Journal Writing Basics: Defining Your Purpose for Journaling

by Amber Lea Starfire on October 2, 2010

catnav-journaling-activePost #9 – Memoir Writing, Journaling – Amber Starfire

X

In previous articles about journaling basics, I have written about what journaling is, in general, and what reflective journaling is, specifically. Today’s topic is about defining the purpose of your journal.

You might wonder why defining your journal’s purpose is necessary or even desirable. After all, isn’t a journal all about writing whatever comes to you? Well, yes and no. There are actually many type and purposes for journals. For example, in my journal software, I keep several journals:

  • A free-writing, anything goes journal
  • A reflective journal, where I deal with the larger issues in my life
  • A writing journal, where I document my writing processes — the ups and downs, research, ideas, exercises, notes for the future, etc.
  • A journal of goals and progress towards those goals
  • A  gratitude journal
  • I also keep a paper-based art journal, where I draw pictures, doodle, and write text with colored pencils.

I developed these different journals as a way to organize and access what I’ve written in the past. And they help me better understand what I want to get out of my journaling practice.

Of course, it’s always great to keep a general journal for free-writing. It’s cathartic and helps to clarify and define issues in your life. Beyond that, you might find that, from time to time, you want to maintain a journal for a specific purpose. If you’re trying to lose weight or eat healthier foods, you might want a food and exercise journal. If you’re writing a memoir of your childhood, you might want a journal just for recording childhood memories as they come to you. If you have been through a major loss or unwanted life change, you might want to keep a grief or anger journal, dedicated to working through all the issues and emotions related to that loss/change. These are simply examples of the kinds of journaling possibilities.

To help you define your purpose for journaling, I offer the following prompts:

  1. What is your strongest motivation to journal? Or, what draws you to writing and journaling?
  2. What do you want to get out of journaling right now, at this time in your life?
  3. What large issues or problems are you dealing with right now?
  4. Do you have any goals or dreams that you think would benefit by having a progress journal?
  5. Do you like to draw or use colors sometimes? Would a separate art journal be fun to keep? Or would you prefer to incorporate art into your daily journal?

These should get you started. I would love to hear about all the different kinds of journals that are being used. Feel free to share your ideas and examples with us by leaving a comment below.

____________________________________________

reflective journaling

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kendra Bonnett October 2, 2010 at

Thanks for this, Amber. I like your approach of keeping multiple journals.

Leave a Comment

Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category News Category News Category News Category