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Home > Literature and writing > Writing (Rhetoric), collections and criticism of more than two literatures > Writing (Rhetoric) and collections of literary texts from more than two literatures
Journal Writing
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By Carol Martzinek Click to send e-mail to editor Click to visit editor's home page Editor is Offline
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Related Subject(s): Diaries -- Authorship
Dewey Code: 808.06692
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How Do I Start Keeping a Journal?

Author: Carol Martzinek
Published on: November 29, 2000

Related Subject(s): Diaries -- Authorship

I occasionally receive e-mails asking for advice on how to start journal writing. The best advice I can give you is to just find a journal and pen that feel comfortable and start writing. Other than making sure that you date your entries, there are no rules to keeping a journal.

Choosing a Journal: A journal doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. It can be a spiral notebook, a fancy book or even a computer file. Some people like lines, some prefer unlined pages, some like to type their entries and still others prefer a combination of two or more. The important thing is that you're comfortable using the journal you've chosen.

Size is also something to consider when choosing a journal. If you plan to carry your journal with you at all times, then you will probably want to select a journal that is smaller and easy to carry in a backpack, purse or briefcase. On the other hand, if you're primarily going to be doing all of your writing in one place, such as your desk or kitchen table, a larger book may also be an option.

If a computer journal is what you're interested in, there are several journal-keeping programs available that you might be interested in trying. Yeah Write, Vista Write and LifeJournal are three such programs which have trial versions available for downloading online. If you want to share your writings with an audience, creating an online journal may be the thing for you. You may want to have a look at a free online journal hosting site such as DiaryLand.

Selecting a Pen: If you prefer pen and paper over a computer and keyboard, selecting a writing tool is just as important as choosing a journal. The key thing to remember if you want your writing to survive the years is to use waterproof, durable ink. There are lots of fun pens out there, in dozens of colors. I use GellyRoll gel pens, because they're fun, and I can buy them in my local Target. Scrapbooking supply stores and websites, such as Scrapbooks 'n More carry a large selection of pens and markers made to withstand the test of time. You can browse the list of my recommended links for ideas.

Deciding What to Write: For many, this is the hardest part of starting a journal. It may take a little experimentation to find out what sorts of things you want to write down, but here are a few ideas that may help get you started:

- Write a list of things that you're grateful for.
- Write about the best (or worst) thing that happened to you today.
- Describe your best friend.
- Write down your favorite childhood memory.
- Write about your first kiss or your first date.
- Describe your favorite (or least favorite) food.

The following links may also help:

At a Loss for Words?
How To's from Your Journals Guide
Writing the Journey - What is a Journal?

©2000 Carol Martzinek, all rights reserved.

If you'd like to reprint this material for any purpose, please click here to request permission.

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Here's the follow-up discussion on this article: View all related messages
Author:   catmz See Complete Message
Date:   May 12, 2001 5:36 PM
Subject:   getting a start
This may sound funny, but if I need something to write about in my journal, there's always good old gossip, especially f ...
post message  
Author:   katzplanet See Complete Message
Date:   February 24, 2001 8:40 PM
Subject:   Keeping a Journal
Carol, you've got a wonderful site here--it's full of ideas and excellent advice. I'm enjoying checking out your link s ...
post message  
Author:   CarolAnneM See Complete Message
Date:   December 31, 2000 8:18 AM
Subject:   Re: Starting a new journal
In response to message posted by louise1928:

Th ...

post message  
Author:   louise1928 See Complete Message
Date:   December 30, 2000 10:46 PM
Subject:   Starting a new journal
I used to keep a diary/journal when I was a teenager....The one I remember writing in the most, I lost during my move to ...
post message  
Author:   annej See Complete Message
Date:   November 29, 2000 8:56 AM
Subject:   Good article to help people get started
The hardest thing is to get started writing regularly. In this article you've made it simple and non threatening. I st ...
post message  
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