I started writing in a Pooh Bear journal, I'm not even sure how old I was, but I was barely able to draw the letters let alone spell correctly. I've kept a journal of some kind ever since. They have ranged from college ruled spiral notebooks to fancy leather bound with a clasp. They have contained my sappy and angst filled teen poetry, my first story ideas, even some of my first figure drawings of my characters.
Journaling has been a big part of my being a writer and passing on how it has helped seems like the most natural thing for me to do, so here it goes, the four biggest ways keeping a journal has helped me grow as a writer.
1. You are writing.
Oh no duh, but this is the biggest reason that it's helped me. You have a few minutes between a class and lunch. Find a quiet spot, sit down and write a little bit in your journal. I tend to prefer being tech free, especially when I don't know what I'm going to do with a new project, and my journal has enabled me to outline, experiment with concepts, and even simply write my stories away from computers.
2. It opens your eyes.
I never limit what I write in my journal. It contains shopping lists, class schedules, snippets of poetry, overheard conversations, descriptions of smells in a certain place, brain storming for class projects, alphabets for other languages (*cough*Tangwar*cough*), and so much more. This has enabled me to look at what has happened in my life and pull from everything when ever I need to.
3. Freedom to experiment.
Ever dreamed about writing poetry? Ever dreamed about writing a best selling movie? What about creating your own language? Well, so have I to all three of those. The beauty of working with a journal, it enables you to play around with your dreams. Sometimes you find out that some of them do work, and sometimes they don't. The beauty of a journal is that you see yourself grow as you play around with them.
4. Discovering your voice.
A writer's individual voice is something that each of us aspires to have, and we each do have it. The only way to discover it is to keep writing, and eventually you notice things that always end up coming out. Me? I tend to be down to earth, with a little bit of smirk thrown in now and then. That doesn't mean I found it right away. In fact, I'm still not one hundred percent certain that I've found exactly what my writer's voice is, but I have a feeling that it's something that grows with you.
Keep on Writing!