When I took my Creative Writing courses in college, the one constant exercise was journaling. I was always told to keep a journal. Write down anything and everything I observed. I admit that I did not see much value in keeping a journal. I didn’t see the link between journaling and the writing process. I didn’t take journaling seriously. But ideas would randomly pop in my head, and they would vanish as quick as they appeared. I regretted not writing them down when the opportunity presented itself.
I believe all writers need a journal. We have all sorts of thoughts running through our brains: characters, paragraphs, stories, miscellaneous thoughts that have zero connection to writing. I have two journals: one for my stories and one for random thoughts. And when carrying a big notebook isn’t practical, technology steps in. Every phone has some kind of camera and voice recorder. And there are apps on smartphones for dictation, note-taking, and journaling. My go-to app is Evernote. With it, I can organize notes into notebooks without worrying about space. And recently, my wife told me about an app called One Day. It’s a journal app that reminds you to write something in it, even if it’s just a sentence. I will be downloading that soon.
After I graduated, I started keeping journals to record everything. The one regret I have now is not keeping them when I filled them up. It’s interesting looking back on them and read what I recorded, to remember what I was thinking at that moment. So, I need to find a box to keep those precious thoughts so that I can come back to them if ever I need an idea or if I’m feeling nostalgic. Journaling has become part of my writing process. I regret not doing this sooner.