Pick up most How-to books about writing and somewhere within that book you will find this helpful tip: Keep a Journal. The author will recommend writing in it every day or writing for a specified number of minutes, but the underlying message is - writing in a journal will help your writing. Goodness knows, I can use all the help I can get with my writing, so this is a no-brainer, right?
Although I admit to 'mostly' agreeing with the advice, I cannot seem to force myself to do it with regularity. At least part of the reason is that every time I sit down to journal I have flashbacks to writing in my diary around the age of 10. You know the kind I'm talking about - it has a red cover with gold edged pages and - most important - a lock! I got the diary for my birthday and in the beginning I wrote in it every day. I cataloged the events of my (somewhat boring) days as well as my joys and tribulations, with satisfaction. Here, I thought, is where I can put down my most secret thoughts and desires and no one else will know.
Ha! It took about 6 months for me to realize that the so-called lock on my diary was definitely not pick-proof. In fact, it didn't even require a paper clip to jimmy open without a key. My older sister made this fact known to me by commenting on one of my entries - in writing. Seeing her words on the page - MY PAGE - felt like such a violation. Ok, so I HAD written about her - and NO, it wasn't very flattering. But still, the magic was gone. Knowing that anyone could read what I had written took away that secret place just for me. This is, I'm sure, where my journal-phobia began.
Over the years, I have tried journaling several times, with some success. My most recent attempt has involved using a Word document. I figure that at least on my computer I can password protect the file. I guess I'm still trying to find a place that's just for me.
If you, like me, struggle with keeping a journal, there are some ways to make journaling a habit, rather than a miracle. For example, pick a word and write about it. Choose a place you want to travel to and write about that. Or write about a hobby / dream / problem you have. In my case, I find myself journaling about some of the issues I have about my writing - which I guess is a subject also.
Do you keep a journal? What are some of the things you journal about?