Guest post written by Jennifer Lockman.
Journaling is for everyone. Some, use it is as a safe place to express themselves, while other, like writers ,keep journals to keep track of their projects. I keep it for a mixture of both. It’s nice to get off the computer and to physically write something. This alone brings me a lot of benefits.
Whether you’re just launching a freelance writing career or you have already been working for a few years, starting a journal is the right choice. If you use this powerful tool regularly, you will reap the following advantages.
Stress relief and improved health
Writers have long known about the therapeutic benefits of writing. Now, this issue is a focus of research for scientists. Several studies have shown that patients who engaged in expressive writing felt appreciably better, both mentally and physically, as compared with patients who didn’t. I’m not a medical expert. But from personal experience, journal keeping reduced my stress level by half. While the effects may differ, the positive impact of writing on overall health is beyond doubt.
Your own Idea Bank
Pitching ideas to editors of print and online media is part of a freelance writing career. A journal is a starting point. It’s the soil where you plant those seeds. An idea that you dropped a few months ago, because you weren’t ready to develop it then, maybe perfect for you to work on tomorrow. You’ll never suffer from writer’s block. I often use my journal for an article or academic paper. If your creativity is temporarily gone, you can look through the entries and discover an idea you’d love to employ.
A freelance career requires hard work and patience. Journaling gives you an opportunity to keep track of your progress. That will push you to keep going. My journal keeps me motivated. I write down things that inspire me. I also maintain records of the happy moments in life. Create a log of inspirational sources tailored to you. The more motivation you get, the more you grow personally, mentally and professionally.
Organizing your work schedule (especially if you are working on multiple orders at once) is a challenging task. A journal helps to prioritize time more efficiently. You can see patterns and notice things that keep popping up and need your attention. Journaling helps me to plan what I’m actually going to write. This way, I complete the non-writing activity sooner and carve out more time for my actual writing. Every time I take a writing course, submit a magazine article or work on a long-term project, I jot everything down in my journal. The act of recording these things makes me feel great. I know that I can manage my workload.
The freelance job involves more than one may think. What can be more appealing than working in the comfort of your home? Qualification matters when it comes to success in freelance writing. However, it doesn’t mean that this job is only for someone with a degree in a related field. As a freelancer, I must take into consideration the expectations and satisfaction of my clients. This forms the driving force to produce the best quality of work possible. And meeting the deadlines is always an achievement. If you’re not qualified, but you have the necessary knowledge, training can be enough to get you going. A journal is a place for exercising your writing skills, developing your own approach to work, and defining your career goals. You already know what journaling can do for you and why you might need to take it up. The question that remains unanswered is how to start practicing it on a regular basis.
Choose a journal that feels right for you
While it’s tempting to opt for the journal with the cutest cover or the fanciest embossing on it, select the one that will be easy to use in different settings. Will you always have a surface to put your notebook on while you write? Will you be able to document your observations while standing in line and your creative juices are flowing uncontrollably? Some writers jot their ideas down on index cards and keep them in a file box. Others have a large notebook stashed in handy locations at home and take a small spiral notebook when they go out. The latter can be tucked inside a purse or in the pocket. While a pen and paper give your brain a break from computer screens, why not use an app that you can open when you have a few spare minutes during the day? Various software packages designed for journal keeping are readily available. Their advantage is that you can tag entries, and then quickly find the necessary abstract. And if you want to include some sentences in your article, it is a matter of a few clicks.
How to make journaling a habit
Want to write in your journal every day? Connect it to something you already perform daily. If you take medication, supplement, or vitamin tie your writing practice to when you do it. This is why many daily journal-keepers write in the morning while having a cup of coffee or right before bedtime to declutter the brain and avoid insomnia.
Want to write in your journal once a week? Choose a day, book that chunk of time (I suggest from ten minutes to an hour) in your calendar as a recurring event and set a reminder.
Good luck becoming a journal keeper!
About author: Jennifer Lockman, I am graduated from UCLA majoring in Journalism and blogger. My expertise includes general education, e-learning, business, writing and lifestyle.