I’ve kept a journal for close to four decades. Nothing fancy, just a series of spiral-bound notebooks, which I’ve used for a number of purposes over the years. While drafting the first two chapters of “The Chosen,” I used it to make notes, generate ideas, craft and revise outlines — 25 pages of pre-writing exercises. All that work helped make the last three weeks as productive as they were fun.
When it comes to the craft of writing, I’m not a believer in rules. There’s very few things that I feel all writers must do; I keep a journal not to fulfill an obligation, but rather because the activity has demonstrably improved my writing. I’d certainly recommend experimenting with a journal to any writer, and see what happens. If it works for you, keep doing it, but if it proves to be an unproductive burden, then stop and try something else.
Journaling has done wonders for me, especially over the last few weeks. As I draft fiction on this blog, I’ll continue to rely on my spiral-bound notebooks to explore my ideas before clicking Publish.