Creative Benefits of Keeping a Journal

This article talks about the benefits of journaling for creative people. Many entrepreneurs and writers alike see journaling as the best way to keep good ideas flowing. These strategies for writing a journal help innovators continue to prosper and move forward.

One of the major complaints of creative types is the feeling that the best ideas don't come at convenient times. After all, when you are out enjoying a fireworks display or ziplining off the side of a mountain, the inspiration can be intense, but remembering those moments later when you sit down to write a song or compose a sonnet can be difficult.

Most people have at least entertained the idea of keeping a journal, but for whatever reason, haven't given it a real try. Here are some of the benefits that you could draw from keeping a journal, and why you might be stunned by the results.

Writing About Daily Life Leads to Creativity

Many people cannot see the connection between writing down the daily minutiae of life, from short conversations to activities, and being their best creative selves. However, think about it from another point of view. Plenty of creative people talks about how it has been so long since they wrote anything that they cannot imagine getting started, even if they love the ideas that float through their minds. By writing things down every day, you get in the habit of chronicling what happens around you. Much like a few empty pumps of an old-fashioned water pump are needed before the life-giving liquid pours out, priming your mind's pump with daily journaling can lead to a wellspring of creativity.

Another truth is that people often don't know whether what they do today will become important to them later. Writing down a short note in your journal about having given the "new guy" a tour at work might be incredibly valuable. Source of first impressions if that "new guy" eventually ends up being your spouse.

Author David Sedaris journals obsessively, and he finds that constructing new award-winning essays for his books is just a matter of returning to his diaries to see what threads of meaning have emerged. In his characteristic humorous style, he describes his process:

"I've been keeping a diary for thirty-three years and write in it every morning. Most of it's just whining, but every description, a quote. It's an invaluable aid when it comes to winning arguments. 'That's not what you said on February 3, 1996,' I'll say to someone."

Maybe you aren't in it for the argumentative potential of your joumal, but the value of your daily thoughts for creative problem-solving and inspiration, sometimes cannot be known until months or years later.

Habits and Rituals Fuel Creative People

Not every creative person has trouble with discipline and making time for themselves but given the pressures of work, family, and school, many writers and artists struggle to see their dreams realized. For this reason, habits and rituals provide a powerful incentive to follow through on your ambitions. For some, it's sitting with a morning cup of tea while journaling at their favorite desk, and for others it is an afternoon spent in a comfy armchair, writing thoughts by the light of a golden sunbeam.

Associating your creative exercises with a particular time, from the many other demands on your time. It is almost like pouring your evening cup of decaf coffee (or tumbler of whiskey!) signals a part of your brain that says, "now is the time for our craft."

When Your Best Idea Strikes, You'll Be Ready

Most writers and artists spend a long time waiting for their "big idea," the one that they become obsessed with or which ends up putting them on the map of well-known artists. However, those ideas are strangely capricious sometimes you'll get three in a week and none for the next 10 months. Journaling doesn't just give you an excellent log of your life; it also means that you'll already have a great habit of writing things down when the best idea comes to you.

Most writers have experienced the frustration of having a bolt-of-lightning inspiration, writing down one or two words about it, and then hurrying to do something else. When you return to that esoteric combination of words, you cannot remember what you meant.

Creative Writing

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