On this page, you'll find answers to the question, "What is a journal?" along with some top reasons for journaling. This is just one of many pages on this website about journaling and creative writing. At the bottom of the page, you'll find links to related pages with journal ideas and prompts.
What is a journal?
A journal is a written record of your thoughts, experiences, and observations. You can write in your journal daily, or only when you feel the urge. You can write with a fountain pen in a leather-bound book if that inspires you, or you can write with your lucky pencil on the backs of dollar bills if you are both superstitious and rich. It's entirely up to you.
Our whole lives we are told to write a certain way, to use a number two pencil and stay within the lines, to fill up exactly three pages with our thoughts on a specific theme, being sure to include topic sentences and a conclusion. Journaling is different. With journaling, there are no rules, no rights or wrongs. You might decide to share parts of your journal, but, fundamentally, your journal is for you. So you're in charge. Your journal is a space where you're absolutely free to express yourself.
There's a lot of interest out there in journal prompts, so I've included some on this website. Please don't feel, though, that you need prompts or assignments for writing in your journal. Your daily life, the places you spend time, the people you spend time with, any thought passing through your mind -- all this is perfect journaling material. As the writer Linda Leopold Strauss says, "The world is your writing prompt." But in case you do want some ideas to get you started, click here.
What is a journal - Why keep a journal?
Here are just a few of the reasons for journaling:
Of course, another reason for journaling is simply for the love of doing it. You may take sensual pleasure in the velvety looping of ink across the creamy surface of a page, or in the private time with your thoughts at the end of a hectic day. You may find it comforting or therapeutic to pour out your emotions in writing. And the other side of journaling is reading. You can always go back to old journals and find windows into your past.
What is a journal - Next steps
Choose one of the links below to go to pages related to "What Is a Journal and Why Keep One?":