In 2020, Journaling Is My Best Friend


Sometime around October of last year (weird to say that about 2019 already, right?) I started journaling on any day that I planned to write.  For the most part, this meant that I would journal 6 days a week, sometimes 7, sometimes 8 (don’t ask it’s this whole complicated time travel thing).

I was pretty unsure about it at first – I didn’t want to add yet another task to my list of things to do, but I thought: F*** it, why not give it a try?  Everyone and their mother who offers writing advice says to keep a journal.

And the rules?  There are no rules.  You can journal about your life, your writing, your weird hobbies, the things you observe, your weird obsession with bricks, your mulch collection, whatever.

After I few months I found that journaling wasn’t just another daily task to take up time in my day, but an extremely comforting, motivating activity that helped me get more writing done.

I don’t journal about anything in particular – usually just what’s on my mind at the time, how the writing is going, what I want to do with the story next, what hopes/fears I might have.  Sometimes I journal about having nothing to journal about.  Here’s a recent entry:

“Oooohhhh journal. What to write in the journal… Lovely Sunday.  Lots of football watching to come.  But first, brainstorming for the book.  So… What to say, what to say?  Well, I’m here.  And I have a coffee.  So that’s it?  I guess?  Cool!  Time to go!”

That’s taken verbatim from my notebook.  No dramatizations, I swear.

Other times I’ll fill up 1-2 entire pages with an untidy handwritten scrawl (takes me about 10 minutes).  The point is that how much I write doesn’t actually matter.  So why do I do it?

Well, for one it brings me comfort.  It makes me happier and more productive.  It’s a way to ease into working on my book.  I can write anything!  It doesn’t have to be good.  It can be gibberish – gobbledegook! flargenblargen! bralingalam!

Just string together some random words and boom, you’ve got a journal entry.  That lowers the barrier to entry.  It helps me not think things like:  Man I’m not in the right mindset to write, so I should procrastinate until I am, otherwise it’ll be crap.  Once I’ve gotten those random words down, stringing real sentences together doesn’t seem like as big of a leap.  Reason to skip writing today defeated.

For another thing it keeps me grounded in what I want to accomplish whenever life gets crazy with travel, friends, etc.  When I hold the physical pen in my hand everything slows down (because it has to – I literally cannot write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts – *hand cramp!*).  This forces me to calmly think about what I should do next.  Only the things I subconsciously feel are worth the time and effort it takes to write out end up on the page.  Then, voilà, it’s all there right in front of me.

I guess everyone has their own unique reasons for wanting to write in a journal.  Those are mine.  And with everything I want to accomplish in 2020, I get the feeling that my journal is going to be my best friend.

(**Apologies to Sara and Maisey, who will both be very angry and claim that they are in fact my best friends. Woof.**)

Do any of you journal?  By hand or on the computer?  How often?  What do you like about it?

25 comments on “In 2020, Journaling Is My Best Friend”

  1. I journal, pretty much every night at bedtime, have for years, composition notebooks (I stock up at the back to school sales!) It is a safe place to vent and dream. Last year I added writing down at least three things I am grateful for or that brought me joy during the day. Helps to keep my eyes and heart open and aware! Journaling rocks!

    1. I love that it’s a safe place to vent and dream – I sincerely hope nobody ever finds my journals. I also love the grateful items aspect – it’s recommended anywhere you look! I don’t have the discipline to journal before bed, so I try to do it first thing in the morning 🙂

  2. To get myself in the habit of writing every night, even if it’s only a hundred words, a year or two ago I started keeping an open Google Drive Tab so that I can write something down every day. At first it felt like a chore or that it was sapping my motivation, but then I realized that it wasn’t making me write LESS book stuff. If anything, it gave me a place to put non-book stuff, so I could focus more on that. Kind of like a warm-up for my fingers/brain.

  3. Hey, thanks for checking out my writing, much appreciated! I’ve just added my email address to sub to your contents. I like your writing style in your intro above, and will check out your other writing.

  4. I have journaled since I was a young child-beginning with my first diary and the words, Dear Diary …

    My journals are filled with a lifetime of memories and they now fill an overflowing crate. Our journals are always there for us-transforming blank pages into loyal and trusted friends. Usually they are only for us, but sometimes it is nice to share. Like the time my daughter read every page of the journal I kept the year I was pregnant with her. She was engrossed. ❤️
    Keep writing!

    1. Wow – that is so amazing! I love that. What an incredible experience that must have been for your daughter. I’ll have to make sure never to throw any of my journals away so I can have them for moments like that

  5. I write by hand everything I do! I journal every day as well. It brings me comfort, but it also helps me focus. Once I’ve let out all the random thoughts in my head at that moment, I can focus on writing without all the flotsam and jetsom floating about in the brain matter. I write all my stories free hand and then, I do the tedious work of putting it all on the computer later. I have to make myself do that part 🙁 I’m going to follow your blog and from time to time, if you don’t mind, I’m going to share something you’ve written on my blog.

    Happy writing!!

    1. Jettison all the flotsam and jetsom!!! That’s exactly how I feel about journaling.

      And that’s lovely – it would be great to have you following along and feel free to share whatever you like!

      Happy writing!

  6. Also, thank you so much for checking out my blog and liking my newest post. As you might have seen, I post about a lot of different things, not just my writing. Hope to see you around again!

  7. 🙂 Sounds like fun. Keep writing! At this point in my career (long years as a journalist combined with a bit of fiction in the last handful), my work has become a journal of sorts. Bits and pieces of my real life connect to it and occasionally appear in it (often in disguise). I sometimes write funny things I’ve overheard in my calendars, which I save. That’s a micro-journal, too. Blessings!

    1. Thank you, I will! And a long career doing any kind of writing sounds amazing – it’s my dream. It must be cool/fun to go back over all the pieces you’ve written and recognize the areas that connect to your life. Have to disguise some things extra well so your friends/acquaintances don’t recognize it too easily!

  8. It’s amazing, the connection between thinking and writing. You can influence your subconscious thinking, consciously, through writing. Great way to reflect and gain clarity!

    Journaling is a topic that I include a lot in my own posts.

    Wonderful topic! Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply