Journaling: Does it make you a writer or keep you from writing?

By Katharine Swan On Friday, December 16, 2005 At 1:00 AM

Today I was thinking about all the writing advice flying around out there. Sometimes it seems that the way to make money writing is to write a book about how to write... Anyway, there's a lot of advice about journaling. Some how-to books will tell you that journaling is a great thing to do to get in the habit of writing frequently. Other books will tell you that journaling is nothing but another form of procrastinating, and will only keep you from writing anything that makes money.

My thoughts? Well, for starters, if someone is really born to write I don't think they'll need any practice at writing frequently... If you're a born writer, that's what you want to do most of the time. Of course, I've kept a journal consistently since I was 10 or 11, and it certainly was never with the intent of practicing... although I'm sure it refined my writing techniques over the years, just as the many, many books I read probably served as examples on how to write. No, I kept my journal for my own reflections, as a coping mechanism, however you want to think of it - but in any case, it wasn't for the sake of writing.

Interestingly, now that I'm freelancing full time, I'm turning to that journal less and less. I think I've only written in it a couple of times in the last 4 or 5 months. So maybe that's the truth of the matter: journaling is just fine when you're not writing for a living, but once you start really living by your pen (or your computer keys) you find you have less and less time for journaling.

I guess technically a blog is sort of like a public journal, so in some ways I'm still doing it, but it's a different goal now: it's all really about getting my work "out there," getting my name recognized and funneling more internet traffic to my site. In any case, I hope my blog will be more interesting than the lengthy rants of a lovesick teenager. :o)

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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