How Journaling has helped my writing & how it can help yours too

January 06, 2018

{ pics via pinterest}

Journaling has immensely helped my writing. From teaching me about character growth to POV, to even giving me interesting b-rolls and situations to put in my own writing. It's given me a deeper insight on how to properly form a character and above all how to write realistically and leave a deep emotional impact on your readers.

Journaling has helped me immensely because it's given me real life examples. Seeing how my life looks on paper, removed from all the million feelings and sensations I feel day to day can give me a much more straightforward look at things.

The same goes for writing. It's helped me to narrow down to what really matters to the story.

And plus it's seriously fun, if you like aesthetic things this is your daily go to. If you guys would like, I can share tips on how I do my own journal and stay motivated in another post. Just ask me below :)

Let's jump in, shall we? :)

1. Learning from Real Life

I swear by it. Things look different on paper than in real life, especially when you're the writer. But a good writer can harness every single one of those feelings in without even mentioning them. 

I don't have a word for it other than vibe. It's that thing that draws you to some writers more than others. It's that thing that makes you feel a golden light over a scene without the writer once mentioning it.

And I also bet you that every single one of you has one, you just need to find it. Journaling is perfect for finding it. Is something good happening to you? What is bursting out of your heart? It can be perfectly strange and unusual like the stars outside your window or the hug your friend gave you after that talk yesterday. Write it down, it's not an english start however you feel and you finish whenever you want. Don't focus on tense or grammar or structure, write what comes to your heart. 

Some of my journal entries are pages long but most are half pages or even less. Some of my journal entries are simple lists. 

Some will fall short of my standard, but more times than others I will feel that same electric shock of happiness, smell that same thing i did a week ago, revisit the feelings...the importance of a moment that has passed.

And that is the kind of emotion we strive to capture in writing. That little sparkle of magic that brings our words to life

 {this is the sort of journal I do minus that ^ 100% level of aesthetic, I like to scrapbook and add all sorts of coordinating stuff to my journal} 

2. Understanding a Character

It's not always easy to develop a character, much less understand them. As far as I go, if I do not explore a character enough I will reach pitfalls in my writing. My characters will be whiny, cookie cutter people. They will miss the complexities that emerge with the TRUE character of their "created nature".

Funny enough sometimes it's also hard to understand yourself, looking at yourself inwardly and wrestling with life challenges day to day is overwhelming. In in the mix of things, it's easy to start wondering who you really are in the grand scheme of things?

Journaling has helped me immensely with that, not only do things start to take shape much clearer on paper but I can revisit my entries and learn more about myself. I can see how I reacted to certain situations and dealt with one hard incident. How I felt when so and so happened...and how I saw other people through my eyes.

What's on the paper is what matters to my story. And sometimes I'll include some secondary details but those matter too, I'm not being my real human self if I don't ramble about how good those waffles were this morning. {those things belong in your WIP too, insert in some splashes of extra happiness :) }

If you've ever had a hard time understanding your character, keep a short journal for them. Try to think of real situations that would happen to them and write it through their eyes. It does not need to be lyrical or proper, in fact it's much better if it's crude and real and incomplete. In the end those things will not all be part of the story, but your viewpoint will be refreshed. You will get deep insight into your character and begin treating them like a real person.

{ unless you are writing a comedy, than you can ignore all this :P }

3.  Arcs: Character growth and Story Development

There is something that changes in each of us over time (most of us). And that's all that a story is about, arcs....both in story development and in character growth. By the end of the story something has changed deeply within the MC (sometimes more characters too) and by the end of the story, things have taken a turn.

Maybe it's just because my life is a bit wild sometimes, but reading back on previous entries I can sense a direction of things...I know my own thoughts but i can begin wondering about so and so. How will they in the future have an impact on her? Will they abandon her or will they stay friends with her? I can sense arcs.

I can even see character growth or character regression. Having a journal is giving you a more objective look at your life, our feelings change and conform but what you put down on that paper...that day, with your own hand isn't going to change. It's gonna stay there forever to remind you who you were, what you wanted, what your heart was moved by. And believe me that can move you generations later to say to yourself the one of the two...

Thank God, I'm not like that now.


Can I only go back to being that way?

That's the impact that a good book should leave on us. Either a warning, or an encouragement.

But it has to be real, it has to be deep. And I don't know about you...but journaling has helped me immensely with that.

What do you all think? If you journal do you agree or disagree? What have you learned about writing through other things? Whatever it is, talk to me below! <3 ALSO,who's listening to the "Greatest Showman" soundtrack??? I"M OFFICIALLY OBSESSED.

Also do drop by the poll in my sidebar!

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.

(Proverbs 3:3)

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  1. Beautiful post! I want to journal and have been thinking about getting into it more than I do.

    I'm so happy to see another post from you! I clicked on this super fast. XD

    I think keeping a journal of life and events is good because it helps you convey things clearer in life and in writing. I think I just might have to start a journal. :)


    1. Thank you Ivie!

      xD I know I have been on a hiatus lately.

      It's a great idea, you should TOTALLY start journaling :) It's honestly the only thing I've stuck to this year. Writing hasn't been going so great and that has been my growth and focus lately. :) Don't hesitate to email me to talk about journaling and stuff :) xxx

    2. Okay, thank you! I might do that because I really like aesthetic stuff and would probably need guidance on that. XD <3

  2. I don't journal anymore, my siblings or friends would always search and search until they found it. Although, I thought about just having a top secret file on my computer and keeping one there. XD

    It's always good to see a post from you, Anna! Have a blessed day!!! <3

    -Gray Marie |

    1. Haha lol mine have learned how to respect my privacy and I'll reward my siblings with a peek every so often. That would be cool xD I just find I like the feel of my pen on an actual paper. And plus u can't scrapbook on the computer, that's why I enjoy journaling on paper.

      Thank you! It's always good to see a comment from you Gray :)))

  3. AH ANNA HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME. like I need an excuse to write another journal xP XD honestly, this looks super cool. scrapbooking? ah yes.

    because of lack of time this year (er, last) I've been using a normal college ruled notebook and write it in every night, summing up what we did and such. more like a daily recording, and it's usually only a few sentences. so, doable. BUT THIS LOOKS SO NEAT. does it take you long to write entries in it??

    sarah » the introverted extrovert

    1. YES YES YOU MUST DO THIS xD It's honestly the best, I enjoy it so much. I may even do a post on scrapbook journaling exclusively :)

      But that's still great Sarah! Even a little bit is great. Not too long! And every bit of the time I spend is worth it, it's like therapy. Some entries are longer than others but generally it doesn't take me too long. You should totally email me about it, we could talk more about it :P

  4. For me, my blogs are my journal :). And yes, I can agree that blogging has really helped my writing.

    GAH OH MY GOSH YOU'RE OBSESSED WITH THAT SOUNDTRACK TOO???? I have it saved on Spotify, and I have at least half of the songs on my favorites mix...
    I love that movie so much...halp....


    1. That works!

      YES YES, I listen to it as I reply to your comment :D SAMEEE, what's your favorite song? Mine are a "Million Dreams" and "Rewrite the stars" and "Tightrope"

    2. Ooohhh, mine are "The Other Side", "Rewrite the Stars" and "A Million Dreams". I do like "The Greatest Show" too....

    3. I love those too! I just love the whole thing :)))

  5. Awesome post, Anna!:) Note-books (and journals) can be really helpful for getting to know a character better.


    1. Thank you Quinley!
      Yes! I find so too :)

  6. Great post! I'm afraid that I don't journal, but I might now after seeing the benefits. =)

    Micaiah @ Notebooks and Novels

    1. Thank you & You totally should! Journaling is the best! :)

  7. I've been journaling every day since I was eleven. I might have skipped five-six days. I am on my 32nd journal. For 2018 I am also doing calendar journaling where I write down what's special about each day in my calendar. I love journaling and know it has helped my writing so much! It's also a great way to work through life problems, it's always been one of my main constant things in life. I even did a blog post on how to journal awhile back ;p

    1. Wow that's so incredible Keturah. Go you! It really is, I agree deeply. I should definitely check it out then! :)

  8. being a "journal-er" as well, i totally agree with all of these!!! thanks for this post!! <3

    sophy of

    1. A fellow journaler! :D Ofc! Thank you so much for reading and commenting <3

  9. Yes! I'm so glad you write a post on journaling as I am trying to get more into it. I think it'll be a great thing to do. Point one about writing what comes to your heart and Sparks your fancy is the best! Such a great post!
    Simply Me

    1. It is a totally incredible thing to do! Don't hesitate to email me to discuss it, I am so passionate about journaling and point one is so important to me. Thank you so much Vanessa! <3

  10. I LOVE JOURNALING SO MUCH. I'm... er... a little obsessed. But there's something so calming about letting your thoughts run onto the page.

    Ha -- I'm listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack as I write this comment. IT'S SO GOOD.

    katie grace
    a writer's faith

    1. HONESTLY SAME THO <3 Journaling is like the best, its my therapy.

      IT IS ISN"T IT??? I am listening to as I answer, I've been listening to it on repeat for two days already.

  11. I love love love journaling!!! I don't really use it much for character deepening or anything, but I LOVE capturing the best and worst moments of each day, solidifying that day in my memory so whenever I read back I can remember what it was like, that exact moment during that exact day. :)

    Beautiful post, as always!! <3 <3 <3 I was really excited to see this post, because journaling is one of my favorite pastimes!

    1. Same Lila!!! I haven't used it for characters yet but it's something I'm definitely gonna consider at some point. And journaling is so great for that.

      Thank you so much Lila! I feel the same :)

  12. I journal sometimes, but this has motivated me to do it more so! And for my characters too! Thanks for the post, Anna!

    D.G. Snapper |

    1. It's an incredible thing to do! Never hesitate to email me so we can chat more about it :) It's nice to meet you D. G. Snapper! Thanks so much for the comment, I hope you enjoy your time on this blog.

    2. Aw, thanks for the welcome, Anna! And I'm sure I'm going to enjoy it here.

      And hey, I put your blog button on my blog. :D

    3. Thank you! That's wonderful, I would love for all of my readers to enjoy their time here :))

      I'm adding yours to mine right away!!! xx I love how it looks!

  13. FELLOW JOURNALER *highfive* I LOVE LOVE LOVE JOURNALING!! I've done it since I was nine years old and I love all your points! They are so true! Journaling basically taught me to write, so I'm forever indebted to this awesome hobby!! :D

    1. *high fives back* OH MY GOODNESS SO DO I. Wow that is some dedication right there :D I only started around ten.
      It is so worth the time! It has taught me so much.

      Thank you so much for commenting Lisa! Go fellow journaler! :D <3


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Have a Blessed day <3

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