Journaling as a Gateway to Writing
My goal today is to help get you writing.
Fist of all I don’t believe in Writers Block. I don’t even like saying the phrase. To me, it’s simple.
Have enough input, and you will have enough output.
Input being reading books, listening to others talk, listening to podcasts, heck even binge watching a new show on Netflix. Have enough of these Inputs and you will have stuff to write about.
The inputs in your life are like the ingredients to your cake, and journaling is the oven.
Journaling is a very therapeutic exercise for someone like me. Just as there are differences in how much a woman speaks in a day from a man (around 13,000 more words), there is a difference in how much a writer speaks to themselves versus a non-writer. Being a male writer, avid reader, and a very thoughtful person, I don’t speak much in a given day. But this doesn’t mean I’m not having conversation.
Yes, I am a little insane, but aren’t we all? Heh heh he he..
But you may be a writer type yourself. And to you good sir, I have some advice.
Journaling and Writing are two things I cannot live without, but until this very day, I’ve only been journaling. I.e. writing for myself. Today I’m making the switch to writing for you.
Journaling is something I’ve done off and on in the past. I used every text editor imaginable, and have files all across the internet. Coming fresh out of college I tried to journal in Microsoft Word, but after using it for the first 1/3 of my life, for school (thanks Mr. Gates) I never wanted to see that program again. I started using notes on my iPhone and iPad. I stuffed writing of every kind everywhere I could think of, but without a structure, it never took hold as a habit.
For the last several years I’ve gone back and forth between two programs. ByWord for Mac is a simple full screen application, you can use to write in Markup (internet looking format), and keeps a simple word count at the bottom for hitting your goals. But once again this is an unorganized mess of journaling and doesn’t have the built in accountability to keep someone like me journaling.
Which brings me to my current mainstay, a little site called 750 words. I’m not sure what book, blog or, blabberhole I heard about this site from, but it works well for me. It’s a simple almost gamified way of doing your journaling. You write your 750 words every day and you get a little green check mark at the top of your score card. It’s like a bowling score card, you get an X for completing your words, and a / for writing that day. This has been immensely helpful to me. Something about breaking the chain of writing everyday now scares me.
Hint: Once you hit your goal a few times, set your own mental goal of 1000 words a day, so when you are completely blocked, or don’t have much time to write, you can still hit your goal and get your tasty little green X on your scorecard.
let me stress this.
Without Fail, somewhere in the middle of the 750 words, you will begin to fire off thoughts. Neurons will tickle each other and delicious formed thoughts will start to fire from your fingertips. This almost never happens from the beginning.
In fact ,most of the time my journaling starts off like this:
Hello there 750 words, looks like I’m here for one more day, what I’m going to write about? Who knows, but I’m here so you should be proud of me. I read somewhere that a journaling habit can help a writer get started formulating thoughts, it’s not happening yet…but I’m gonna keep going till I do. Do I have any milk left in the fridge?
The point is to just type your running train of thought. This may seem pointless and like you are an insane person, but no one is ever going to read this, heck most of the time, you won’t even read your own journaling. The point is to get you started, so you can get the part of your brain that is worried about the milk to forget about the milk and focus on writing something that will change someones day.
Interesting things will start flying from your fingertips.
My latest endeavor is to spill right from my 1,000 words right into…
The funny thing is, once I’ve sat down to do my daily writing, I get to the 1,000 words, and I don’t really want to stop.
It’s like when you are a kid and just start to make a new friend at the park, and you are about to finish making the mountain of pea gravel in front of the swing set when your mom tells you it’s time to go. Even though you didn’t want to make new friends in the first place, somewhere you started having the time of your life.
This always happens when I’ve hit my daily writing limit. But I’ve never had anywhere to put the overflow. Here on Medium I will be putting the formulated thoughts and hopefully you will get something out of it.
The problem however is, journaling isn’t hard, you don’t have to second guess what you are typing because you have permission to be silly, to be crude, to write garbage, no one is going to read it.
Writing and putting your words in front of an audience is the tiny switch that makes ALL the difference.
It’s like formulating thoughts then actually speaking them to someone else. You no longer have control. People can disagree, tell you “You should give up on your dreams” or “No one will ever love you because your writing is trash.”
People might, just might enjoy your work.
So for the next several weeks I will be making the transition into a writer because I think someone will be inspired by this and maybe just maybe, pay me ten-thousand dollars for every Medium post I write…
Do you have a journaling habit? Or do you just sit down and gold flies from your fingertips? I’d love to hear about your writing process in the comments!
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