Category Archives: How to Write

Journaling Techniques

Writing in a journal can be the most important thing that you do. Journals are an expression of yourself, a way to heal after a loss, an exercise in creativity, a place to write your thoughts, a place of freedom to do and say whatever you want, and so much more. Click here to read more about reasons why you should keep a journal.

Below are some journal techniques for when you don’t know what to write:

  • Forget all requirements for writing – anything goes in a journal
  • Write when the mood strikes- you don’t have to write daily 
  • Write honestly – without avoiding the important things
  • Start today – in the middle of your life – you don’t have to write about your beginnings if you don’t want
  • Write a poem
  • Write a list
  • Release your emotions. Your journal can be filled with thoughts you are freeing from yourself. Writing it down keeps it from eating you alive.
  • Reflect on your life
  • Description – paint a scene so vivid you could relive it later
  • Write letters you would never send to anyone
  • Free write – write whatever comes to mind even if it doesn’t make sense now
  • Write a dialog with yourself (or someone else)
  • Dream mapping
  • Write what you are grateful for
  • Life goals
  • Quotes that inspire you

The most important thing to remember is that it is your journal. You don’t have to let anyone read it if you don’t want to.

There are so many ways to document your life. You can include pictures, drawings, or receipts in your journal. In fact you might just find yourself writing on the back of receipts and taping it into your journal later. And here is a fun tip I found online: Create a table on contents in your journal so you can go back to the stuff you want to remember. If you number your journal pages you can reference the topics you wrote about. Kinda cool right?

So what are you waiting for? Start writing in your journal now.

Why you should keep a journal

I was always that weird kid in High School. I was always writing in my journal. My favorite time to write was in math class. And because I was always writing (and reading) I never hated High School (or Jr. High for that matter).
So here are a few reasons why you should start keeping a journal:

  • writing in a journal helps you become a better writer
  • through reflection you discover new things about yourself
  • find patterns in your life
  • discover solutions to problems
  • exercise in creativity
  • record your thoughts and dreams
  • ability to express yourself freely without fear of judgement
  • helps to clarify goals
  • helps you become more self aware
  • memory aid
  • a way to mourn the loss of someone or something in your life
  • a form of self-expression
  • relax and unwind
  • free your imagination
  • untangle thoughts
  • help you sleep by emptying your mind
  • record future projects and new ideas
  • a safe place for creativity and honesty
  • writer’s work book
  • pure freedom to do what you want

A journal is anything that you want it to be. You can write whatever you want in it. It is freedom. It is order. It is chaos. It is pure. It is you.

Ten Tips for the Beginning Travel Writer

Next year I will be traveling to Ireland with some friends and it got me thinking about travel writing. Wouldn’t it be awesome to get paid to travel around the world and write about your experiences? It sounds like a dream job to me.

Photo by 3d AND Brained on absolutvision.com
Photo by 3d AND Brained on absolutvision.com

So it got me thinking about what a good travel writer does. Here are some of the things I learned through my research:

  1. Start the story with a good hook (like a short antidote) to grab readers from the beginning. This is really the same as any good news story. You have to get the readers attention.
  2. Travel writing is like writing a news story: there should be a reason you are telling a story. The article should include who, what, when, where, and why. A lot of travel articles are centered around a single experience. Think: Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell.
  3. Write in the first person, past tense. However, don’t be afraid to break the rules if the story demands it (Yes I know I am breaking most of the rules with this post. Have I mentioned I am not a morning person?).
  4. Always include details – describe the sights and sounds around you. Show don’t tell!
  5. Read. All writers should be voracious readers so that they know the tradition that comes before them.
  6. Travel and travel often. You can even travel within your own town: the only thing that you need is curiosity (and a pen).
  7. Always look beyond the obvious, beyond the superficial to see the authenticity of a place.
  8. Take pictures. A lot of pictures – people are very visual, so try and include pictures that help tell your story.
  9. Start a blog. If you want to be published, you have to be seen. If you know where you want to be published, study their website or magazine. Don’t just send them your pitch and hope for the best. You should study their website/magazine and think about how you fit within the overall style.
  10. Just write.