that 10:00 meeting on Tuesday, however.
Don't Go There
If you decide to keep your journal in electronic form, on a laptop or PC for example, be sure to back up each entry on a disk. I also recommend that you print each entry so you have a hard copy in case the computer crashes.
So far, journals sound like the best thing since sliced bread. After all, they can help you become a better writer as you're dealing with the stress of everyday life. But journaling isn't for everyone.
Journal writing may not be for you if …
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well © 2000 by Laurie Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.