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As somebody who journals semi-regularly, I have seen its positive effects on my mental health. I hope this wonderful write-up by author Pamela Hodges helps others keep journals too.

THEWRITEPRACTICE

How to Write a Journal: 6 Tips

How to Write a Journal: 6 Tips

thewritepractice.com

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4 Advantages of Keeping a Journal

There are many reasons why it is a good idea to keep a journal. I want to share four big ones with you.

  1. Remember details
  2.  Find old friends
  3. Help process feelings and ideas
  4. Preserve the writer’s history

1. Remember details

When I travelled to Europe in 1978 I kept a journal.

There were several details of my trip, that I had completely forgotten until I re-read the journals.

Recording the details of your life can enrich your stories.

JESSAMYN WEST

People who keep journals have life twice.

2. Find old friends

Keeping a journal can help you find old friends. One of the women I met on November 26th, 1978, wrote down her address. I found her on Facebook and just sent her a message. (Social media and Google can also help, but the journal did remind me of her name.)

3. Help process feelings and ideas

When you keep thoughts in your head it can be hard to know how you think and feel. Writing down how you feel will help you process your emotions, as feelings become words, which can be then be edited.

PAT CONROY

Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.

4. Preserve the writer’s history

When you are dead and a famous writer, your journals will give your readers insight into how you thought and what your life was like.

You may never sell more than one hundred copies of your book, you may never publish your writing, or your journals may only be read by the mice that crawl th...

6 Tips for How to Write a Journal

Now you know why journaling can be helpful. But how should you journal? It is very personal, and you should do what works best for you. But I will give you some tips to help you get started.

  1. Choose your kind of journal
  2. Date your entry

1. Choose your kind of journal

You have several options for how to keep your journal.

A book, where you write with a pen or pencil onto paper: Write in a book that is not so pretty you are afraid to write in it. Keep the size small enough you don’t mind carrying it in your messenger bag, and big enough y...

2. Date your entry

You think you will remember when it happened, but without a written date, you might forget.

3. Tell the truth

The journal is a record of how you felt and what you did. Telling the truth will make you a reliable storyteller.

If you haven’t cleaned the seven litter boxes for a week, don’t write that you clean them every day simply because you want your readers one hundred years from now to think you ...

4. Write down details

Record details like the time, location, who you were with, what you were wearing. Details will help bring the memory alive when you record using your five senses.

To this day, if I smell a certain kind of Japanese soup, I can remember vividly the day I flew to Korea to renew my Japanese vis...

5. Write down what you felt

What you were thinking? Were you mad? Sad? Happy? Write down why.

6. Write a lot or a little

A journal entry doesn’t have to be three pages long. It can be a few words that describe what happened, a few sentences about the highlight of your day, or it can be a short description of an event from your day, where you describe details to help you remember what happened. Like, what time of da...

When to Journal

There is no right or wrong time to write in a journal. Write when you will remember to do it. Do you always brush your teeth before you go to bed? Have writing in your journal be part of your bedtime routine. Perhaps put it on your bedside table, or beside your hammock, or on the floor beside you...

PAMELA HODGES

A journal is a diary of your life. Who you are, who you were with, and where you want to go.

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