There are a ton of different kinds of journals. For a more extensive list you could read this post about Journaling options
My journal is a kind of mixture of a lot of different types of journals; it's a scripture, observe the world, personal daily log, post writing kind of thing. If compartmentalization works for you then go ahead and have a separate journal for most of those things, including writing, but I personally like to have all of the things that I've 'thought' in one place.
Types of journals that help specifically with writing:
- inspiration journals; where you keep pictures, receipts, letters, quotes etc that inspire you
- daily log; writing the basics (or more) of what you go through each day.
- writing journal; where you commit yourself to doing writing prompts etc
Whatever works for you is the key here with journaling, and also persistence. It doesn't matter how often you write ( every day every few days,once a week, etc) , as long as you keep writing.
I find that when it comes to writing, journaling can really help in 3 major ways:
- Getting in touch with your emotions, while writing and reflecting on those emotions when/if you re-read.
- Reference for scenes in stories, where I can capture a 'stream of consciousness' type of emotion that I want to use for when another character is going through the same thing.
- Helping you get used to your voice as a writer. Sometimes when we know that content'll get posted on the web we end up writing in a voice that isn't entirely our own, intentionally or not - but in a journal that you know that no-one is going to read your voice and writing style really shines through.
I want to stress to you all that the more you write, the more you will be ABLE to write.
The key is to stop worrying about whether you're writing well, or whether you're good enough and just write. It doesn't matter if no-one reads it, or if you get horrible feed-back on it. Each minute that you spend writing is a minute you've dedicated to getting better to your craft. Persistence makes perfect.
Even the best writers cannot capture every audience; some people hate Harry Potter and some people love it, so it doesn't matter whether people like it. As long as you're writing it matters. The main reason that people don't persist in their journaling or in their writing in general is because comparatively, they feel shit. Stop comparing, and just keep going.
“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.”
—Virginia Woolf *click to tweet*