The International Association for Journal Writing Logo

How to Journal

Your complete guide to getting started with journaling.

Do you want to learn how to journal, but are unsure where to start?  Or you want to know what to write in a journal?  Maybe you have heard of creative journaling and are curious about what it is? Perhaps you are a writer and want to journal to deepen your craft?

This comprehensive “How to Journal” article will answer all of your questions about what journal writing is, how you can use it, and what benefits you can experience from this type of writing.  It also includes many journal writing prompts to help you get started. Lastly, while journal writing is typically a solitary act, you don’t have to journal alone or in isolation.  This article will tell you where you can get some help and support for your journal writing, including the option of engaging in a journal writing community and group.

better journal writing

This Article Covers:

What is Journal Writing?

What can i use journaling for.

Do You Need to Write Regularly in a Journal?

image of person learning how to journal

Before we talk about how to journal, let’s consider what journaling is.

Journal Writing is the practice of taking time for yourself to write and reflect on your thoughts, feelings and life experiences.  There are many suggestions for how to journal and what to write about. However, the beauty of journal writing is you can do it in your own way. This means that you can really make it your own creative and life enhancing practice.

There are lots of people who write in a journal.  I recently heard that 16% of the world’s population regularly writes in a journal.  I don’t have a research source for this circulated fact but you could loosely test this claim yourself by asking a group of friends or family if they write in a journal and see what percentage of them say yes.

Each person might give a slightly different answer to the question, what is journaling but in essence, journaling is the simple and profound act of capturing and understanding our lives through expressive writing and story.  Expressive writing includes writing about our thoughts and feelings while gaining self-awareness and new discoveries along the way. Journaling is all about exploring and enriching life through narrative, words and creative self-expression through writing.

Journaling is…

“Journal writing is one of the rare forms of writing in which freedom of form and content support each other magically.”   –  Stephanie Dowrick

You can use journal writing to get to know yourself better, to solve problems, make life decisions, improve your health, increase feelings of gratitude and joy.  Journaling can help you to heal from stressful life circumstances, to deal with grief and loss, or other life transitions. Or just journal for the pure love it! Journaling is a fun, nourishing and creative practice that simply requires something to write with and write on (pen and notebook, loose paper, cue cards, you can choose your journaling tools!).

People use journal writing in different ways for a variety of reasons.  One person might journal to heal a broken heart and their journaling might take the form of an unsent letter, expressing all they wish they might have said to that person who is no longer in their life.  Someone else might be journaling to celebrate their accomplishments and successes and they make a list of their recent points of pride in the pages of their journal.

You can have various goals and intentions for your journaling.  There are also a wide variety of journaling methods and techniques you can use to get the most out of your journaling and use it for what matters most to you at this time in your life.

How to Journal – What are the Benefits?

There are many evidence-based benefits of journal writing from over 30 years of research in the expressive writing field.  Yes, journal writing is a field of work!

People use the journaling process for many reasons, including to:

Today, journaling is widely accepted as a means for cultivating wellness within a whole person health approach which includes the emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of well-being.  Journaling is being used across various disciplines, such as education, psychology, leadership, business, health, creative writing, coaching and counselling fields, as a powerful tool for learning and growth.

How to Journal – Getting Started

Get organized.

One of the first things to do when you want to start a journal is to get your journaling tools organized.  You simply need a pen and a journal, a notebook of some form, to get started.

It can be fun to pick out your favourite pen and an inspiring journal.  You can look online or go into any book, stationary or office supply store and you can find all kinds of journals, pens, markers and other things that you might like to use in your journal such as stickers or other creative touches.

Over time, you can experiment with your journaling tools.  Do you want to have blank pages or lined? Would you prefer a small journal or a large sketchbook style journal?  Would you use the same style journal or mix it up and try something new each time you fill a journal and need to begin a new one?

Sometimes people use loose leaf paper and put their journaling pages in a binder, or write small entries on cue cards, or use big 18 x 24 pages of paper for larger visual journaling entries. There are mixed media art journals and more.

Image of hand starting to write in journal

Just Write!

The key is to pick some simple journaling tools to start with – a pen and notebook – and start writing.  Your writing will teach you what you need. For example, I used to write in a small lined journal and over the years, my writing longed for larger, open, clear spaces to fill and I now use an 8 ½ by 11 blank page sketchbook, spiral bound (I keep my pilot pen in the spine of the journal).

Find your own tools and make your own way as you write.  The only way to journaling, is to write. Then write some more.

Whether you are an avid journal writer, someone who used to journal and got away from it, or have never written in a journal before… “There is a Spanish proverb which says: there is no road, we make the road as we walk. I would say the same thing about journal writing: we make the path as we write.”  Christina Baldwin

How to Journal – Creating Writing Rituals

What is a journaling writing ritual.

Dr. James Pennebaker, author of Writing to Heal: A Guided Journal for Recovering from Trauma & Emotional Upheaval, suggests some of the conditions that help enhance the expressive writing process.  His research shows that creating a journal writing ritual is something that is very beneficial.

Being focused, non-judgmental, and connected to your interior world fosters deeper writing -but it’s not a frame of mind that everyone can simply switch on and off. The idea behind the ritual is to create a unique environment and/or behavior which help you expeditiously sink into the best journal writing mindset that you can.  The purpose of the ritual is to take you away from everyday life. Your ritual are the cues you can create for yourself which help you become relaxed, alert, and reflective.

How do you Create a Journal Writing Ritual?

Here are some suggestions that may work, but just as almost everything about journal writing is individual, the ritual that you create to transition into deeper journal writing is uniquely yours.

The trick, of course, is to find the cues that help you settle in quickly.  Initially, experiment with different rituals to see which feels best and then stick with the practice once you have found one that you like. Remember to use as many of your senses–smell, sight, touch, hearing and taste– as you can when creating your own centering ritual.

Image of woman journaling to create a ritual for how to journal article

How to Journal – What To Write

You can write about your day including your thoughts, feelings, problems, challenges, upsets, joys, successes and dreams.  You can write about anything you want to write about. For example, here are some journaling prompts to help you get started:

You can write about what you don’t really want to write about and explore your resistance.  Resistance offers you information about areas you might be feeling stuck, or perhaps procrastinating with, or simply not quite sure how to proceed.  Here are some journaling prompts to play with around this:

You can free write (simply go to the page and start writing) or you can do more structured journal writing activities such as using prompts.   There are many journal writing techniques and methods such as mind maps, cluster drawings, dialogue writing, captured moments, poetic writing and more that you can learn about and use to keep your journal writing fresh and interesting.

You can access our free 7 Servings of Journal Juice for new ideas on what to write about in your journal.  You will receive journal writing prompts, exercises, tips and our inspiring Journaling Museletter.

How To Journal – How Often Should I Write

There are no rules about how often you should write in your journal.  Like anything, the more often you do something that is good for you, the more benefits you can get from it.  For example, if you wanted to experience the many benefits of exercise to your health and wellness, you would not go for one walk around the block and expect to experience significant health benefits from it.

The same is true for journaling. While that one walk would have offered you in the moment benefits, time to relax, a feel good feeling from moving your body, some fresh air and more, the same is true for journaling.  You could take 10 minutes to write about your thoughts, feelings and life observations, and gain a sense of relief, renewal and replenishment from the act of writing.

Journal Regularly

Journaling can also be done regularly, even daily.  Much like any other activity you might do that is good for you, like brushing your teeth or meditating or eating a healthy diet.  Journaling can be a healthy daily habit.

Set a Timer

I often facilitate timed journal writing exercises in workshops and retreats that I offer, for example within my Transformational Writing for Wellness Salon , a 6 week group coaching program that takes people into the heart and art of transformational journaling. So often, I have had people say “I can’t believe how much I wrote in just 5 minutes” or “I can’t believe I gained that new insights when I just wrote for 7 minutes!”

Journaling to Cope

Many people only write in their journals when they are going through difficult times.  Once things are going better, they stop writing. This is also a valuable way to use a journal as a life companion for helping to cope during stressful or troubled times.

The key is not to get too caught up in “should” – I should journal today. I should journal more often.  Because shoulds can open the door for negative self-talk and feelings of inadequacy and shame. Your journaling practice is best treated more like a  kind friend. You get to it because you want to, because it is an enjoyable, or at least helpful, relaxing experience.

It’s a question that most journal writers face at some point. Does it matter that you write regularly in your journal?  Whether you write often depends on your purpose for writing. Is it to preserve memories? To sort out issues? To track physical or emotional, spiritual, or intellectual progress? Track health symptoms?

If journal writing is pleasurable, then writing is its own reward. If journal writing becomes a task you “should” do, rather than something that is internally compelling, then you are more likely to write less consistently. So part of the issue can be reframed to ask, ”How do I make journal writing pleasurable?”  The answer to this question can help you find your own way to make journaling a consistent and enjoyable habit (that you engage with for reasons that are meaningful to you.)

How To Journal Consistently –  Creating the Journaling Habit

If you do want to write in your journal on a regular basis and truly create the journaling habit, here are a few ideas that might help you to keep writing consistently:

Back to the question does it really does it matter that you write consistently?

It only matters that you write consistently so you don’t stop keeping a journal, and so when you re-read your journal, there are enough entries to retain the continuity of the storyline of your life.

Your capacity to write consistently in your journal will be determined by your feeling of satisfaction and by doing what’s right for you. While you are writing and when you finish, notice how you feel. Did you like the process?  Were you feeling relaxed and soothed during or after writing? Did you feel at times frustrated, angry, confused, despairing? This whole spectrum of emotions is simply part of the process of journal writing. I know that for me (Ruth) I do feel better most of the time after I write, like I’ve jettisoned some burden and/or relived a pleasurable part of my day.

How to Journal – What Help and Support Can I Get?

One of the best ways to learn more about how to journal is with the support of a like minded community, with fellow journal writers, where there are regular opportunities to connect, learn and be inspired about journaling.  If people like yoga, they connect in yoga communities, like meditation or scrapbooking or running, the instinct is to find supportive communities who share our passion or interest in something, so that we can learn and grow together.

Our journal writing community is for extroverts and introverts alike.  Perhaps you want the inspiration and support of a community, but would rather sit back quietly and take it all in.  Or maybe you want to chat with fellow journal writers in live time on our monthly telechats with guest experts. You can gain help and support for your journal writing in your own way.

People journal writing in group for how to journal article

Join our Online Community

Knowing the power of having a community of fellow journal writers to be part of, the International Association for Journal Writing offers a learning and inspiration community for journal writers worldwide.  We offer monthly online writing circles, interviews with guest experts in the field of journaling and expressive writing, courses, journaling tools, e-books and more.

We also have our Journal Writing Tribe Facebook group where you can connect with fellow journal writers, receive journal writing tips and prompts, all in support of you and your own unique journal writing journey. Everyone is welcome!

Treat Yourself to a Journal Writing Retreat

Lastly, you might want to join one of our virtual Renew You Writing Retreat where you can take 3 hours for yourself to journal in a guided and nourishing way to either kick-start or reinvigorate your journaling practice.  This retreat offers you time for your own creative self-care and renewal!

“Wow! What an awesome experience! I must admit I was a tad bit skeptical about an online retreat. But woah! Was I wrong! The Renew You Writing Retreat was so invigorating, uplifting, therapeutic, inspirational….just plain awesomesauce. Have you ever had an experience like that? You go in a little skeptical and come out blown away? Have you had the experience of being deeply inspired through writing and sharing with others? If not, you’re missing out! Thank you, Lynda, for creating such a wonderful space and experience.“ Airial W. Dandridge, Certified Life Coach

How to Journal – In Conclusion

If you’ve read this far, I know you are passionate or at least curious about the many benefits of  journal writing. Journaling is always an empowering experience because you are always the expert of your own experiences.  Journaling let’s you capture those experiences while exploring both the known and yet to be discovered aspects of both your inner and outer worlds.

As a Registered Social Worker and Certified Co-Active Life Coach, I have been immersed in fields of work that are about human transformation, growth, change and wellness for the past 30 years.  I have learned many different tools and techniques for self-care, healing and growth through my studies and my own first-hand experience. Journaling is my go to practice that helps me to live an intentional, healthy and happy life.  It has helped many people to do the same! Including you, perhaps?

There is only one way to experience the many benefits of journal writing and that is to pick up your pen and write.

“Writing was the healing place where I could collect bits and pieces, where I could put them together again…written words change us all and make us more than we could ever be without them.” ~ bell hooks

May your own journaling support you to be more than you could ever be without it!

Authors :  Lynda Monk, Director of IAJW and Ruth Folit, Founder of IAJW , partnered to write this How to Journal article, attempting to answer some of the most common questions that new and, in some cases, even seasoned journal writers have.


' src=

Such a wonderful article. Thank you for sharing!

' src=

Thanks, Diana!

' src=

I went to write lots bits to remember and copied it almost word for word in my common place book,but I love to write and am trying to get back into it,I’m writing for recovery from am 8yr relationship with a covert gaslighting narcissist,and I couldn’t write,let alone relax,I have been out for almost 2yrs,and when I start to feel joy or something didn’t work out and I’m hard on myself,I swear I can feel his presence in my house,he doesn’t know where I am,I left him and moved 2hr away in a different state,the feeling is almost overwhelming

Hi Dixie, personal writing can help heal from painful relationships. It’s great you are getting back into it!

' src=

Thank you both Lynda and Ruth for this wonderfully informative resource. Never too old to learn something new! Thank you both for bringing this to us.

Thanks, Lyn. Glad it offered some new ideas!

' src=

Great article Lynda! You’ve covered so many bases – lots of work, and very informative and knowledgeable as always :) Emma-Louise

Hi Emma, thanks for your kind feedback!

' src=

You two put together a beautiful and accessible piece here. It’s filled with all the vast experience and love you have for journaling. Thanks, Beth

Thanks so much, Beth! Your feedback means a lot to us.

' src=

Lynda, a beautiful gift to receive, words combing thoughts, insightful expressions and creative suggestions. Thank you for sharing a writing world held in heart, pen or typing starts journaling what is seen, felt or sensed from a human inner essence. Whole ❤️ Namaste.

Thank you, Denise! Namaste.

' src=

My name is Jacki Smallwood. I have been watching your sight on Facebook, and all the various gifts you have given while on the sight. I have been in a nursing home for 3 years and in quarantine for the past 11 months, not leaving my room, no guests, no funerals or graduation s. To keep my sanity u journal, I share my journaling with other residents through Messenger to help others cope. I don’t have access to copy machine nor anyone to take it out to staples. I am asking if anyone of your organization would donate material that would help me so much and then share with others. I get 45.00 a month from SS and need every penny for my needs. Anything you can do would be so helpful.

Seniors are a special group often ignored through this Covid.

Thank you for anything you could for me.

Jacky Smallwood

Hi Jacky, thank you for your note and request. I removed your mailing address from your original comment before publishing it for your privacy. I will reach out to you by email. I am glad journaling is helping you during this difficult time. More to follow, Lynda

' src=

Lynda, I’m very grateful to have ran across this article. I used to journal a lot when I was younger and I write poetry and music pretty consistently for the last few years. I have been told journaling could be amazing for me to get over some of my past pains and nasty relationships and getting to know myself, growing into a stronger (as well as better person), and just for my general mental health. So, as I begin to journal this very day, I was writing down many things that I want to include and accomplish with this journal inside the front pages of my book and I happened to run across your article! Now I just want to give you a big thank you BECAUSE I attained a lot of information, ideas, and format to include in my new journaling experience! I’m very excited to embark and I just wanted to let you know again I’m grateful for running across your words.

Chelsea Venice, Florida

Hi Chelsea, thanks for your note and for sharing some of your journaling hopes! I love the serendipity that you found our journaling website. We have lots of free journaling resources, including journaling prompts, that might be helpful along the way. You can find them here if you are interested: Happy journaling!

' src=

Thanks for your article esp the prompts to change the language and freshen up what I usually write.

' src=

wonderful article

' src=

Thank you so much for this article! When I was in my deepest months I would always journal but then once I got better I stopped journaling. I really want to get back into it but instead of writing about the bad in my life, I am going to focus on the good.

' src=

thank you for this article!

You’re welcome, Gwen. Thanks for reading.

Leave A Comment Cancel reply

Please enable JavaScript to submit this form.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

better journal writing

Get our “How to Journal PDF” Gift when you sign up for our Museletter.

You will also receive a complimentary subscription of our IAJW Journal Juice Museletter. Your information will NEVER be shared. We respect your privacy.

better journal writing

Greater Good Science Center • Magazine • In Action • In Education

Mind & Body Articles & More

How journaling can help you in hard times, stressed and isolated try expressing your thoughts and feelings in writing..

On April 1, I had been quarantining in my downtown apartment for two weeks, and it was starting to become clear that this coronavirus thing wasn’t going away anytime soon.

As I often do in tough times, I turned to journaling. I decided I’d keep a record of my quarantine life through the month of April, a way to remember this crazy historical moment and process my feelings.

Now it’s August, and my daily journal continues. I’ve left my building about two dozen times since I started journaling, so its contents aren’t all that exciting—tidbits of everyday life, news about social distancing rules and reopening stages, moments of worry and loneliness and cabin fever and gratitude.

better journal writing

I know I’m not the only one with a pandemic journal. In fact, hundreds of people have written journal entries on the Pandemic Project website , a resource created by psychology researchers that offers writing prompts to help people explore their experiences and emotions around COVID-19.

At a time when the days blend into each other, journaling is helping people separate one from the next and clear out the distressing thoughts invading our heads (and our dreams ). Research also suggests it might be helping our health and immune systems, the very things many of us are worried about.

Although there are some pitfalls to journaling—ways of doing it that might backfire—it’s one of those rare and valuable mental health tools that doesn’t require you to leave your house or even see another human being.

The power of opening up

People had been keeping diaries long before scientists thought to put them under microscopes. But in the past 30 years, hundreds of studies have uncovered the benefits of putting pen to paper with your deepest thoughts and feelings.

According to that research, journaling may help ease our distress when we’re struggling. In a 2006 study , nearly 100 young adults were asked to spend 15 minutes journaling or drawing about a stressful event, or writing about their plans for the day, twice during one week. The people who journaled saw the biggest reduction in symptoms like depression, anxiety, and hostility, particularly if they were very distressed to begin with. This was true even though 80 percent had seldom journaled about their feelings and only 61 percent were comfortable doing so.

Why do we avoid journaling?

For one, it isn’t always pleasant; I know that I sometimes have to force myself to sit down and do it. Cathartic is probably a better word. In fact, some research suggests that we can feel more anxious , sad, or guilty right after we write.

But in the long term, we can expect to cultivate a greater sense of meaning as well as better health. Various studies have found that people who do a bout of journaling have fewer doctor visits in the following half year, and reduced symptoms of chronic disease like asthma and arthritis.

Can your diary keep you healthy?

Other research finds that writing specifically boosts our immune system, good news when the source of so much stress today is an infectious virus.

One older study even found that journaling could make vaccines more effective. In the experiment, some medical students wrote for four days in a row about their thoughts and feelings around some of the most traumatic experiences of their lives, from divorce to grief to abuse, while others simply wrote down their daily events and plans. Then, everyone received the hepatitis B vaccine and two booster shots.

According to blood tests, the group who journaled about upsetting experiences had higher antibodies right before the last dose and two months later. While the other group had a perfectly healthy response to the vaccine, the authors write, journaling could make an important difference for people who are immune-compromised or for vaccines that don’t stimulate the immune system as well. 

“Expression of emotions concerning stressful or traumatic events can produce measurable effects on human immune responses,” write the University of Auckland’s Keith J. Petrie and his colleagues.

Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus

Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus

Practices, resources, and articles for individuals, parents, and educators facing COVID-19

Journaling could also boost our immune system once we’ve been infected with a virus. In another study , researchers recruited undergraduate students who tested positive for the virus that causes mononucleosis, which persists in the body after infection and has the potential to flare up. Three times weekly for 20 minutes, some wrote about a stressful event—like a breakup or a death—while others wrote about their possessions.

Based on blood samples taken before and after, writing about stress increased people’s antibodies—an indication that the immune system has more control over the latent virus in the body—compared to more mundane writing. It also seemed to help them gain a deeper understanding of their stress and see more positives to it.

Why journaling works

What’s the secret to the humble diary? It turns out journaling works on two different levels, having to do with both our feelings and our thoughts.

First, it’s a way of disclosing emotions rather than stuffing them down, which is known to be harmful for our health. So many of us have secret pain or shame that we haven’t shared with others, swarming around our brains in images and emotions. Through writing, our pain gets translated into black-and-white words that exist outside of ourselves. 

“I’m able to organize thoughts and feelings on paper so they no longer take up room in my head,” says Allison Quatrini, an assistant professor at Eckerd College who has been journaling for years and started a COVID-19 journal in April. “If I get them out on the page and clear the mental decks, it sets up the rest of the day to not only be more productive but be more relaxed.”

On the thinking level, writing forces us to organize our experiences into a sequence, giving us a chance to examine cause and effect and form a coherent story. Through this process, we can also gain some distance from our experiences and begin to understand them in new ways, stumbling upon insights about ourselves and the world. While trauma can upset our beliefs about how life works, processing trauma through writing seems to give us a sense of control.

“Journaling is a tool to put our experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and desires into language, and in doing so it helps us understand and grow and make sense of them,” says Joshua Smyth, a distinguished professor of biobehavioral health and medicine at Penn State University, who coauthored the book Opening Up by Writing It Down with pioneering journaling researcher James Pennebaker.

How to start a journaling practice

While you can journal in many different ways, one of the most well-studied techniques is called Expressive Writing . To do this, you write continuously for 20 minutes about your deepest thoughts and emotions around an issue in your life. You can explore how it has affected you, or how it relates to your childhood or your parents, your relationships or your career.

Expressive Writing is traditionally done four days in a row, but there isn’t anything magical about this formula. Studies suggest you can journal a few days in a row, a couple times a week, or just once a week; you can write for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes; and you can keep journaling about the same topic or switch to different ones each time.

Expressive Writing

Expressive Writing

A simple, effective way to work through an emotional challenge

For example, the Pandemic Project offers several prompts to inspire your writing. You can write a basic entry about your general thoughts and feelings around COVID-19, or dig into more specific topics like the following:

“Many people often start writing about COVID-19 and then begin writing about other topics that are bothering them more than they thought,” notes the Pandemic Project website, which was created by Pennebaker and his research team. “This is what expressive writing is good for. Use it to try to understand those problems that are getting under your skin.”

In my journal, I’ve found myself exploring the issue of control . My constant instinct is to organize and plan out life, but that’s been impossible in the midst of a massive, unpredictable crisis. Journaling also let me ponder the lessons I want to take away from this experience around flexibility, acceptance, and letting go.

The do’s and don’ts of a diary

A 2002 study does suggest that journalers should beware of rehashing the same difficult feelings over and over in writing.

In the experiment, over 120 college students journaled about a stressful or traumatic event they were experiencing, like troubles at school, conflicts with their partner, or a death in the family. They were instructed to write for at least 10 minutes, twice a week, over the course of a month. Some students wrote about their deepest thoughts and feelings—including how they try to make sense of the stress and what they tell themselves to cope with it—while others wrote about their feelings only.

During the month, the group who wrote about feelings and thoughts experienced more growth from the trauma: better relationships with others and a greater sense of strength, appreciation for life, and new possibilities for the future. They seemed to be more aware of the silver linings of the experience, while the group who focused on emotions expressed more negative emotions over time and even got sick more often that month.

The point here is that the most effective journaling moves from emotions to thoughts over time. We start expressing our feelings, allowing ourselves to name them; after all, jumping to thoughts too quickly could mean we’re over-analyzing or avoiding. But eventually, we do start to make observations, notice patterns, or set goals for the future.

The Science of Happiness Course

Launching September 1, The Science of Happiness is a self-paced, online course featuring research and practices on empathy, mindfulness, self-compassion, and more. Learn science-based principles and practices for strong relationships and a meaningful life. Register here .

This has been the case for Allison Quatrini, who usually writes for a half hour in the morning about whatever’s going through her mind—from the losses she’s experiencing during the pandemic to her work or romantic relationship. It allows her to put into words how much her life has been disrupted, normalize the range of emotions she’s been feeling, and brainstorm ways forward.

“It helps me make sense of the way that I’m feeling right now,” she says. “Why do I feel not very motivated, why do I feel bored, why do I feel sad? It’s also useful in admitting to myself what is going on [and] why it’s been very challenging to deal with this.”

In addition to writing, you might also consider adding drawings to your journal. In a 2003 study , people either journaled, made drawings, or journaled and drew about a negative experience from the past that still upset them, like relationship troubles or loss. According to surveys before and after, the group who wrote and drew saw the biggest improvements in their mood after three weekly, 20-minute sessions. Drawing without writing actually made people’s moods worse, though. The researchers speculate it may have dredged up difficult feelings without offering a way to process them.

If writing is challenging, speaking your feelings aloud may work just as well. In that mono study, there was another group of students who recorded themselves talking about their stress. This group ended up showing the strongest immune responses to the dormant virus in their bodies. They also seemed to be doing the best psychologically, gaining insight and a positive perspective on their stress, improving in self-esteem, and engaging in healthier coping strategies. The researchers suspect that talking—even to a voice recorder—may feel similar to sharing our feelings with a loved one.

Freedom of expression

Sharing with a trusted confidant might seem even better than writing down feelings, as it serves a similar purpose and offers us warmth and validation that a piece of paper can’t provide. And that’s probably true, write Pennebaker and Smyth in Opening Up by Writing It Down .

One study , for example, found that people who talked to a therapist for four short daily sessions showed more positive emotion and less negative emotion. They gained understanding and perspective, and they made healthy behavior changes similar to people who journaled.

Therapy also seemed to be less unpleasant than writing. In fact, when Pennebaker originally envisioned journaling as a mental health exercise, he was inspired by the benefits of therapy—but mindful that not everyone has the means or the inclination to talk to a professional about their problems.

Of course, confessing to friends or partners isn’t without its complications. Sometimes our loved ones are overloaded by their own stresses, or they can’t offer the right kind of support—and may even make us feel worse. Other times, our secrets feel too vulnerable to speak out loud.

No matter what, if we’re talking to another human, our brains will be doing a constant calculation about what to say or not say, how they might react, and how we will be perceived, says Smyth. Confiding on paper can be a valuable alternative and a way to express ourselves with absolute freedom. Journaling lets us process secrets before we reveal them to others.

For Quatrini, who researches and teaches about China, the stress of the pandemic has an extra layer: With the disruption to U.S.-China relations and travel, she’s concerned about the future of her research. The immensity of that loss and uncertainty—and how it was affecting her day-to-day feelings and relationships—only became clear to her when she wrote about it.

“My entire life has been turned upside down and I don’t know if it will ever right itself,” she says. “Without the journal, I think I would not have figured that out.”

About the Author


Kira M. Newman

Kira M. Newman is the managing editor of Greater Good . Her work has been published in outlets including the Washington Post , Mindful magazine, Social Media Monthly , and, and she is the co-editor of The Gratitude Project . Follow her on Twitter!

You May Also Enjoy

How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times

This article — and everything on this site — is funded by readers like you.

Become a subscribing member today. Help us continue to bring “the science of a meaningful life” to you and to millions around the globe.

Happenchance header image

32 Tips for Better Journal Writing

Projector reel

Journal Writing is one of the best things you can do to improve your memory, clarify your thinking, increase your creativity, and just become a more all-around awesome person. Sometimes, though, keeping a journal can become as stale as the crackers in my cabinet. Here’s a list of tips for better journal writing. Some of my categories overlap, but you’ll get the general idea.

General Techniques for Better Journal Writing

1. Write e very day .

2. Aim for a set number of lines or pages everyday.

3. Fire your censors. Mute your internal editor. You’re writing for no one but yourself.

4. Use a trigger phrase to get started. For example, “Good morning,” “Here’s what happened,” etc.

5. Have conversations with famous (and infamous) people, living and dead.

6. Write in different conditions: awake, sleepy, tired, sick, drunk, drugged, etc.

7. Keep writing, even if you think you have nothing to say. Write “I have nothing to write.” You’ll come up with something.

8. Write an entry as if you were ten years older or younger.

9. Make lists of things you like, dislike, things that piss you off, make you want to murder, etc.

The Physical Journal

10. Use a paper journal and a good pen. If you’re really fastidious, aim for good handwriting , but don’t worry about it looking pretty.

11. Tape or glue in scrap papers, ticket stubs, and traffic citations.

12. Record your progress towards completing projects or mastering skills. Maybe a daily status bar or percentage?

13. Note the date, at least. You can also add the time, weather, stock index, number of celebrity arrests, etc.

15. Draw pictures in the margins. Add illustrations, diagrams, manuals, maps, pie charts.

Planning the Future

16. Plan future events, real and imaginary.

17. Elaborate on your goals. If you don’t have any, make some easy ones to get started.

18. Imagine wild success for any project, current or future.

19. Take a different look at a sticky problem. Imagine how someone from a different epoch or culture would approach the problem.

Recording the Past

20. Keep track of books you read, movies you watch, albums you listen to, performances you experience.

21. Recall conversations and details you notice about people.

22. Dig into your past, especially the mundane stuff; this is a great mental workout.

23. Forget your past by committing it to paper.

24. Reread old entries and laugh at yourself.

Understanding People and Place

25. Describe people as you see them and as you think they see themselves.

26. Describe the world around you. Imagine your eyes are microscopes…or satellites.

27. Write in a quiet place. Write in a loud place. Describe these places. Compare the difference.

28. Write in the woods or in nature. Call me a hippie, but writing in an orchard is always fruitful.

Engaging the Outer World

29. If you follow the news, write about your reaction to the big stories of the day.

30. History buffs can add a ‘this day in history’ paragraph. Some sites offer RSS subscriptions for these things.

31. Seek out and record good quotes.

32. Write reviews of  books, movies,  albums, and performances. If nothing else, you’ll have plenty of fodder for cocktail parties.

Further Resources:

For some great prompts, check out Writing Forward’s Journal Prompts

Journal and expressive writing improves your health. Check out this study .

An Ode to Writing By Hand (Plus Tips for Improving your Handwriting): In Defense of Handwriting.

How to Start Keeping a Daily Journal: Master Your Mental Monkey

Over to You: Do you keep a journal? Do you have any tips to share?

photo credit: Lidal-K

Comments on this entry are closed.

' src=

“…writing in an orchard is always fruitful.” Hilarious! Have you heard that time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana?

Next post: Week 48 & 49 Roundup

Previous post: A Day in the Life of a Korean Student

Popular Posts

Recent Posts


Writing 101

– 14 min read

How to write better: a quick-start guide for anyone and everyone

Anne Ichikawa

Anne Ichikawa

better journal writing

Just about everyone knows how to write — but writing well is something different. Great writers are formed through hard work and a passion for learning. But just like you, they all started from the beginning.

Problem is, a lot of “start writing well’ articles focus on the result. But good writing begins before you tippity-tap on that keyboard. Studying everyday practices, learning how to organize your thoughts, and then turning those ideas into effective writing should be your priority.

Whether you’re a blogger , an SEO writer, a marketer, or want to be the next Stephen King, these universal writing tips give you lots of ways to write better.

15 writing tips to help you write better

1. think before you start writing.

One of the best writing tips for beginners is organizing your thoughts in a logical, explainable manner before putting pen on paper. The biggest hurdle is often not knowing how to begin or what to say—everything is a jumble of ideas that probably look like a bunch of paint thrown against a wall (and not in an artistic way). It can be very frustrating.

Note: THIS IS NORMAL. Don’t get discouraged. There’s a reason the phrase “writer’s block” exists. Let yourself think about it for a day or two, especially if you’re doing creative writing. You’ll be surprised at how that paint blob slowly transforms into a recognizable shape.

2. Embrace the writing “brain dump”

In business writing , the “brain dump” signals the beginning of every new project or assignment. It’s the opportunity to get whatever is in your head out on digital paper in a stream of consciousness.

Avoid correcting misspellings, typos, sentence structure, or grammar—just type, type, type until your brain excavates all musings. You can use this creative writing skill for all kinds of work, from personal blogging and copywriting to essays and work emails.

Remember that at this phase of writing: bad ideas don’t exist. Your best creative ideas will come when you’re not held back by perfectionism.

3. Make an outline

Now that you have all your wonderful, messy thoughts on paper, it’s time to get more granular and organized. Some tips on how to edit your brain dump: do a first pass and delete the parts that are definite “nos.” Then go through again and highlight the ideas you like best. Revisit the “maybes” later.

Now, take your favorites and as briefly or as detailed as you like, make an outline that conveys your message. Start top-level with your biggest, overarching ideas, and then get into the details. Fill in missing parts, elaborate on other parts—rinse and repeat until satisfied.

4. Know your audience

This is a straightforward writing tip for beginners, but a lot of people forget it. For example, your voice and elements of style for personal blogging will be much more informal than business writing (i.e writing a proposal for a new client). Being mindful of your audience is key to improving writing skills and creating more impactful work.

5. Keep a journal

Being a better writer means writing more! Keeping a journal should be a very low-pressure thing. It can be as simple as writing a list of things you did that day, playing around with word choice for a LinkedIn headline, or recounting a conversation you had with a friend.

If you don’t want to keep a physical journal, you can start a note on your phone or a document on your computer. The point is—there are no journaling rules. Just start writing whenever you feel like it, because the more you do it, the more naturally it will come to you.

6. Pen a letter instead of texting

Great writers write letters for fun and for practice. Pen a letter (or an email) to a friend who lives in another city. A hundred years ago, people wrote long letters detailing everything from the mundane to faraway travel. Why not now? It’s the perfect way to get your creative writing juices flowing, rather than relying on boring texts.

Remember to check spelling, comma use, sentence structure, typos, etc. Your friends deserve good writing too. Spell-check is a nice starting point, but writing well happens when you use a reputable grammar or punctuation checker tool like  Writer  to support you.

7. Read more to do better writing

One of the best, passive ways of becoming a better writer is to read a book (Stephen King’s work makes for great binge reading). Not into books? Long-form business writing, graphic novels, or short stories do the trick as well.

Reading every day puts you in the fast lane for improving your writing skills. As  Roz Morris , the author of the bestseller book,  Nail Your Novel , puts it: “Reading exposes us to writing that’s better than our own and helps us to improve. Reading—the good and the bad—inspires you.”

By reading more, your brain will naturally pick up on things like good word choice, different writing styles, and good sentence structures. It also improves your reading comprehension and concentration levels (which comes in handy for the procrastinators among us, including me).

8. Keep your writing simple

As the legendary American novelist, Jack Kerouac, once said, “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

One big misconception about writing is that it should be full of beautiful prose and impressive words. Wrong! Sure, I can use the word 'floccinaucinihilipilification,' but most people will just think my cat walked across my keyboard. Click To Tweet

No matter who they are, you should empower readers with your words. Complex writing can leave readers feeling insecure, weary, or both. To simplify your writing:

Go ahead and make use of a thesaurus, but don’t try to be a Shakespeare or even an Ernest Hemingway—just keep it simple and true to yourself.

9. Tone up your tone in writing

Getting tone right is key to being a good writer. It’s the personality of your writing, influenced by the type of writing you’re doing and who you’re talking to.

Just like we said in “Know Your Audience,” business writing like an email might sound conservative, while a personal social media post can be friendly and casual. Your tone can and should change depending on your needs. An extreme example: don’t start a cover letter with: “Hey, dude! Wassup?”

10. Prioritize your key points

If you want to learn how to write good, sentence structure and word placement is everything. If you have a question to ask, don’t put it in the middle of a paragraph, because it could get skipped over. Similarly, if you have an important piece of information to share, make it into its own paragraph or strategically place it in the introduction or conclusion—the sections readers tend to pay attention to the most.

11. Break up your writing into bite-size bits

Long sentences that are full of fluff are boring to read! Like staring directly at the sun—you just have to look away. Instead of creating a heavy block of text, break down large sections of information into concise, punchy sentences. Bullet points in particular are an amazing tool. They help you:

(See? They come in handy) AI writing software  like Writer can help you be a better writer by identifying paragraphs that are hard to read.

12. Use active voice

Once you’re comfortable with sentence structure, punctuation and comma use, and word choice, it’s time to look at elements of style. One core element is passive voice vs. active voice.

An active voice is key for effective writing. It makes for a much more engaging read, conveying a strong and clear tone. Whereas passive voice pulls you away from the action, which can create an apathetic experience.

Here’s an example:

See how in the first sentence, the subject performs the action? This eliminates extra processing time by getting to the point faster, unlike the passive voice example which puts the subject at the end of the sentence.

13. Edit (then edit again)

Now that you’ve overcome writer’s block and have the first draft, it’s time to move on to the editing process. Chances are, you’re not a professional editor, but that doesn’t matter—you can do a great job on your own. First, don’t edit immediately after writing. You want fresh eyes on that baby. Revisit it the next day and it will be easier to look for:

At this phase, don’t worry about grammatical errors. Right now, you’re editing for clarity of your ideas and thoughts.

14. Proof your writing

Proofreading  is where you check spelling, punctuation (i.e. comma use), run-on sentences, typos … you get the picture. Spell-check is a good starting point, a reputable grammar checker tool like Writer gives you advanced support.

Whenever possible, ask a real human to read your writing. They’ll likely be able to point out any writing mistakes  and even offer suggestions. Over time, the lessons you learn from using these tools will help you become a great writer.

15. Reflect on your main point

We’ve made it to the very end. You’ve taken your idea and found many words to make into numerous sentences that communicate your intended message… or did you?

The last step is to always take an objective look at your writing. Pretend you’re a total stranger. Now ask yourself—does the narration make logical sense? Can you read it once and understand its message? Even better, can you sum it up in a few sentences? If so, you’ve written something you can feel good about.

8 exercises to improve writing skills

Here are fun activities you can do every day to become a better writer.

1. Write every day

This is the best writing tip for beginners. Write like it’s your job. Practicing every day is key to learning how to write good. It helps you stretch those writing muscles and learn from doing. Keeping a journal with you at all times also means you can write whenever inspiration strikes, like when you’re walking your fave four-legged friend.

Write every day, and you’ll turn it into a habit. That doesn’t mean you have to write ten thousand words every day, as the author of the children’s novel,  See You in the Cosmos , Jack Cheng says:

“When mastery is the goal, spending an exorbitant number of hours in one sitting will likely lead to burnout. We don’t go to the gym expecting to put on 20 pounds of muscle in a single, day-long workout. Instead, we do several short workouts a week, spread out over months.”

2. Turn long paragraphs into bullet points

Want to learn how to write better sentences? Sentences that are easy to read and get to the point right away? Practice the art of brevity by chopping up hard-to-read paragraphs into succinct bullets.

This is especially useful for business writing because your readers are likely short on time. They want you to get to the point fast! And they want easy to digest information.

There is a place for long sentences in your work though, especially when it comes to creative writing. Writology has a great guide on this full of ace writing tips for beginners.

3. Change passive voice into active voice

A little recap on passive and active voice: Active voice is when the sentence starts with the subject acting on the verb. Passive voice is when the subject is a recipient of the verb’s action. Active voice is more engaging because it takes less processing time from the reader, and also gives the impression that the action is happening now, not in the past.

Use an AI writing platform like Writer  to spot unengaging instances of passive voice and transform them into the active voice. This will help you draw readers in and make your writing easier to read.

4. Use grammar checker tools like Writer

Use a grammar checker like Writer helps you spot mistakes you may have missed. Mistakes such as misused commas, spelling errors, typos, incorrect use of words (we’re looking at you, thesaurus lovers), etc. Writer is also ideal for business writing. You can submit your company styleguide and the app will measure your written work against it to ensure consistent and on-brand content.

5. Proof your friend’s or colleague’s writing

One effective way to improve writing skills:  Proofreading  other people’s content. You can pick up on  common grammar mistakes , different sentence structures, new words, word placement – everything that you might not learn from your own writing. It’s about getting a fresh perspective on all the different ways language is used.

Bonus: you get all the good feelings for helping someone out. And they might even return the favor one day!

6. Write fanfiction

Improve your creative writing skills by writing about stories and characters you love. Why? The more passionate you are about what you’re writing, the more fun and engaging it will be to read. Because you’ll naturally inject your love of the subject into your work. Plus, you can ensure your favorite novels or short stories live on through that amazing imagination of yours! It’s also a great place to start if your idea bank is running on empty, giving you the inspiration and direction needed to write freely.

7. Read out loud

Sometimes you can’t tell if a word or phrase doesn’t work until you read it out loud. Same with spotting mistakes. This is especially true if you’ve read your work over a hundred times (hello fellow perfectionists). Your brain will find it more and more difficult to spot mistakes – reading out loud can fix this!

When you read out loud, it requires you to slow down and focus on every single word that you’re saying, so that it can make its way from your brain to your mouth. When we proofread inwardly, we tend to rush through things and don’t actually read the text properly.

That’s because our brain already has a version of the content embedded and it wants to concentrate on the meaning rather than the words. As psychologist Tom Stafford, who studies typos at the University of Sheffield in the UK, says : “We don’t catch every detail, we’re not like computers or NSA databases Rather, we take in sensory information and combine it with what we expect, and we extract meaning.”

8. Read books on how to write better

These books on how to write better are simple, easy to read, and full of valuable info.

That’s your next vacation reading list sorted!

Now you can write better

It’s time to unleash your amazing writing skills and creativity! Got a friend who also wants to learn how to write well? Share the tips you’ve learned today. By teaching them, you’ll embed them further into your wonderful brain.

Write with clarity and confidence when using Writer.  Sign up for your free trial .

--> “A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad.” -->

May Habib CEO,

Here’s what else you should know about Ascending.

More resources

better journal writing

– 6 min read

How to use commas: rules and examples

Jessica Malnik

Jessica Malnik

better journal writing

– 10 min read

Irony: definition, types, and examples

Holly Stanley

Holly Stanley

better journal writing

– 4 min read

The problem with Guns N’ Roses

Jamie Wallace

Jamie Wallace

Industry insights for the professional writer. Delivered to your inbox.

" (Required) " indicates required fields

better journal writing

Journal Writing: Purpose, Types, Importance & Benefits

Journal writing, also called journaling, in simple words is an informal way of writing or a method of penning down emotions, experiences, thoughts, events, etc. it can be a written or a typed medium of records where the person pens down the thoughts, observations, experiences, etc.  this can be written on a daily or periodic basis, or when there is an urge to write. it can be a record of anything and everything..

A guide to Journal writing

Professional writing of any form has certain norms, rules, and specifications such as a particular number of pages, a clear topic or a specific theme, a conclusion, and many other dos and don’ts and restrictions.  Whereas, journaling is a different ball game altogether, especially the unofficial informal personal journals.

You, the writer/the author have a free hand and are devoid of any restrictions. You are totally in charge of the journal and it is for your keep, you can share it in parts or share the whole thing or not share it at all. It is your own space, where you have complete freedom to be just yourself, express yourself the way you want to or the way you deem correct.

Having said that, journaling is not always informal. When it comes to academic research journals, there certainly are a set of protocols that needs to be followed. Here a properly well-researched, informative formal style of writing a journal is extremely important. If the content is written improperly or unprofessionally, there is the possibility of the academic journal getting rejected.

As we know by now that journaling is a record of penning down a person’s personal experiences and thoughts, which requires to be consistency and periodic. This skill requires consistency, practice, honesty, and above all commitment. Writing journals makes for creative, skillful, and successful people.

Journaling is the pattern of recording personal reflections, insights, and queries on certain specific assigned topics or personal thoughts/experiences/muses.  The journal entries are also a type of reflective writing. As journaling provides the freedom and liberty to examine various ideas and different forms of writing strategies, it can also be termed a type of exploratory writing as well.

Journaling Content

Journaling or journal writing does not require any technical or tough topics.  The journal prompts are vast and simple. It can be about your routine, your exercises, your culinary journey, diet tips, thoughts in your mind, places of interest or traveled, or people around you, it can be almost just about anything and everything. 

Most importantly there is a need for a flair for writing which can keep the readers hooked up to the journals.  All these simple days today aspects can make for interesting journal prompts.  These contents are just the perfect prompts for great journal writing.

Content Writing E-Book

Purpose of journal writing.

Journaling has many forms and serves varied purposes. Some of these can be creative, informative, or personal. Journaling helps in recording and maintaining thoughts, practicing the craft of writing, etc. Journaling is an informal writing process where the thoughts and experiences are penned down, which can be used either to identify, correct, and aim for either our mistakes and flaws or set future goals. 

Keeping an everyday account of day-to-day routine through journaling betters us as a person as it helps us identify our previous mistakes or the wrong decisions taken and helps improve our writing skills as well.

1. Improves Writing

Practice makes a man perfect is true. Hence, the more you practice writing, the better you get at writing.  It helps improve the overall writing skills including better vocabulary and more knowledge of the relevant topics written.  It encourages developing new techniques, styles, patterns, and content while increasing the range of the writer. It enhances creativity.

2. Sharpens Mind

When we pen down our experiences, we also tend to become more ardent observers. When we want to write about any particular topic, we pay more close attention to all the minute details of that topic. A regular habit of journaling knowingly or unknowingly ensures that we notice even the tiniest minuscule details of everyday life. This close observation of the world around us with great interest and inquisitiveness results in a heightening of senses.

3. Passion/Love For Writing

The most important reason for being a journal writer is the sheer love of journaling. It can provide a sense of pleasure, and comfort.  It also may have a therapeutic effect on the journal writer when all the emotions and experiences are penned down.  Reading our old journals helps revive our memories from the past.

Read Here How to Start Content Writing

Important Suggestions for New Journal Writers

1. Privacy Protection

Store the journal in a protected private setting where there is less access for unwanted privacy issues.  Ensure that the journal is protected and needs permission for access.  Find ways to protect privacy like a new mail ID or account, strong new password, etc.  Attach high priority to privacy and make sure it is an intentional act.

2. Total Focus And Meditation.

A few minutes of calm, composed, meditated technique benefits every journal writer. It helps retain focus.

3. Mark The Date Of Every Entry.

A very important and right habit that can be established for journaling can be this one of marking the dates for every entry.  Proper date markings ensure chronological access to the journals date-wise.

4. Keep Writing

Make sure to keep writing. Do not pause or take a long hiatus.  Do not stop the flow. Be consistent.  Ensure to keep writing.

5. Be Truthful

Some truths are harsher than others.  Do not be harsh on yourself, but do not lie to yourself either.  Encourage yourselves to be truthful.  Pace yourself, if harsh and bright, then slow it down.

6. Write Naturally

Be natural, be original, and be your true self. Do not mimic others blindly. As we know that the best part of journaling is that there are no rules. Go with what works for you and stick to what you are comfortable with.

Here are the Essential Tips for Blogging

Main Types Of Journal

Journaling, as we know, is an art of writing and recording our day-to-day events and thoughts, but apart from that, there are many other types of journals as well. Though, only a few are commonly used  Let us get acquainted with the different types of journals.

The practice of writing consistently has many benefits, especially with journal writing as it does not impose restrictions on the writing style or the pattern. It allows you to express yourself most informally and simply. We have made a list of some of the major benefits.

Journal Prompts

Apart from the many benefits of journaling, it is also a great way of organizing ideas and thoughts by maintaining a daily journal. Nonetheless, it is not very easy to figure out good topics/content for journaling. Have you at any point struggled or were unsure about the topic to write in the journal? 

Worry not, we are here to assist you with some brilliant ideas and prompts which are quite interesting.  These prompts enhance your knowledge, sparks creativity, and provide you with loads of content to help you in your journey of daily journaling.

Many times the mind goes blank, and you feel clueless about what to write.  Here are some of the journaling prompts/ideas which can be used to write journals daily.  Having a list that is innovative and knowledgeable helps in writing as well as gaining knowledge.

1. Self Care Tips

Self-care tips is a prompt where you get lots of content to write in a daily journal.  By choosing this topic you can grow and increase the content by having sections and subsections related to this topic.  You can give some tried and tested, valuable, easy to do, DIY, sustainable self-care tips.

2. To Be Achieved Life Milestones

There are some small-time and big-time goals.  The small-time goals could be tidying the closet, completing homework, finishing a task, etc., while big goals such as owning a house, buying a car, getting married, and bagging a job from a prestigious reputed company. These can be called milestones.

We can journal on these life milestones as it keeps reminding us what our milestone is and whether we need to achieve them or stick to the achievement.  For the big milestones, we need to focus, on all the above listed are major goals and there are many more such goals in each of our lives that holds a lot of significance to us.  Any such life milestone goals can be chosen and written in detail.

Also, check out the best Content Writing Courses in India

3. Write About People Who Inspire You

We come across so many inspiring people in our day-to-day lives. It need not necessarily be a celebrity.  It could be your parents, a friend, a teacher, or anybody else who has been a strong inspiration to you.  You can write about those inspiring personalities and how you are inspired by them.

We meet so many people daily on a personal level or witness inspiring people through the media.  The journal could be about anyone whom you admire, look up to, want to be like them, or even reflect on the reasons you are inspired by them.

4. Family History Journal

Can be there something more interesting than writing a journal on the family lineage? It could be a perfect pass-on gift cum guide for future generations. It is one of the most perfect prompts for journaling.  It helps generations aware of their previous generations. It could be some special personal moments or significant events from the past that can be recorded through journaling.  You can try and collect the details from your previous generations.

5. Political Journal

One more interesting and vast topic for journaling. You can write a political journal about the current political occurrences, old bygone eras political events which can be either local political journals or even national and international political occasions. It can be about well-reputed senior politicians.

6. Beauty Tips

You can write journals about beauty products, DIY packs, hair care oils, and products, homemade ubtans, herbal beauty products, natural beauty products, simple home intake products, local application, henna hair coloring, and Mehendi for hands and legs, essential oils usage, and many more.  Like other categories, this also is a vast continent and has many options such as sticking to only skincare or only hair care, or overall beauty tips.

Also Check: Creative Writing Tips

7. Culinary Skills

There is a whole lot of content available for journaling on this topic. The content is unexplainably huge. It could be Indian, Continental, Mughlai, etc.  Then again there are south Indian recipes, North Indian recipes, recipes of sweets, namkeens, starters, main course, rice, sharbat, chutneys, ice creams, cakes, curries, rice varieties, roti varieties, and many more.

8. Importance of Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation can be the main topic or can be a sub-topic for health care tips or self-care tips.  A lot of informative healthy asanas, mudras, and breathing techniques, meditation techniques, the power of yoga and meditation can all be penned down under this content of journaling.

There is a whole lot of other journal prompts available which have huge content and are easy to the journal. Like step by step how to do, what to do, self-defense techniques, parenting, daily routine journals, diet tips, gardening tips, house cleaning, old traditions, photography, and so on.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. what is the main purpose of journal writing.

The purpose could be just a flare or interest in writing or keeping a record of all the daily activities.  It is a great form of stress reliever.

2. Name the elements of journaling.

These are the most basic and general guideline structures for academic journaling.

3. Is journaling for everyone?

Journaling is for everyone. There are no restrictions or prerequisites for journaling, anybody and everybody can maintain a journaling habit.  It has many benefits which include therapeutic benefits as well.

4. Is journaling difficult?

Nothing comes easy, but it has to be mentioned that journaling due to its lack of restrictions and rules is far more comfortable and easier to write.

5. Should we journal every day?

Yes, everyday journaling is a good writing practice and it is one of the best methods for consistent and great personal growth and good emotional clarity.  It is never late to start by practicing good habits.  If you have not been consistent at journaling before, then you can start to be consistent now.

Keeping a journal is the most valuable gift to ourselves which helps in practicing the art and craft of writing and helps develop and improve our writing skills. Journaling taken seriously with total commitment and dedication does help in more ways than one  Maintaining a journal helps to develop reading skills, writing skills, and analytical and critical skills which is essential. Journal writing has a huge platform and can be written for self-happiness and self-growth or as a profession either way it has many benefits. Get started, be innovative, be natural, develop a flair for writing, pick great topics, and go ahead with journaling. Be creative and innovative with your journals.  Happy journaling.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Need Help? Chat Via WhatsApp

You May Also Like To Read

How to become a ghostwriter- a step-by-step guide, average digital marketing course fees in india in 2023, gst certification course by taxguru (a complete guide), top 12 investment banking services in indore, 6 steps to become a successful blog writer in 2023, what is sensitivity analysis in finance process, uses, and more, a comprehensive guide to white paper writing, top 10 gst certification courses for graduates in india, power words that accelerate your sales, share your contact details.

Download Course Brochure (.pdf)

Request for online demo, download mock test, request to speak with mba advisor, take first online coaching, download course brochure, download course brochure (.pdf) & also speak with our expert advisors.

better journal writing

Talk To Our Agent

Request for a callback.

Writing Forward

by Melissa Donovan | Mar 2, 2023 | Better Writing | 12 comments

reading journal

Every writer will benefit from keeping a reading journal.

I’ve kept a journal on and off since I was a kid. My journals are full of poetry, drawings, story ideas, and random thoughts. I’ve always wanted to keep a reading journal, but I usually inhale books, leaving little time between chapters to jot down my thoughts. I like to read at night, and by the time I’m done, I’m often tired and ready for sleep, which means I’m too exhausted to write in a reading journal.

But lately I’ve been trying to capture my reading experiences by taking notes about what I’ve read, and it’s been incredibly helpful.

The Benefits of a Reading Journal

Keeping a reading journal:

A reading journal also forces you to pause and contemplate what you’ve read, which is a good critical thinking exercise for writers. By putting your observations and reactions into writing, you’re also forced to clarify your thoughts and feelings about it.

This allows you to analyze written works in a way that can inform and improve your own writing. For example, if you struggle to craft vivid characters, you might conduct character analyses in your reading journal to study the strengths and weaknesses of characterization in various stories, which you can then apply to your own work. If you write poetry, you might note interesting ways to create images with words when you journal about the poetry you’ve read.

What to Include in Your Reading Journal

Here are some details you might want to include in your reading journal:

Publication Information

Be sure to include the title and author as well as the publisher. As an aspiring author, you should start familiarizing yourself with publishing houses. Note the year of publication, which might be relevant for understanding the book’s context.

Reading Time

Track the dates you started and finished the book and note the page count. This information can be useful if you ever want to assess how fast (or slowly) you read. It can also help with future goal-setting: if you know how much you normally read, you can set goals to push yourself to read a little more each year.

Write a short summary or description of the book, including the genre. You don’t need to get into a lot of detail — just enough to jog your memory of what the book was about if you need it for reference later. This is also good practice if you ever intend to write a book of your own, as you will almost certainly need to summarize it at some point.

Elements of Form

Every form of writing has its core elements. In fiction, it’s character, plot, setting, and theme. In poetry, it’s language, imagery, structure, and flow. Write at least a sentence or two about each of these elements.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Write about the book’s greatest strengths and weaknesses. Try to keep your personal opinion out of it and focus instead on being objective. Was the narrative beautifully crafted, but the substance lacking? Was the language rich but the flow disjointed? Examining strengths and weaknesses is one of the best ways to study and analyze written works.

Personal Taste

There might be some aspects of the work that appealed to your personal taste in literature—and there might be some aspects that weren’t objectively bad but didn’t appeal to you. It’s useful to learn how to differentiate between objective strengths and weaknesses versus your personal preferences.

General Notes

If the book gave you any ideas that you might want to use in your own work, jot them down. Make notes about anything else that you feel is relevant or useful, even if it’s just your general response to what you’ve read, such as what it made you think about or how it made you feel.

Keeping a Reading Journal

I’m a one-journal person. Like I said, my journal is filled with all kinds of writings. But you might prefer to pick up a special notebook to use solely as a reading journal. You could also use a Word document, launch a book blog, or start a Scrivener project to record your thoughts about what you’ve read.

You could set a goal to write in your reading journal every time you finish a book, or you might choose to only journal about certain works. For example, I tend to take a lot of notes when I read books on the craft of writing, and I like journaling about sci-fi and fantasy novels, because that’s what I write.

You can keep notes about all your reading, not just books. Jot down your thoughts after reading a magazine article, news story, or blog post. All of these are sources of inspiration.

Have you ever kept a reading journal? Is there another type of journal that you prefer? Share your experiences by leaving a comment.

10 Core Practices for Better Writing



I have to admit that I almost never jot down thoughts about what I’m reading as I’m reading it–I consider it fortunate that I manage to jot down the title and author for future reference. I do add a short description of each book on my monthly reading list (posted on my knitting blog every month), but that’s about it. Because, as you say, it’s all about moving on to the next book, right?

Melissa Donovan

@Deb: One of the reasons I want to start taking better notes is because I’d like to try writing reviews — books, music, films, and more. Also, sometimes I forget where I read or heard something, probably because I take in too much information every day. I’m always saying, “I read somewhere…” I think writing my thoughts and reactions down will help with that. And I know it will inspire me!

Amy Derby

Love your blog, Melissa.

I used to keep an informal reading journal, but somehow I got out of the practice. I don’t read nearly the amount of novels I used to when I had a train commute, so maybe that’s why. Reading on a train is distracting.

@Amy: I used to keep reading journals back in school. Some English teachers would require journaling our readings, all the way back to grammar school’s book reports. Of course, I used to plow through the reading and then stay up all night journaling like mad before the journal entries were due. I’m a rebel like that.

Ha! I made one from Cliff’s Notes once when I didn’t read the book.

@Amy: LOL! I once wrote a book report before I ever read the book. I was just a kid. And I know someone who read The Indian in the Cupboard once and wrote book reports on it for like five years in a row. That’s leverage!


This is why I love my Kindle so much. I can highlight passages and I can write notes and then I can sync all my highlights and notes into Evernote ready for later reflection. I do still find myself getting caught up in a moment and don’t remember to take a note but something is better than nothing.

I love the idea of syncing Kindle notes into Evernote. I didn’t even know that was possible. Thanks for sharing this tip, Tracey!

Jean Cogdell

What an interesting idea. I’ve never thought about keeping a reading journal. I used to use Kindle notes and highlights but got out of the practice. Thanks for a good thought-provoking post.

You’re welcome, Jean. I’m glad you found this useful.


I’ve been wanting to start a separate book for a reading journal, apart from my main journal. More than for keeping a record of when I read it and when it was published and all. Coz I use Goodreads for that. I want it to be more of a commonplace book of only books I read, if that makes sense. I want to include my immediate thoughts, and then what I felt later, quotes or lines I like from the book, ideas that I found interesting and to ponder, etc. I don’t know how feasible this is or how successful I’ll be. But I want to try. And your article helped push me in the right direction for inspiration 😉

You should definitely give it a try, Tara. If it doesn’t work, you can always return to your main journal and put your reading entries there. I’ve done both methods over the years — using separate journals for different types of journaling and using a single journal for everything.

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

writers creed

Subscribe and get The Writer’s Creed graphic e-booklet, plus a weekly digest with the latest articles on writing, as well as special offers and exclusive content.

better writing

Recent Posts

Write on, shine on!

Pin It on Pinterest


Positive Thinking

5 powerful ways journal writing changes your life.

' src=

You feel like your life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

What you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Why? Those hidden lessons are the most up-to-date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

This simple practice improve mental clarity, offer the ability to see the big picture of our lives, and serve as a catalogue of every success we’ve ever had.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool [1] to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here are 5 smart reasons why you should start a journal today.

1. Journals Help You Connect to Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do. You know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself and get to the root of the problem.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter .

How does it work? Whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; for e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself.

This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered through self-reflection , but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing [2] . These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you got there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “That was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible  not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

The Bottom Line

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

More Tips on Journal Writing

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via

working remotely

How to Work Remotely (Your Complete Guide)

graham allcott

How to Become a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott

time mastery framework

How to Make Time Work For You — The Time Mastery Framework

how does procrastination affect productivity

The Impact of Procrastination on Productivity

emotions productivity

The Forgotten Emotional Aspects of Productivity

chris bailey lifehack show

How to Calm Your Mind For Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey

misconception of time

8 Misconceptions of Time That Make You Less Productive

time worthy

Are You Spending Your Time on What Is Time-Worthy?


Distractions: Understanding the Biggest Productivity Killer

work stress

How to Deal With Work Stress in a Healthy Way

time leverage

How to Leverage Time to Make More Time

nighttime anxiety

How Sleep Meditation Can Calm Your Nighttime Anxiety

non toy gifts for kids

30 Meaningful Non-Toy Gifts for Kids This Christmas

power of leverage

The Power of Leverage in Leading the Life You Want

6 practical ways to boost your mental fitness.


Lifehack Show , Productivity


Focus , Lifehack Show

Explore the Full Life Framework

better journal writing

How to Live a Full Life (Without Compromising on What Truly Matters)

better journal writing

Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2022

better journal writing

What Is Motivation And How To Get Motivated (Your Ultimate Guide)

better journal writing

How to Increase Mental Focus and Stay Sharp

better journal writing

How To Learn Faster And Smarter

better journal writing

How To Get Fit If You Have a Busy Schedule

better journal writing

How To Boost Energy And Peak Performance

We're sorry, this computer has been flagged for suspicious activity.

If you are a member, we ask that you confirm your identity by entering in your email.

You will then be sent a link via email to verify your account.

If you are not a member or are having any other problems, please contact customer support.

Thank you for your cooperation

5 Benefits of Journaling for Mental Health

83 Benefits of Journaling for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Management (PDF)

In fact, studies show that time spent journaling about our deepest thoughts and feelings can even reduce the number of sick days we take off work (Sohal, Singh, Dhillon & Gill, 2022).

Research suggests that journaling can help us accept rather than judge our mental experiences, resulting in fewer negative emotions in response to stressors (Ford, Lam, John, & Mauss, 2018; Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005).

This article explores the numerous benefits of journaling and introduces guidance and techniques to support clients as they attempt to express how they feel and think.

Before you start reading, we thought you might like to download our three Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF) for free . These science-based exercises will equip you and those you work with, with tools to manage stress better and find a healthier balance in your life.

This Article Contains:

Why is journaling good for you, 5 surprising benefits of journaling, how to journal for optimal mental health, getting started – journaling prompts, resources from, a take-home message.

Journaling is a widely used non-pharmacological tool for coaching and counseling and the treatment of mental illness. Two forms of journaling are particularly commonplace in psychotherapy (Sohal et al., 2022):

Keeping a record of personal thoughts and feelings is particularly helpful in supporting mental health by (, 2021):

The positive effects of journaling can even be felt when not performed daily – helping the individual better understand their needs and boosting their wellbeing (Tartakovsky, 2022).

Research on Journaling

Studies show that by capturing our thoughts and feelings on paper, “participants often reveal a considerable range and depth of emotional trauma” (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005, p. 339).

Indeed, while the experience of writing can be upsetting, clients report they find it valuable and meaningful and, ultimately, a valuable part of the acceptance process.

In fact, based on client self-reports, research suggests a wide range of physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits from expressive writing (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005):

Not only that, but research into gratitude journaling suggests that “study participants who regularly drew their attention to aspects of their lives that made them feel blessed increased their positivity” (Fredrickson, 2010, p. 187). However, a caveat exists. Recording what makes us feel grateful every day can become monotonous, even zapping positivity. A few days a week may be sufficient.

The Psychology Behind Journaling

“Research has consistently linked the habitual tendency to accept one’s mental experiences with greater psychological health” (Ford et al., 2018, p. 2). Study findings suggest that accepting our feelings is linked to better psychological health and positive therapeutic outcomes, including improved moods and reduced anxiety.

And this is where journaling can help. It can promote acceptance–and mindful acceptance in particular–which is a valuable and effective way of getting unstuck, freeing ourselves to move forward (Forsyth & Eifert, 2016).

While the exact mechanisms involved in journaling that confer physical and mental health benefits are not clear, the following psychological processes may be involved, to a greater or lesser degree (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005):

For each suggestion, there is supporting and contradictory evidence. The benefits of journaling seem apparent, yet the mechanisms beneath are yet to be fully understood (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005; Tartakovsky, 2022).

Journaling benefits

Easy to implement and get started, it can benefit clients experiencing different mental health issues (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005; Ford et al., 2018):

Journaling for Anxiety

Journaling has proven popular and effective for treating clients experiencing anxiety, possibly because of an improved acceptance of negative emotions and a more helpful emotional response to stress (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005; Ford et al., 2018).

One meta-review of research studies suggests that journaling may be a more effective treatment for anxiety in women than men (yet both groups have a positive effect) and that doing so for longer than 30 days may maximize mental wellbeing benefits (Sohal et al., 2022).

Journaling for Depression

Research suggests that expressive writing and gratitude journaling can reduce symptoms of depression, providing an effective intervention for clients receiving treatment in therapy.

As with anxiety, such interventions also appeared more effective when lasting longer than 30 days. While benefits may not be as great as for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), journaling still appears to be a valuable intervention (Sohal et al., 2022).

Journaling for Stress Management

Journaling can support coping and reduce the impact of stressful events – potentially avoiding burnout and chronic anxiety. Studies link writing privately about stressful events and capturing thoughts and emotions on paper with decreased mental distress.

When journaling for stress management , processing our emotions in written form may even increase the likelihood that we reach out for social support. This, in turn, leads to emotional healing and improved resilience to stress (, 2021).

Journaling for Reflection

When stressed or consumed by negative thoughts, it’s difficult to view our situation objectively. Writing in a journal can help us create the space and distance needed to reflect on what has happened, where we are, and what is ahead.

Journaling may create sufficient cognitive defusion –looking at thoughts rather than being in them–to create the separation needed to accept our feelings and commit to the changes we need to make (Tartakovsky, 2022).

Journaling for Recovery

Research suggests that journaling, particularly expressive writing, can help those experiencing or recovering from the emotional trauma associated with PTSD (Sohal et al., 2022).

Another innovative approach combined journaling with visualization and appeared to offer lasting support to war veterans (Mims, 2015).

Other findings confirm journaling as a valuable and effective intervention for recovery from addiction.

A 2022 paper highlighted the ability of journaling to support the recovery of women in residential treatment for substance use disorders. Results showed that the intervention “helped participants to recognize what was positive about recovery, to achieve meaningful short-term goals, and to experience a sense of optimism and pride in their accomplishments” (Krentzman, Hoeppner, Hoeppner, & Barnett, 2022, p. 1).

6 Ways to process your feelings in writing – Therapy in a Nutshell

Despite the clear benefits of journaling for easing distress, we are often less willing to capture how we feel on paper when we are struggling the most.

After all, it’s not always pleasant. We are revisiting thoughts and emotions that we may have been avoiding. In fact, we may feel sad, upset, guilty, or anxious immediately after time spent writing. And yet, in the long term, journaling offers us better psychological and physical health (Newman, 2020).

The following guidelines should ease the first-timer into the process and make it less daunting (Newman, 2020;, 2021; Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005):

Guidance for mental health practitioners working with clients:

better journal writing

Download 3 Free Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF)

These detailed, science-based exercises will equip you or your clients with tools to manage stress better and find a healthier balance in their life.

Download 3 Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises Pack (PDF)

By filling out your name and email address below.

Guidance for the client:

We should explain to the client that expressive writing can sometimes lead to short-term distress despite the long-term benefits. Clients should be encouraged to stop writing if they find no benefits or the practice is too distressing (Baikie & Wilhelm, 2005).

Tips for Journaling

“For the next four days, I would like you to write down how you feel and think about your most traumatic experience or a significant emotional issue that has profoundly impacted you.

If you can, try to let go, capturing your deepest emotions and thoughts, including how you relate to those closest to you, your past, present, and future, and how you have been and would like to be. Feel free to carry one topic across multiple days or, if you prefer, choose a new one for each.

Your writing will remain confidential, so please do not worry about spelling, grammar, or style. You are not being judged so try to write honestly and openly.”

Specific and individual prompts can be helpful for clients if they are new to journaling or are struggling to get started. Begin by answering one or more of the following questions (Tartakovsky, 2022; Newman, 2020):

We have many journaling resources available for therapists providing support to clients wanting to address mental health issues.

Gratitude often plays a large part in journaling. Why not download our free gratitude pack and try out the powerful tools contained within, including:

Other free resources include:

More extensive versions of the following tools are available with a subscription to the Positive Psychology Toolkit© , but they are described briefly below:

The 40 days of journaling also provide a lasting record of their journey for later reflection.

Use the seven days of prompts to write about what has gone well and the strengths that may have played a role in the successful outcome.

If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others manage stress without spending hours on research and session prep, this collection contains 17 validated stress management tools for practitioners . Use them to help others identify signs of burnout and create more balance in their lives.

Journaling as an intervention has many benefits, supporting physical and mental wellbeing, resilience, and greater emotional awareness and understanding.

To begin with, clients may be uncertain regarding revisiting difficult emotions or situations. And yet, with support and confirmation that their innermost thoughts and feelings remain private, they will grow more confident in capturing their deepest thoughts and better able to manage their anxiety and stressful situations.

Journaling encourages space from negative or self-critical thinking, allowing the client to see that what they think and feel is not who they are but something they are experiencing.

Journaling allows the client to see that what they think and feel is not who they are but something they are experiencing. It provides a space where a client can view their negative or self-critical thinking as just that – thoughts.

With practice, journaling can help process emotions–even ones that have been avoided or held back–and lead to a better understanding of how to proceed.

If your clients are not already doing so, task them with capturing how they think and feel in written form through either expressive writing or gratitude journaling. The client does not need to spend a great deal of time on it every day; even twenty minutes, three to four times a week, will have a positive and lasting effect.

Encourage them to reflect on what they have written later on, becoming better at understanding that difficult feelings will pass, and it is not the situation or specific stressors that cause us difficulty but our perception of them.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Stress & Burnout Prevention Exercises (PDF) for free .

' src=

Share this article:

Article feedback

What our readers think.

Eli Richardson

It’s great that you elaborate on how journaling could benefit our mental health since it reduces anxiety. Recently, I’ve been busy with my job, and I barely go out with my friends, so I think I’m trapped in a bubble I’ve built, and I want to break it free. I think that keeping a journal could help me become more aware of what’s going on in my life, as you mentioned, so I’ll buy one later today.

Caroline Rou

I am glad that this article could inspire you to try journaling! I’m sorry to hear that you feel trapped, but we really stand by the mental benefits and feel it can be such a great de-stressor when we feel overwhelmed.

I wish you luck on your journaling journey!

Kind regards, -Caroline | Community Manager


These are some of the benefits that I have experienced myself. I started journaling with no expectations, but it turned out to be really great step toward my self-care journey. That day I decided to share the knowledge with other people as well. I created a blog named Your Mental Health Pal where I share mental health-related topics.


Thanks for a great well put together article. I’ve been journaling for 34 years which began while I was depressed on bed rest due to a high risk pregnancy. The act of journaling has been quite therapeutic for me to the degree that I now teach others how to do it. I’ve also created a collection of journals to share with others.

T. Lavon Lawrence

Your hard work in putting together this informative piece is very much appreciated. THANK YOU!


This is great. Thank you so much.

Ted Johnson,pahrump, nevada

My life is too big for me and shrinking at the same time! Its the rollercoaster ride that I waited in line for so long to ride that when I realized that I couldn’t see when or how it would end I had no choice but to get on it anyway! I am 64, and my father died 6 years ago and told me I could see him one time for 5 minutes and that was it! He never spoke and I just left and said I hope you feel better. Since then my wife had an affair and divorced me, and now I take care of my 88 year old mom who is dying of c.o.p.d. and has not left the house in a year! My brother lives 4 blocks away and hasn’t come over in the 2 1/2 years he has lived here. I live in a small town that has no interests in things that make life a place of wonder and passion! Its like a graveyard where the dead still walk around but never speak but they are comfortable not thinking, just walking. Besides that, my relatives don’t like me for whatever reasons and every day brings a sunrise and sunset, alone. Thanks for letting me throw up into the starless void. Did I tell you that my friends all wanted me to do standup comedy! True story! Mel Blanc’ who did the voices for bugs bunny and most of those character’s has written on his grave stone” thats all folks!”


Ted from what you have written I hear loneliness despite there being people around. I wonder if there may be a community you may connect with locally? Or start one? Best wishes as you continue to explore


Thank you for sharing Ted. I love your witty humor as a way to cope but life does sound stressful and a tad lonely. Are there fun activities or meet-up groups you can go to? Like a hiking group, a fitbit/walking challenge group? writing seminar? or better yet standup comedy (they do have amateur night). I think connecting outside your immediate circle would be good to being in some light and laughter….. just a thought….


Can I get some help with my feelings I need a journal online that guesses my feelings.

Let us know your thoughts Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Related articles

Job loss depression

How to Support Clients With Job Loss Depression & Stress

When you meet someone for the first time, they will ask your name. The next question is likely to be about what you do for [...]

Fight or flight response

The Fight-or-Flight Response: Everything You Need to Know

Our fight-or-flight response has been shaped by millions of years of evolution over countless generations. It served us well for most of that time, readying [...]

Breathing exercises

12+ Breathing Exercises for Managing Anxiety (Incl. PDF)

Breathing is more than a physical requirement to live. It is also foundational to spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects of life. Hindus call it prana, [...]

Read other articles by their category

3 Stress Exercises Pack

Ask a Question

Toll Free Numbers

Hospitals and Clinics

Regional Benefits Offices

Regional Loan Centers

Cemetery Locations

Email icon

Whole Health Library

Quick Links

Health Programs

Therapeutic Journaling

Download PDF

What Is Therapeutic Journaling?

Therapeutic journaling is the process of writing down our thoughts and feelings about our personal experiences. This kind of private reflection allows us to sort through events that have occurred and problems that we may be struggling with. It allows us to come to a deeper understanding about ourselves, with a different perspective on these difficulties. Therapeutic journaling differs from more traditional diary writing, which involves recording the details of daily events. In contrast, therapeutic journaling is an internal process of using the written word to express the full range of emotions, reactions, and perceptions we have related to difficult, upsetting, or traumatic life events. Along the way, this can mean writing ourselves to better emotional and physical health and a greater sense of well-being.

The Therapeutic Writing Protocol

Therapeutic journaling can be done by keeping a regular journal to write about events that bring up anger, grief, anxiety, or joy that occur in daily life. It can also be used more therapeutically to deal with specific upsetting, stressful, or traumatic life events. An expressive writing protocol developed by Dr. James Pennebaker is the most widely used and researched method utilized in clinical practice. This writing protocol has been linked to improvements in both physical and psychological health. It has been used in non-clinical and clinical populations. The expressive writing protocol consists of asking someone to write about a stressful, traumatic or emotional experience for three to five sessions, over four consecutive days, for 15-20 minutes per session. Research has found it to be useful as a stand-alone clinical tool or as an adjunct to traditional psychotherapies.

How It Works

Emotional expression has been found to be good for our health. It enhances our immune system functioning. When upsetting or traumatic events occur, we often are not able to fully process what happened, and the event and the emotions around what occurred become stuck in our memory. The simple act of expressing thoughts and feelings on paper about challenging and upsetting events can allow us to move forward by expressing and letting go of the feelings involved. Expressive writing also provides an opportunity to construct a meaningful personal narrative about what happened. It brings clarity and enables us to place our experience into the context of our larger place in the world.

Over the past 25 years, a growing body of research has demonstrated the beneficial effects that writing about traumatic or stressful events has on physical and emotional health. Dr. Pennebaker, one of the first researchers in this area, found that writing about emotionally difficult events or feelings for just 20 minutes at a time over four consecutive days was associated with both short-term increases in physiological arousal and long-term decreases in health problems, such as immune system functioning. [1] Smyth conducted a meta-analysis of 13 studies of written emotional expression with healthy participants and found specific benefits in objective or self-reported physical health, psychological well-being, physiological functioning, and general functioning outcomes. [2] Frisina et al. conducted a meta-analysis of nine studies on written emotional disclosure on clinical populations and found significant benefit for health outcomes in medically ill populations but did not find any psychological health outcomes in psychiatric populations. [3]

Who Can Benefit

Expressive writing has been found to produce significant benefits for individuals with a variety of medical conditions including: [4]

In addition, it can be helpful for assistance with specific life circumstances, including:

In 2012, Emmerik, Reijntyes and Kamphuis conducted a meta-analysis investigating the efficacy of expressive writing for treatment of posttraumatic stress conditions (e.g. acute stress disorder and PTSD) and comorbid depressive symptoms. It resulted in significant and substantial short-term reductions in posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms. There was no difference in efficacy between writing therapy and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. [10] Smyths 1998 review suggests that the effects of written emotional expression are substantial and similar in magnitude to the effects of other psychological interventions, many of which can be time-consuming and expensive. [2]

Expressive writing can therefore be considered an evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress and constitutes a useful treatment alternative for patients who do not respond to other evidence-based therapies. It may be especially useful for reaching trauma survivors in need of evidence-based mental health care who live in remote areas. Therapeutic journaling can also be a way to reach people who are unwilling or unable to engage in psychotherapy.

Expressive writing may be contraindicated for individuals who do not typically express emotions [11] or who have severe trauma histories or psychiatric disorders. [12] [13]

Therapeutic Journaling Instructions

This writing exercise is useful for dealing with emotional upheavals or traumas. It is a four-day writing program that has proven effective for improving mental and physical health. It is best to do your writing in a meaningful place, time and atmosphere, so think about finding a location where you will be undisturbed by others, your phone, e-mail, etc.

It is important to think about what your writing topic will be. You might pick an emotionally upsetting event that is bothering you. If you have faced a massive trauma, it is best not to write about it for several weeks afterwards, as it may be too difficult to deal with some of the emotions that arise around what happened. Trust where your writing takes you. You might start writing about a traumatic experience and then find yourself writing about something entirely different.

For the next four days, please write about an emotionally upsetting or traumatic event that has had a strong impact on you. During your writing, you are encouraged to explore your deepest emotions and thoughts about this difficult life experience. As you write about this topic, you might tie it to your relationships with others. You may relate it to your past, present, or future, or you may connect it with who you may have been, who you would like to be, or who you are now. You may write about the same general issues or experiences on all days of writing, or you may choose to write about different topics each day.

Keep in mind these few simple guidelines recommended by Pennebaker: [11]

Writing topic. You can write about the same event all four days or different events each day. What you choose to write about should be something that is extremely personal and important for you.

Length and frequency. Write for 15-20 minutes each day for four consecutive days if you can. It is a bit more effective than writing four days over the course of several weeks.

Write continuously. Once you begin writing, write continuously without stopping. Dont worry about spelling or grammar. If you run out of things to say, simply repeat what you have already written. Keep writing about the topic until the time is up.

Write only for yourself. You are writing for yourself and no one else. After you complete the expressive writing exercise, you may want to destroy or hide what you have written. Remember this writing can be for your eyes only.

What to avoid. If you feel that you cannot write about a particular event because it would be too upsetting, then dont write about it. Just write about events or situations that you can handle now.

What to expect. It is common for people to feel somewhat saddened or depressed after writing, especially on the first day or two. Know that this is completely normal, if this happens to you. Typically, the feeling usually lasts just a few minutes or a few hours. It is a good idea to plan some time to yourself after your writing session to reflect on the issues you have been writing about and support yourself in any emotions that come up.

Considerations. Writing about the same topic day after day for too many days is not helpful. If, after several sessions, you feel you are not making progress, then you might need to stop and contact a health care practitioner.

When to discontinue the journaling exercise . Writing exercises arent for everyone. If the writing exercise evokes strong feelings that you cannot cope with, stop immediately and do something soothing for yourself. Experiencing symptoms of hypervigilance, stress or distress are signals to discontinue this journaling exercise immediately. Take care of yourself by doing something like practice diaphragmatic breathing, reach out to a friend or loved one, or go for a walk to center and calm yourself. If you experience lingering negative feelings you might benefit some additional help. It is recommended to seek the professional advice of a psychologist, counselor, or physician to discuss these feelings and experiences.

Therapeutic Journaling was written by Shilagh A. Mirgain , PhD and by Janice Singles , PsyD (2016).


Veterans Crisis Line: Call: 988 (Press 1)

Social Media

Complete Directory



U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs | 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington DC 20420

Last updated March 3, 2021

Get help from Veterans Crisis Line

If you are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, visit for more resources.

Register for free

Build leaders that accelerate team performance and engagement.

Drive productivity through sustained well-being and mental health for all employees with BetterUp Care™.

Transform your business, starting with your sales leaders.

Foster a culture of inclusion and belonging.

See how innovative companies use BetterUp to build a thriving workforce.

Best practices, research, and tools to fuel individual and business growth.

View on-demand BetterUp events and learn about upcoming live discussions.

The latest insights and ideas for building a high-performing workplace.

Innovative research featured in peer-reviewed journals, press, and more.

We're on a mission to help everyone live with clarity, purpose, and passion.

Join us and create impactful change.

Read the buzz about BetterUp.

Meet the leadership that's passionate about empowering your workforce.

Find your Coach

For Business

Request a demo

Learn how to start journaling. It’s a ritual worth the time


Jump to section

All about journaling

How to start journaling (and make it a habit), how to keep the habit.

Did you know one of the most powerful self-improvement activities  is right at your fingertips?

No, it’s not working out or having good sleep hygiene  (although these are great habits). It’s something even simpler — learning how to start journaling.

Although it’s been around for thousands of years, journaling is currently having a moment in the limelight. From self-help blogs to famous authors like Deepak Chopra, everyone is talking about the life-changing benefits of learning how to journal.

Despite its recent soar in popularity, this isn’t just a new-age self-help trend. If practiced consistently, it can transform your mental fitness , emotional well-being , and even physical well-being .

Let’s explore the importance of keeping a journal and how to incorporate this powerful habit into your daily life.


Before integrating journaling into your daily routine, it’s important to understand what it really means and why it’s beneficial.

What is journaling?

Journaling is a written account of your thoughts and feelings as you navigate everyday life.

The beauty of journaling is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s a deeply personal experience that can take many forms.

One day, journaling could look like a diary entry, similar to the ones you may have written when you were a teenager. The next day it can be a list of things that bring you joy or a list of goals you want to achieve .

Developing a journaling habit can help you work through your emotions, especially when you’re feeling anxious  or sad. It can also help you grow, become more self-aware , and gain meaningful insights.

For these reasons, journaling is one of the best self-improvement tools.

Having said that, it’ll come as no surprise that some of the most successful people in the world, including Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, and Arianna Huffington have kept journals throughout their lives.

Benefits of journaling

While the act of writing things down seems simple enough, the results are powerful. Here are just some of the benefits of keeping a journal.  

1. Improves mental well-being

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented stress and uncertainty  into our lives.

During this time, 4 in 10 adults in the US have experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression .

One way to deal with intense emotions and uncertainty during difficult times is to find a healthy outlet for them in the form of a journal. Journaling is proven to have a positive effect on mental health and reduce the effects of anxiety and depression .

2. Strengthens the immune system and recovery time

You’ve likely heard the expression, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, it turns out journaling can have the same effect.

In a 2018 Cambridge study, participants were asked to write about their deepest thoughts and feelings surrounding the most stressful or upsetting events in their lives .

Four months later, those who wrote about their experiences for 15 minutes a day reported fewer visits to the doctor and fewer sick days.

Not only is journaling linked to long-term decreases in health problems, but it also helps you heal faster. Another study found that expressive writing helped speed up wound healing in older adults .

3. Gives you a place to express gratitude

One of the best ways to express gratitude  is by keeping a gratitude journal and writing down things you’re thankful for. Gratitude is proven to activate areas of the brain that are connected to positive emotions .


Feeling grateful also overpowers negative emotions, boosts optimism, and makes you more compassionate .

4. Helps you work through challenges

Journaling is proven to help people heal past wounds and challenging experiences.

A recent Duke University study  asked participants who experienced a recent traumatic event to undergo a six-week writing ‘intervention.’ This consisted of various writing prompts, including expressive, poetic, transactional, and mindful journaling.

The study found that writing increased participants’ resilience and decreased stress .

5. Helps you set and accomplish goals

One of the most effective ways to achieve your goals  is to write them down.

Putting your goals on paper helps you visualize them more clearly. Visualization is a powerful technique  used by elite athletes and CEOs. It involves imagining that what you want to achieve is already yours.

In 2020, Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University of California found that people who write down their goals have a higher chance of accomplishing them  when compared to those that don’t.

The importance of journaling

The only way to reap all the rewards that come with journaling is to be consistent. This means making journal entries a daily habit  rather than an occasional hobby.

Writing daily is a powerful way to do inner work . It can lead to insights and breakthroughs and help you process difficult emotions  and situations.

Learning how to write a journal is also a great mindfulness practice  because it helps you focus on the present moment. Being present without worrying about the past or future is a very calming and peaceful feeling that relaxes the mind and body.

The calming effects of daily journaling can also help treat emotional exhaustion . For example, incorporating 20 minutes of journaling into your nighttime routine can help you unload heavy feelings of stress  before bed.

We could spend all day talking about the many benefits of keeping a journal. But how do you start one?

The process is simple, yet looking at that first blank page of your notebook can feel daunting.

Starting a journal can seem intimidating at first. Like any other habit, it takes a while before it becomes a repetitive part of your lifestyle.

Here are some journaling tips to help you start and keep a journal.

1. Find the journaling techniques that work for you

Many people prefer keeping a paper journal because it helps them develop and express ideas more clearly. But putting pen to paper isn’t the only way to journal.

When you first begin writing, it’s important to find the method that works best for you.

You may find that the ease of using a laptop makes journaling more enjoyable for you. You also don’t have to limit yourself to one method.

Say you prefer handwriting, but you get a burst of inspiration during your morning commute on the subway. In that case, you can use the notes app on your phone to jot down your thoughts before you forget them.

2. Let go of judgments (write for your eyes only)

There’s no right or wrong way to journal. When you’re writing, it’s important to practice self-compassion  and leave your inner critic at the door . Journaling is a judgment-free zone.


Don’t worry about things like grammar or spelling. You’re writing for your eyes only, not for an audience.

When you’re self-critical or afraid someone will read your journal, you tend to censor yourself and be less authentic and honest .

3. Keep expectations realistic

When you first begin journaling, don’t expect to write pages upon pages filled with insightful thoughts.

Having unrealistic expectations can actually discourage you from continuing your journaling practice because you don’t immediately see progress.

Like any other habit, you need to set realistic goals and take baby steps in order to see results.

4. Create a writing routine

It’s easy to write on days when you’re feeling inspired and motivated . But what about when you’re not?

Creating a writing routine and scheduling journaling time can help you stay on track, even on days when you’re feeling uninspired.

For example, you can set time aside every morning after breakfast or every evening before bed, even if it’s just for five to ten minutes. This time blocking  method allows you to prioritize journaling and incorporate it into your schedule.

5. Journal about anything that comes to mind

When it comes to what you want to write about, the possibilities are limitless. You can write about your day, your thoughts and emotions, or something that inspired you.

You can also use it as an outlet to release heavy emotions like anger, frustration, or sadness . Putting these feelings down on paper can free you from having them lingering in your mind.

In her book “The Artist’s Way,” author Julia Cameron talks about one method that can help you journal if you’re not sure where to start. It’s called the ‘Morning Pages.’

Each day after you wake up, open your journal and start writing three pages filled with any thoughts that come to your mind.

This stream-of-consciousness writing has been therapeutic for those who have tried it. It's helped them process emotions, gain clarity, and unlock their creative side.

6. Use journal prompts

There will be days when you’re staring at your journal and have no idea what to write about.

Don’t fret — there are countless journaling prompts online that can help you overcome your writer’s block. Here’s a list of things to journal about on the days you feel blocked:

7. Get creative

Don’t be afraid to express yourself and be creative. Journal writing isn’t just prose. It can be poetry, sketching, art, lyrics, or anything else that allows you to express yourself.  


Learning how to start journaling is the easy part. It’s making it a daily habit that takes self-discipline.

But nobody said building good habits happens overnight.

If you stick to it, you’ll start to see the positive outcomes of journaling manifest in your personal and professional life. Use it as a tool for personal growth, self-discovery, relaxation, or visualization. There’s no right or wrong way to journal. Make it your own.

Ready to make a commitment to yourself? BetterUp offers personalized coaching to help you live a happier, more fulfilling life.

Request a custom demo to find out more .

New call-to-action

Erin Eatough, PhD

Sr. Insights Manager

Write your way out of anxiety: 6 benefits of journaling

The secret to finding your passion isn't looking, it's doing, understanding the mental health journey — and how to read the map, no magic in manifestation how writing helps turn dreams into reality, your path to self-actualization: 6 ways to get started, reinventing yourself: 10 ways to realize your full potential, conscious parenting: raise your children by parenting yourself, betterup cio prince harry's new docuseries explores community and support in strengthening our mental health, how to start a manifestation journal: reach your goals through writing, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

1200 Folsom St San Francisco, CA 94103

Download on the App Store

English | Deutsch | UK English | Français

Language Select

American Psychological Association Logo

This page has been archived and is no longer being updated regularly.

Cover Story

Writing to heal

By helping people manage and learn from negative experiences, writing strengthens their immune systems as well as their minds.


Monitor Staff

June 2002, Vol 33, No. 6

Print version: page 54

Writing is no stranger to therapy. For years, practitioners have used logs, questionnaires, journals and other writing forms to help people heal from stresses and traumas.

Now, new research suggests expressive writing may also offer physical benefits to people battling terminal or life-threatening diseases. Studies by those in the forefront of this research--psychologists James Pennebaker, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin, and Joshua Smyth, PhD, of Syracuse University--suggest that writing about emotions and stress can boost immune functioning in patients with such illnesses as HIV/AIDS, asthma and arthritis.

Skeptics argue that other factors, such as changes in social support, or simply time, could instead be the real health aids. But an intensive research review by Smyth, published in 1998 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Vol. 66, No. 1), suggests that writing does make a difference, though the degree of difference depends on the population being studied and the form that writing takes.

Researchers are only beginning to get at how and why writing may benefit the immune system, and why some people appear to benefit more than others. There is emerging agreement, however, that the key to writing's effectiveness is in the way people use it to interpret their experiences, right down to the words they choose. Venting emotions alone--whether through writing or talking--is not enough to relieve stress, and thereby improve health, Smyth emphasizes. To tap writing's healing power, people must use it to better understand and learn from their emotions, he says.

In all likelihood, the enlightenment that can occur through such writing compares with the benefits of verbal guided exploration in psychodynamic psychotherapies, notes Pennebaker. He notes, for example, that talking into a tape recorder has also shown positive health effects. The curative mechanism appears to be relief of the stress that exacerbates disease, researchers believe.

Health benefits

A groundbreaking study of writing's physical effects appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 281, No. 14) three years ago. In the study, led by Smyth, 107 asthma and rheumatoid arthritis patients wrote for 20 minutes on each of three consecutive days--71 of them about the most stressful event of their lives and the rest about the emotionally neutral subject of their daily plans.

Four months after the writing exercise, 70 patients in the stressful-writing group showed improvement on objective, clinical evaluations compared with 37 of the control patients. In addition, those who wrote about stress improved more, and deteriorated less, than controls for both diseases. "So writing helped patients get better, and also kept them from getting worse," says Smyth.

In a more recent study, presented in a conference paper and submitted for publication, Pennebaker, Keith Petrie, PhD, and others at the University of Auckland in New Zealand found a similar pattern among HIV/AIDS patients. The researchers asked 37 patients in four 30-minute sessions to write about negative life experiences or about their daily schedules. Afterward, patients who wrote about life experiences measured higher on CD4 lymphocyte counts--a gauge of immune functioning--than did controls, though the boost to CD4 lymphocytes had disappeared three months later.

Regardless, the fact that they at first showed improved immune functioning suggests that it reduced their stress through a release of HIV-related anxiety, says Pennebaker. "By writing, you put some structure and organization to those anxious feelings," he explains. "It helps you to get past them."

Other research by Pennebaker indicates that suppressing negative, trauma-related thoughts compromises immune functioning, and that those who write visit the doctor less often. Also, Petrie's colleague Roger Booth, PhD, has linked writing with a stronger antibody response to the Hepatitis B vaccine.

Writing right

Not everyone agrees, though, that the mere act of writing is necessarily beneficial. In fact, initial writing about trauma triggers distress and physical and emotional arousal, researchers have found. And not all people will work through that distress therapeutically or through continued writing, says psychologist Helen Marlo, PhD, of Notre Dame de Namur University and a private practitioner in Burlingame, Calif. In past research, she found that, contrary to Pennebaker's results, writing about negative and positive life events produced no physical health benefits in undergraduate students.

"I get concerned that if people just write about traumatic events, they get raw and opened up and aren't able to work through it on their own," says Marlo. Her study did not, however, provide evidence that writing poses any long-term risk to people.

But there is evidence that the nature of a person's writing is key to its health effects, notes health psychology researcher Susan Lutgendorf, PhD, of the University of Iowa. An intensive journaling study (in press, Annals of Behavioral Medicine ) she conducted recently with her doctoral student Phil Ullrich suggests that people who relive upsetting events without focusing on meaning report poorer health than those who derive meaning from the writing. They even fare worse than people who write about neutral events. Also, those who focus on meaning develop greater awareness of positive aspects of a stressful event.

"You need focused thought as well as emotions," says Lutgendorf. "An individual needs to find meaning in a traumatic memory as well as to feel the related emotions to reap positive benefits from the writing exercise."

In explaining this phenomenon, Pennebaker draws a parallel with therapy. "People who talk about things over and over in the same ways aren't getting any better," he says. "There has to be growth or change in the way they view their experiences."

Evidence of a changed perspective can be found in the language people use, Pennebaker has found. For example, the more they use such cause-and-effect words as "because," "realize" and "understand," the more they appear to benefit.

Pennebaker also acknowledges that some personality types likely respond better to writing than others. Tentative evidence suggests that more reticent people benefit most. A host of other individual differences--including handling of stress, ability to self-regulate and interpersonal relations--also mediate writing's effectiveness.

A place in practice?

After all, writing's power to heal lies not in pen and paper, but in the mind of the writer, say a number of psychologists who use it with their patients. That's where clinicians come in, helping clients tap that healing power, they say. Private practitioner Marlo, for example, employs writing cautiously--using it only with patients who take to it, and closely integrating it into the therapeutic process.

"The cornerstone of therapy is engagement in the therapeutic relationship that addresses the individual's process--especially the intrapersonal, interpersonal, affective and symbolic dimensions of experience," says Marlo.

Another practitioner, Judith Ruskay Rabinor, PhD, author of "A Starving Madness: Tales of Hunger, Hope and Healing in Psychotherapy" (Gurze Books, 2002), has her patients explore their anxieties in writings between sessions, e-mailing her as the anxiety strikes them. Rabinor offers feedback on their writing and helps them track progress in their thinking.

Though more studies are needed, many behavioral researchers believe such approaches could also work with treating chronically ill people. "Writing is another potential tool in the armatorium of the clinical professional," says Smyth.


Letters to the Editor


17 Journaling Tips For Beginners (And How To Start)

Struggling to journal every day? Forget the usual advice. Here are my top journaling tips and the life-changing benefits of writing.

Sometimes I write how-to posts and the tips really work in my daily life. Then a few weeks later my good habits fall apart.

And sometimes it feels hypocritical to write about journaling when I don’t always maintain a perfect writing streak. I get distracted and I deal with depression and anxiety like many others.

But here’s the thing: journaling is a habit. It’s not a hobby for when you’re feeling great or have the luxury of time.

It’s a habit you develop that you actually need most when you’re feeling anxious, hurried or just not in the mood. And you don’t have to beat ourselves up whenever you fall short of writing daily.

journaling tips

Journaling can also be a check-in tool. There are seasons in your life when you feel balanced and motivated – and you’ve got your priorities straight.

And other times you’re stressed and wonder what it’s all for.

But the value of journaling comes through when you stick with it despite the ups and downs.

I’ve written about the value of journaling daily .

But I don’t always keep a daily journal. I haven’t since my teens.

Though it’s not always perfection that qualifies someone to speak. It’s the belief in the value of journaling and the persistence to make it work.

how to start journaling

I’m figuring it out as I go. Because the journaling tips I’ve read haven’t always helped in my real life.

So I experimented and found what works for me. Because the joys and benefits of journaling outweigh the necessity of writing on paper or journaling in the morning. Something – even a few lines in your note app on the subway – is far better than nothing.

Are you struggling with journaling every day, or do you hate writing or don’t have time for it?

My advice is to experiment and find your own way – even if it goes against the typical journaling tips online.

Here are my top journaling tips:

1. You don’t have to keep a paper journal

digital diary

The usual advice is to write on paper because writing in cursive forces you to slow down and relieves stress.

And though I still love writing a rough draft for a story on paper, I sometimes get on my laptop for everyday journaling.

The speed and ease of the keyboard sometimes works better. I type faster, I feel more productive and I’m less likely to censor myself and more likely to write stream of consciousness. Because it’s not much effort to type something out versus getting hand cramps from paper journaling.

The trick is to be self-aware. Try a few ways of keeping a journal and observe how it makes you feel. Do you obsess over your handwriting when you’re writing in a paper journal? Try downloading an app for gratitude journaling that will give you daily prompts you can simply type in. Are you more of a visual person who struggles with words? Start an art journal and express your emotions with daily sketches and doodles that incorporate some writing.

Experiment with writing on paper, on a laptop or on your smartphone and find whatever works best for you. 

2. You don’t have to write first thing in the morning

journaling tips for beginners

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Morning Pages – the practice of filling 3 sheets of A4 paper each morning with your stream of consciousness thoughts when your mind is still fresh.

Except my mind needs two cups of coffee before it wakes up – and even longer to formulate a decent thought. So I’ve been journaling at night, when the house is quiet and when no delivery man will interrupt my flow. And my writing flows better.

I do love Morning Pages, but there’s a myriad of ways to journal. The only way that’s right is whatever works best for you. Writing in the morning lets you plan out your day, reflect on how you’ll deal with any anticipated challenges or even jot down whatever you’re grateful for. Evenings, for their part, are great for reflecting back on your day, what you’d do differently and what’s on your to-do list for tomorrow.

The only question is: what do you want to get out of journaling? And what time and technique would work best for you?

Try writing at different times of the day and notice the difference. When are you at your best, and when does it feel most valuable to journal?

3. Get some accountability

journaling tips for beginners

There’s something very motivating about being in a group of like-minded people pursuing the same goal – even if you don’t consider yourself competative.

Every November, I do NaNoWriMo – an annual writing challenge where people worldwide sign up and pledge to complete an entire novel in one month. I don’t write a novel every year (the rules are flexible) but I do use the challenge to pound out the recommended 1.6k words daily to hit that monthly goal. And I use that word count to write blog posts, short stories or daily rants.

And it works like a miracle. 

There’s the sentimental factor when you do NaNoWriMo every year, but most importantly there’s the community. Strangers around the world and those soon to be friends who cheer you on. Famous and brilliant authors sending out pep talks on the NaNo website and talking about how much their first drafts always suck. There’s so much energy that you can’t help feeding on.

Last year, I met with a few women at a cafe in Cairo to write together and it inspired me to keep going, even though I’d been travelling and fell way behind on my target word count. It was so encouraging to log in and update my word count and see that line rise on the graph and know my new NaNo friends were cheering me on.

And there are so many ways to get that accountability even when it’s not November.

Form a local writer’s circle or find an existing one on Facebook. Google some online writing communities or just find a few like-minded friends to support each other on WhatsApp.

Get accountability. It’s a powerful tool. Whether that’s a writer’s group in real life, a challenge online or an app to keep track of your writing progress.

4. Start small and keep your expectations realistic

journaling tips for beginners

Do you imagine yourself with a beautiful Moleskine, a Mona Lisa smile on your face as you fill up pages and pages of insightful prose that your grandchildren will treasure?

That’s not going to happen.

It’s key whenever you’re building a new habit to  keep your expectations realistic .

Whenever I fail to take my own advice, I narrow down my goals into a single snippet that I can manage even on my worst days. When 10 minutes of meditation felt like too much and I had problems keeping still, I cut it down to 5 minutes. I also have short guided meditations for the days I’m too tired to go alone.

It doesn’t matter whether you write a single line or three pages – what matters in the beginning is that you form a habit . Make journaling a part of your daily life and anchor it to another habit – like your morning coffee or your evening washing up. And get that journaling in there until it becomes routine and automatic and until you’re no longer fighting with yourself about how badly or well you’re doing it.

Just do it, and then refine the how you do it later.

5. If you’ve got writer’s block, write about gratitude

journaling tips for beginners

Writing about gratitude will lift your spirits and get your thoughts flowing again on the days you’re tired or filled with self-doubt.

This positive energy is downright invigorating. 

And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with what’s in front of you – your laptop or journal, the balcony or the desk with your morning coffee. Then describe your emotions in detail. Instead of trying to fill up a page with all the things you’re grateful for, try focusing on a few and really let yourself feel the emotion of gratitude.

Gratitude journaling can be life-changing when it’s used in difficult situations or downright irritating relationships. Ask yourself, despite all the bad, what can you learn from a difficult day? What qualities do you admire in your partner – even if you don’t want to be around them right now?

6. Try a new environment

how to journal every day

Sitting out on the terrace at a cafe gives me something to write about and lets me forget the daily grind of my desk and laptop. A different setting gets my senses going and inspires thoughts.

If you’re feeling uninspired, then change your surroundings. Step out onto your balcony or grab a chair in your garden and journal from there. Take your journal to work and jot down a few lines on your lunch break. Pick it up in the evening and doodle as you watch TV.

There’s no right time and place for journaling – it’s about finding whatever works for you.

7. Schedule your journaling into your day

how to journal every day

Otherwise you might never make the time for it – and journaling whenever you’re in the mood and inspired is bound to fail.

Journaling lifts you when you’re not feeling in the mood and that means sometimes you just have to get on with it even when you’re feeling uninspired. And when you schedule journaling into your day, you’ll be less likely to make excuses or rely on sheer willpower alone.

Inspiration will find you – but only when you’re writing.

To make journaling a part of your daily routine, set aside a time for it. Anchor it to another habit you’re already great at maintaining.

If you drink coffee religiously in the morning, make it a habit to write a few lines when you get halfway through your cup. Or if you unwind with a Netflix series at night, make it a point to scribble down a few lines before you hit play.

8. Track your journaling habit

how to journal every day

We humans love to make a chain of habits and we hate to see it break.

I use a habit tracking app to mark off each day when I’ve journaled, even it if was just for 5 minutes. It’s so satisfying psychologically to see those marks add up to a streak. And on the days when I’m not in the mood to journal, I open it up just for 5 minutes for the sake of keeping that habit streak going.

Very often once I’m past those 5 minutes, I find myself wanting to keep going.

And that’s the beauty of journaling. It’s not about willpower but about forming a small daily habit that you’ll eventually think less about. Journaling becomes as routine as brushing your teeth.

9. Use different journaling techniques

journaling tips

Keep your journaling interesting and spicy by using different journaling techniques. It doesn’t have to be the same old every day.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, brainstorm some solutions to problems you’re facing and make a streamlined to-do list that puts your real priorities at the top.

If you’re just in the mood for some TV, make a list of your favourite Netflix series and ones to watch.

Make your journal work for you. Let it be there in whatever capacity you need.

There are dozens of journaling techniques for almost any purpose and occasion. From writing an angry unsent letter when you need to vent to sketching out ideas for your next quilting project, a journal is your space for whatever you need.

A journal can help you plan your day or track your projects or hobbies. Fill it in with your favorite movie quotes, notes on recipes you’ve tried or reflections on how your children are growing up.

If you find yourself bored with journaling then shake things up and try something new.

Read 13 Powerful Journaling Techniques (And How To Use Them)  to find the method that’s right for you – whether you want to manage stress or boost your creativity.

10. Make your journal personal and messy


Does the thought of writing in a spiralbound notebook bring back memories of dull work meetings that should have been emails? Or maybe a beautiful notebook seems like a shame to fill with your illegible cursive?

Your journal should feel like it’s yours and it should fit your personality. Maybe that’s a leather-bound notebook that you can whip out comfortably on a business flight. Or maybe that’s a worn cloth-bound notebook filled with painted daisies. Your journal should make you look forward to writing.

If you’re cracking open a new notebook and looking for an ice breaker, then fill that first, intimidating blank page with a favorite song lyric or inspirational quote.

And don’t obsess about your handwriting. You’re probably out of practice and it will look messy in the beginning. Handwriting gets better – and more legible – with practice and plenty of patience. So don’t let an un-Instagrammable cursive stop you.

Make some messy doodles or scrawl some quotes into the margins to further break that ice and smash those high expectations. Your journal is your tool – not an Instagram flatlay waiting to happen.

11. Keep a journal handy in your bag

journaling tips

When you’re stuck on the bus in traffic, just pull out your journal and jot down your thoughts or vent your anxieties.

An additional journal kept in your bag is useful whenever you’re in a waiting room, a traffic jam or any situation with time on your hands.

A journal can also be a great substitute for smart phone scrolling. Whenever you find yourself restless and reaching for your smartphone, pull out your journal instead. Sure it may be awkward during a dinner party, but a dentist’s office or bank are perfect settings for a journaling session.

When you’re on vacation, a travel journal can be an incredible tool to write down your sensations when they’re still fresh in your mind. Use a journal to plan your trip and keep track of any great restaurants you’ve tried or museums you’d love to revisit.

If you’re intimidated to write in your journal in public, then don’t worry. It gets easier with time. And it’s helpful to remember that people may shoot you the odd glance, but they actually have no idea whether you’re drafting up a business plan or complaining about your ex.

So let your thoughts flow freely.

12. Make journaling a pleasure

how to start a journal

Journaling should be a pleasure and a treat – not a chore you knock off your daily list.

Invest in a fountain pen to make your writing flow like silk. Dab on some perfume before you start writing. Brew your favorite herbal tea infusion and settle back in a comfortable corner or turn on your favorite playlist.

You’ll begin to associate these little indulgences with journaling and they’ll make your writing time a real pleasure.

But don’t overthink it. Expecting the journaling process to be impossibly hygge will only disappoint when reality hits.

13. Analyze what isn’t working

how to start a journal

What do you hope to get from journaling? Do you want to manage your anger? Become a better sales manager? Get inspired for your child’s next birthday party?

Identify your goals and then look back at your journal to evaluate if you achieved what you wanted. Or try journaling about your journaling. Do you feel bored and dread those 15 minutes of writing, or do you look forward to it?

Be mindful of your emotions and how journaling is making you feel. Do you feel energized at the end of a journaling session, or just relief that it’s over?

If journaling is not working for you and bringing you results, then it won’t be easy to maintain your daily journaling habit. Make time to look at what isn’t working and experiment to find what journaling technique works best.

Is it time to try a new technique or to switch from laptop to paper? Does journaling in the morning or evening work better for you? Be candid with yourself and make journaling work for your real life.

14. Use your journal for stress management

how to start a journal

Journaling has been called the most effective form of therapy – and it’s absolutely free, too.

Whenever you’re feeling frazzled, overwhelmed or just anxious, there’s nothing like pouring your frustrations out into a journal for some catharsis.

Once you fill up a page or two, you’ll gain some much-needed distance from your troubles. You’ll probably realize things aren’t as bad as they seem and you might even see that silver lining.

And once you’re done, let your entry sit for a few days and read it back later. You’ll begin to realize that your daily frustrations are rarely worth stressing over.

Journaling has many powerful benefits for your mental and physical health. Read 18 Incredible Benefits of Journaling to get inspired.

15. Write for your eyes only

how to start a diary

Journaling is wonderful therapy but it’s difficult to write honestly unless your journal is absolutely private.

When you write in hope (or fear) that others will read your words, it becomes harder to write truthfully and express your real emotions. You won’t write for self-awareness but to impress others or to prove a point.

Keep your journal in a secure place. And if you’re still worried that others will stumble upon it, then find a hiding space or use a laptop protected with a password.

16. Keep a list of journaling prompts for speechless days

how to start a diary

Writing about a variety of topics and prompts keeps your journaling fresh and interesting. Keep a list of journaling prompts ready to go in your notebook or in a word doc for the days you’re at a loss for words.

Pinterest is a gold mine for journaling prompts for any mood and occasion. Create a board for your journaling and gather some prompts – or if you’re not on Pinterest then take some screenshots to have handy.

17. Don’t wallow or self-blame

how to start a diary

Journaling can be anything from a fun hobby to a form of meaningful therapy. But you won’t get much benefit if you only wallow in problems or constantly blame yourself.

It’s great to release those pent-up emotions in a journal and it’s helpful to have a rant. But eventually you’ll want to brainstorm about solutions or jot down some things you’re grateful for.

If your journaling gets dark and stays there, chances are it won’t help you grow.

journaling tips

14 Must-See Hidden Gems In Islamic Cairo

salt lakes siwa

16 Incredible Things To Do In The Siwa Oasis

You may also like.

journaling ideas

100 Best Journaling Ideas (For Anxiety, Clarity And More)

journaling techniques

14 Life-Changing Journaling Techniques

writing by hand

16 Powerful Benefits of Writing by Hand


' src=

Hi Jennifer,

I have 3 journals on the go. One is a daily blow by blow account of what I do from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. The other one is a random thought journal where sometimes when I see or hear something it might take me back to a time in the past, and I’ll write about that. The last one is my deepest personal thoughts about…Anything. You have to resonate with a journal as well. I really like the feel of my journals and I take care of them. Also having a special pen to write with helps.

I hope this helps, John

' src=

I am inly but just starting with my journalling. I was not sure as where to start, the hows , whens and whys, but after having read this I have so much more clarity and confidence to get started. You know when you just knownin your spirit that something is just right? well, this write up here is exactly just that, hitting all the right chords and addressing ever necessary point. Thank you for making this available. I am keen to get stuck in… I need to, I want to…

' src=

Beautifully written Dee! This is my first time reading your website. Thanks! Priya

' src=

Cindy Stupek

I’m in dire need of self reflection However putting my thoughts on paper creates anxiety. Need some easy structure to get started that’s not to intimidating

' src=

Vivian Sizemore

I have tried so many times to journal but it just doesn’t last. I just turned 80 and want to try again. Thanks for the tips I just read. I want to keep them handy. I would like to download them. I want to do this for ever how many years I have left and to also write about things from past experiences. Thank you so much for your insight. Now to just find that “perfect” pen to write with! LOL

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Writing Strategies: 20 Tips to Write Better

Last Updated on December 16, 2021

The right writing strategies will not only improve your content but will also lay the groundwork for active engagement with your readers.

Learning to write well increases your business opportunities, escalates your career value, and in general terms, makes your life easier. 

In this article, you’ll learn the importance of good writing and 20 tips for how you can make your writing better.

You may have heard that a picture is worth a thousand words because it shows a scene that invokes an emotion or idea. Writing done well can do that and more. Writing done wrong can end up costing you more than you can imagine.

writing strategies

Why Is It Important to Write Better?

Most of us had to write well in school to get through school. After graduation, what did it really matter?

Texting added to the loss of good writing skills. It took less time to abbreviate the words into a new language even if everyone didn’t understand that language.

Despite the shift in focus through technology, good writing still has a place in society. As a matter of law, good writing can cost you millions. 

The Case of the Oxford Comma

In March 2017, the United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit ruled that the Oxford Comma was worth millions. If you don’t know what the Oxford Comma is, then pay attention. What you learn next could save you some pretty pennies.

The Oxford Comma is the last comma in a series of items. The phrase, “Eats, shoots, and leaves” includes the Oxford Comma. “Eats, shoots and leaves” does not. 

In the case mentioned above, the delivery drivers insisted that according to the Maine Overtime Law, they were due overtime pay. The dairy said the law stated the drivers were not due overtime. The Court of Appeals ruled that since there was no Oxford Comma in the law, the list of excepted workers was ambiguous. Therefore, the delivery drivers were due the overtime which ended up costing the dairy over $10 million – yes MILLION.

Your writing matters, whether you’re writing a law for the state or a thank you letter to your delivery person.

Writing Strategies for Stronger Content

You want to write strategically when creating content or copy for your website and business. It’s not just about how many words you create, but about the experience those words craft for the user. 

1. Keep It Simple.

Big words don’t make your writing better when a simple word works just as well. Even a word as powerful as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious has its limits.

2. Replace the Fillers and the Fluff.

Filler words slow down word flow or stop it altogether. Fluff words overused in writing can be replaced with more powerful alternatives. Changing out these two types of words will give your writing more impact.

And this is the tip of the fluff iceberg. Dig through your writing to enhance the fluff with more intentional and distinct phrases. Slice out the filler words to create writing that is crisp and engaging.

3. Hunt Down Adverbs.

Mark Twain has been quoted as saying, “If you see an adverb, kill it.” Steven King reiterated this in his book, “On Writing,” where he explains that strong verbs are weakened by redundant adverbs.

4. Write to Your Audience.

I wrote a novel where the characters often banter by quoting lines from random movies. A reviewer commented that real people don’t talk that way. I felt sorry for her because the conversation in the book was copied from a gathering with a group of my friends. We should all have friends who break out in random song lyrics – especially if the words are rewritten for our situation. But, I digress. The point is that she wasn’t my audience. 

You need to know your ideal customer and target audience to create words they will embrace. Sarcastic humor and random song lyrics are not for everyone.

5. Open Strong.

Tell the reader what you are going to tell them – specific and clear. Make your opening line an elevator pitch. It should give the big picture view in just two to three sentences.

6. Make a Map.

It’s important for the writer to know where the words are going. Without a map, you end up chasing squirrels down rabbit holes and missing your point or losing your point in the chase.

It’s good to have strategies for writing to make your words work harder. It’s also important to practice writing even if you never share the words you craft.

More Tips to Write Better

7. recognize writing can be hard.

Writing has rules. You have to be willing to know the rules and put them into practice. You can throw words together and hope for the best, but if you want to write better then you have to invest in doing it the better way – which means rules.

8. Be Willing to Practice

Being good at anything requires investing resources to practice. The more you put the rules into play the more the rules become a natural part of your writing. The more natural the rules are, the better your writing will flow. But it will take practice.

9. Add the Finishing Touches.

When it comes to writing, you also have to be willing to put in resources to do the finishing touches. Writing is the art of words. The other elements – editing, rewriting, polishing – are how you frame the word art. 

10. Write Something.

You will never be in a position to get better if you don’t start with a word. 

11. Write Without Restrictions.

Free writing allows you to put words down without worrying about edits, spelling, or grammar. It opens the word flood gates to see what magic might appear.  If you aren’t sure how to free write, join in a Word War or Flash Fiction writing challenge. 

12. Keep Writing. 

The more you write the better you get at writing, as long as you continue to learn the rules and practice the rules. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

13. Keep a Journal.

Write about what you want to write, what you want to do, or what happened in your day. Consistent writing makes a difference not only in making your writing better but in helping you develop writing strategies for yourself and for your business.

14. Avoid the Perfection Pit

If you wait until your writing is perfect, you’ll never hit publish. Do your best. Invest in tools that can help. Read what you write before you publish it (and read it in several different formats). Accept that it will not be perfect. Either you will miss something or someone will find a reason to complain. Writing is an art, so there will be some subjectivity involved.

15. Make Time to Read.

Read in the area you write. Read outside the industry and genre. Read fiction. Read non-fiction. The more you read, and the more ways you read, the more you will begin to see the writing you enjoy which you can then transfer into your writing practices.

16. Be Authentic.

Write in your voice, or in the voice of your company. Be real and be honest. Readers will tune out to artificial words.

The best writing strategies involve implementing words in practice and purposeful paths. The more you write, the more natural the writing. Practice better writing to create better writing.

It’s also important to invest in tools that can help you enhance your writing techniques. Online tools and people tools are all necessary investments to write better.

Tips to Find Better Tools for Better Writing

 17. search for a reliable editor..

If you are on a budget, your former English teacher could help (or maybe your local librarian). You need someone well versed in the rules of writing. It helps even more to find someone that specializes in the form of writing where you are planting your flag.

18. Invest in Digital Help

better journal writing

better journal writing

better journal writing

19. Have a Review Process.

Reach out to someone else so your writing gets the second set of eyes on it. Check with the local community center, MeetUp, or library for a critic group. Start one if there isn’t one going. You need others to review your words because the more you look at what you’ve written, the more your brain will begin to fill in the blanks or correct errors left behind.

Better Writing Happens When Intentional

Better writing doesn’t happen by accident. You won’t stumble into a ditch of well-crafted sentences or targeted content. You will have to work at the words and work consistently to design better writing.

20. Set A Writing Time

When you write at a particular time every day then you will be prepared to write at the given time. Consistent habits for writing create a foundation for better writing.

21. Build a Writing Space.

Create a safe space where you can write. It should have the tools you need (either digital or old school). It should be in a place that inspires creativity. It should also be in a place where you can limit (or block) distractions.

You will write better when you are invested in the tools to help craft stronger writing.

Wrapping Up

Your words matter. You need impactful words to engage your audience. You need an audience to grow your business. It’s important to practice your writing so you can create the content and copywriting users will read, interact with, and share.

Your words connect you with your readers and direct the search engines to bring the readers to your website. It’s important you invest in better writing to make the most of those interactions. It takes more than an SEO checklist or a pile of words. The right writing strategies include practice, learning the rules, and investing in the craft as well as the art of writing.

iThemes Team

Each week, the team at iThemes team publishes new WordPress tutorials and resources, including the Weekly WordPress Vulnerability Report . Since 2008, iThemes has been dedicated to helping you build, maintain, and secure WordPress sites for yourself or for clients. Our mission? Make People’s Lives Awesome .

Other related posts

Productivity Tips for Website Owners

My very first reaction was, “That should be, ’18+ Tips on Writing WELL.” 🙂 I eventually got the irony (I hadn’t had my first cup of coffee yet).

There are a *lot* of excellent, practical tips in this article. I have found reading well written copy to be particularly helpful in my writing. Over the years, I’ve not only read it, but I started to take note of *why* I liked it, then moving to incorporate some of those styles into my own style, when appropriate of course.

I still need a great deal of improvement. When I see well written copy, it pushes me to be better myself.

Thanks for the tips!

Thanks, Jerritte!

Nice article. Really enjoy your content and webinars but just a quick question:

Can I assume the title of the article is a leading question? A hook? Do you not mean “18+ tips on writing well” or “18+ tips on writing properly”?

“18+ tips on writing good content” may be more accurate but IMO I’m not sure “18+ tips on writing good” is correct English, is it?

Just a thought. Keep up the good work 🙂

Please see the section in the post titled “Perfect Sucks.” 🙂

I hate to be that guy, but shouldn’t the title be “18 Tips on Writing Well?”

I wouldn’t normally pause to correct someone, but this being on article on writing well, I couldn’t help it.

See “Perfect Sucks” in the article. 🙂

LOL…I’m beginning to think people aren’t actually *reading* your article, Cory. Or maybe they’re just skimming it, like you point out in the article itself (i.e., we typically skim on the Internet, not read in detail). It also appears that nobody is reading the comments, considering *everyone* thus far has “corrected” the same thing.

These comments are cracking me up. 🙂

I was about to go comment about your headline and then noticed the other 2 comments that beat me to it which then lead me to continue to read down to * Perfect sucks. ???? – Way to get my attention and pull me into reading more than just the first paragraph of your article! Love it!

I enjoyed the writing tips and passed them along – thanks for the good read!

Get updates on new themes & plugins plus special discounts

About iThemes

Top Products

iThemes Media LLC Copyright © 2023 All rights reserved | Privacy Policy

A Liquid Web Brand © 2022 All Rights Reserved.

How to Write a Journal

Last Updated: March 6, 2023 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Catherine Boswell, PhD . Dr. Catherine Boswell is a Licensed Psychologist and a Co-Founder of Psynergy Psychological Associates, a private therapy practice based in Houston, Texas. With over 15 years of experience, Dr. Boswell specializes in treating individuals, groups, couples, and families struggling with trauma, relationships, grief, and chronic pain. She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Houston. Dr. Bowell has taught courses to Master’s level students at the University of Houston. She is also an author, speaker, and coach. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 213,613 times.

Journal writing is a creative form of recording your feelings free from the fear of judgement or criticism. Writing in a journal can allow you to work through complex issues in your life, exploring them thoroughly and candidly. It can also be a way of relieving stress, rather than inadvertently taking out your unexplored feelings on someone else. See Step 1 below to start writing your own journal.

Journal Entry Template

better journal writing

Starting Your Own Journal

Image titled Write a Journal Step 1

Image titled Write a Journal Step 2

Image titled Write a Journal Step 3

Image titled Write a Journal Step 4

Image titled Write a Journal Step 5

Image titled Write a Journal Step 6

Image titled Write a Journal Step 8

Writing Great Journal Entries

Image titled Write a Journal Step 9

Image titled Write a Journal Step 11

Image titled Write a Journal Step 12

Image titled Write a Journal Step 13

Expert Q&A Did you know you can get expert answers for this article? Unlock expert answers by supporting wikiHow

Catherine Boswell, PhD

Support wikiHow by unlocking this expert answer.

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

better journal writing

Things You'll Need

You Might Also Like

Write a Journal Entry

About This Article

Catherine Boswell, PhD

To write a journal entry, start by writing down the date, time, and location where you're writing. Then, let your emotions flow and write about your feelings, like your family life, crush, or dreams. Try not to overthink it by writing things down as soon as they come into your head. You can also use writing prompts. To make your entries as useful as possible, get into a routine of writing regularly. Then, review your past entries to assess your feelings with the benefit of hindsight. To see a list of some famous journal writers and get tips on how to decorate your journal, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

Reader Success Stories

Monica Sharma

Monica Sharma

Apr 11, 2017

Did this article help you?

Monica Sharma

Adele Hassanieh

Jan 6, 2017

Alexa Mahabir

Alexa Mahabir

Jan 11, 2017

Burhan Dholkawala

Burhan Dholkawala

Feb 5, 2017


Aug 22, 2017

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

Play FIFA 23 Career Mode

Trending Articles

Talk to a Girl in a Group

Watch Articles

Make Homemade Soup

wikiHow Tech Help Pro:

Level up your tech skills and stay ahead of the curve

Can ChatGPT help law students learn to write better?

By Stephanie Francis Ward

March 6, 2023, 8:38 am CST


Image from Shutterstock.

ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot that can speak and write like humans, can be weak on facts but may already be a better wordsmith than some attorneys, according to David Kemp, an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School.

“If you’re asking it to organize several concepts, or are struggling to explain something in a way that’s really understandable, it can help,” says Kemp, who also is the managing editor of Oyez , a multimedia website focused on opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The technology, created by the research lab OpenAI, seems to prefer active voice, as does Kemp. He introduced ChatGPT in an advanced legal writing class and plans to include it in a summer course about emerging technology.

David Kemp headshot

Various law schools are following suit. Legal writing faculty interviewed by the ABA Journal agree that ChatGPT writing can model good sentence structure and paragraph structure. However, some fear that it could detract from students learning good writing skills.

“If students do not know how to produce their own well-written analysis, they will not pass the bar exam,” says April Dawson, a professor and associate dean of technology and innovation at the North Carolina Central University School of Law.

Additionally, using tools such as ChatGPT for graded assessment assignments may be an ethical violation if students are not producing their own work, Dawson adds.

Regarding the accuracy issue, some academics think that ChatGPT could get better with time.

“It doesn’t have access to legal research platforms at the moment, like LexisNexis and Westlaw, so it doesn’t know caselaw that only exists in those databases,” says Ashley Armstrong, an assistant clinical professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law.

She wrote an academic paper, titled “ Who’s Afraid of ChatGPT? An Examination of ChatGPT’s Implications for Legal Writing .” Armstrong’s research includes asking for a series of legal research and writing tasks, and she says some of the responses were impressive.

For instance, her paper noted that ChatGPT was able to indentify “logical flaws” in contract clauses. Additionally, she wrote, it did a “pretty good job” summarizing facts and wrote text that sounded lawyerly.

However, accuracy was an issue, including answers for questions that she submitted about Connecticut’s Recreational Land Use Statute.

“I asked it to give me 10 cases I should look into. It did, all of which don’t exist,” says Armstrong, who used LexisNexis and Westlaw to check the cites provided.

Dyane O’Leary, an associate professor of legal writing at the Suffolk University Law School, recently assigned students in an upper-division practice skills class to draft a law clerk email advising a judge whether a motion should be granted. In class, after students did their research, they prompted the same legal question into ChatGPT and evaluated whether responses were reliable research.

“A student noted that the ChatGPT answers were great at fluff,” says O’Leary, who heads the law school’s legal innovation and technology concentration.

“As a class, we discussed that it had a lot of words in the right ballpark, but on this particular prompt, the answer was wrong,” she explains, referring to legal terms.

At the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Daniel Linna Jr. assigned students in his class focused on the law of AI and robotics to sign up for ChatGPT, try it out and share their thoughts on the discussion board.

“Almost everyone recognized it’s bad with facts but really good at writing prose,” says Linna, a senior lecturer.

He also has a joint appointment as director of law and technology at the law school and the university’s Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

A former equity partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, Linna says law firms already use tools powered by technology similar to ChatGPT.

“I have no doubt that lawyers who use these tools are drafting better contracts,” says Linna, who is also an affiliated faculty member at CodeX: The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. “As we improve the tools, they will help us write better contracts faster. It’s not just about efficiency; it’s about drafting terms that improve the speed of getting the deal done, which adds value for clients.” : “Should lawyers embrace or fear ChatGPT?” : “Does ChatGPT produce fishy briefs?” : “The Case for ChatGPT: Why lawyers should embrace AI” : “Meet Harvey, BigLaw firm’s artificial intelligence platform based on ChatGPT”

Related topics:

Law firms | law schools | practice management | law professors | law students | technology | careers | career & practice | legal writing | legal education | artificial intelligence & robotics, you might also like:.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.

Topics: career & practice.

better journal writing

First lawyer who advised Jan. 6 witness Cassidy Hutchinson should face ethics probe, group tells regulators

better journal writing

How Shakespeare’s 'Hamlet' can shed light on legal bias

better journal writing

Family law gave this lawyer some ideas about what clients really want

better journal writing

Mental Health Benefits of Journaling

Journaling is the act of keeping a record of your personal thoughts, feelings, insights, and more. It can be written, drawn, or typed. It can be on paper or on your computer. It’s a simple, low-cost way of improving your mental health. 

It isn’t easy to start journaling. It can feel like work, and the expectation of writing every day may deter some people. But the positive effects of journaling can be felt even if it’s not done daily. 

Benefits of Journaling

Whether you’re dealing with stress from school, burnout from work, an illness, or anxiety, journaling can help in many ways: 

It can reduce your anxiety. Journaling about your feelings is linked to decreased mental distress. In a study, researchers found that those with various medical conditions and anxiety who wrote online for 15 minutes three days a week over a 12-week period had increased feelings of well-being and fewer depressive symptoms after one month. Their mental well-being continued to improve during the 12 weeks of journaling.

It helps with brooding. Writing about an emotional event can help you break away from the nonstop cycle of obsessively thinking and brooding over what happened — but the timing matters. Some studies show that writing about a traumatic event immediately after it happens may actually make you feel worse.

It creates awareness. Writing down your feelings about a difficult situation can help you understand it better. The act of putting an experience into words and structure allows you to form new perceptions about events.

It regulates emotions. Brain scans of people who wrote about their feelings showed that they were able to control their emotions better than those who wrote about a neutral experience. This study also found that writing about feelings in an abstract way was more calming than writing vividly. 

It encourages opening up. Writing privately about a stressful event could encourage some to reach out for social support. This can help with emotional healing.

It can speed up physical healing. Journaling may also have an impact on physical health. A study on 49 adults in New Zealand found that those who wrote for 20 minutes about their feelings on upsetting events healed faster after a biopsy than those who wrote about daily activities. Similarly, college students who wrote about stressful events were less likely to get sick compared to those who wrote about neutral topics like their room.

Women with breast cancer who wrote positively or expressively about their experience with the disease had fewer physical symptoms and fewer cancer-related medical appointments. But researchers also noted that writing about negative emotions may increase anxiety and depression levels.

How to Start Journaling

Try it on paper first. Writing with pen and paper helps you process your feelings better. It’s also easier to add drawings to paper. But go with whatever you’re more comfortable with and is more convenient for you. ‌

Make it a habit. Pick a time of the day that’s good for you. It could be the first thing you do when you wake up or the last thing you do before going to sleep.

Keep it simple. When you’re first starting out, keep it simple. Journal only for a few minutes and set a timer.  ‌

Do what feels right. There’s no hard-and-fast rule on what you should write. It’s your space to create whatever you want to express your feelings. Don’t worry about spelling or sentence structure or what other people might think. Some people may prefer to write only if something is bothering them, but you should do what feels right for you.

Write on anything. While a beautiful notebook might inspire some, it can intimidate others. But it doesn’t matter what you write on. It could be a specific journal, random scraps of paper, or your phone. If you don’t feel like writing, you could even try a voice memo. ‌

Get creative. You might not be sure where to start with journaling or you might be reluctant if you’re not fond of writing. But journaling doesn’t have to be just about writing sentences. Try different formats. Write lists, make poetry, compose a song, write a letter, draw some art, or try bullet journaling. You can also find journaling prompts online that might inspire you.

Try expressive writing. Writing about an event that was stressful or emotional for you may be more beneficial to your mental health than just diary writing.

Start a gratitude journal. Giving thanks is good for your mental health. Start off by listing three things that you’re grateful for. These can be small things like a walk in the park, a delicious cup of coffee, or good weather. You can make a list or write full sentences. Details may help you relive the positive moments of your day. How did the sunshine feel on your face? What feelings did the smell of coffee bring?

Don’t set your expectations too high. A journal isn’t going to solve all your problems. It isn’t a therapist or counselor. But it can help you learn more about yourself. 

Health Solutions from Our Sponsors

More from WebMD

better journal writing

Jana | February 28, 2023 March 6, 2023 | List of Prompts

21 Fun And Silly Pirate Writing Prompts

21 Fun and Creative Pirate Writing Prompts — Pirates have a reputation for a lot of things, but being great writers is not one of them. Finding pirate-themed writing prompts that are fun and silly can be a challenge, so we wrote some new, original, and great ideas to provide your student writers with fun pirate writing prompts. Take a look now and enjoy!

Pirate Writing Prompts

Avast ye, matey! A pirate’s life is full of excitement and adventure, but it’s far from easy. (Imagine fighting off rivals with a wooden leg and an eyepatch!)

Now… Everyone dreams of finding a treasure map that leads to untold riches, and with a pen in your hand, you, too, can be in the midst of an exhilarating ordeal. 

With these writing prompts, you can talk about all the fun you’d have while sailing the seven seas. You better get to writing, or you’ll have to walk the plank and be sent straight to Davy Jones’s locker.

21 Creative Pirate Writing Prompts

Kids Writing Prompts about Pirates

Writing about pirates is a surefire way to set your creativity in motion and teach you how to write about adventure and fantasy. We hope these pirate prompts help you create spectacular stories that make you the talk of the classroom. Time to set sail!

More Writing Resources

Until next time, write on…

If you enjoyed these  Pirate Writing Prompts , please share them on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest. I appreciate it!

Sincerely, Jill creator and curator

Pirate Themed Writing Ideas

Tap to See Prompts 47 Free Ocean Writing Ideas to Inspire 35 Fantasy Writing Prompts 49 Excellent Adventure Story Ideas (Newly Updated) ------------Start of Om Added --------- @media (min-width: 320px) and (max-width: 767px) { .inside-right-sidebar { display: none !important; } } Featured Posts

Writing Promtps for Women's History Month

Tap to See Prompts 47 Free Ocean Writing Ideas to Inspire 35 Fantasy Writing Prompts 49 Excellent Adventure Story Ideas (Newly Updated) Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7-8 Grade 9-12 All Ages ------------End of Om Added --------- Tags Creative Writing , creative writing prompts , Fun Writing Prompts , new writing prompts , Pirate , Prirate Writing Prompts , writing , writing ideas , Writing Ideas for Kids , writing prompts , writing prompts for kids , writing prompts for students , writing topics div#postbottom { margin-top: 12px; } Featured Posts

Two writing students laugh about the comics they've created in class.

BA Writing & Literature

Cultivate your creative writing potential and literary analysis skills in an inspiring, intensive studio environment.

The living art of writing and literature

Our program emphasizes the historical knowledge of literature, interdisciplinary exploration, and critical inquiry to help you create original work. Situated in one of the best art and design schools in the country, creativity and innovation are at the heart of everything we do. Students learn to develop their individual voices through workshops in prose, poetry, drama, screenwriting, graphic novels, improvisation, and more. They incorporate visual art into their own writing as they work on a thesis manuscript.

BA writing student award winners pose with their book cover art.

Immersed in the Bay Area’s rich literary history

The Bay Area has long been home to exciting literary communities, from the San Francisco Renaissance and Beat poetry movement to New Narrative and Slam/Spoken Word. During any given week, there are dozens of reading series students can attend. It’s this vibrant literary scene, combined with our art and design backdrop, that makes our Writing and Literature program so unique.

Student work

better journal writing

Spirit Parts (1 of 2)

Carina Espudo

Writing & Literature

Class of 2021

better journal writing

Spirit Parts (2 of 2)

better journal writing

MADLIKE! (1 of 3)

Jevohn Newsome

Class of 2019

better journal writing

MADLIKE! (2 of 3)

better journal writing

MADLIKE! (3 of 3)

better journal writing

Realm of the Hidden Doors (1 of 4)

Zoe Thompson-Brooks

better journal writing

Realm of the Hidden Doors (2 of 4)

better journal writing

Realm of the Hidden Doors (3 of 4)

better journal writing

Realm of the Hidden Doors (4 of 4)

better journal writing

In Search of Wunjo (1 of 4)

Joy Melançon

better journal writing

In Search of Wunjo (2 of 4)

better journal writing

In Search of Wunjo (3 of 4)

better journal writing

In Search of Wunjo (4 of 4)

better journal writing

Writing students having fun in a comics workshop

better journal writing

Spring 2018 Humble Pie staff

better journal writing

Zoey Gassner reading her work at Humble Pie

better journal writing

Chess McWilliams at HearSay reading series (9 Oct. 2018)

Chess McWilliams

better journal writing

MFA Writing student reading her work

better journal writing

Writing Room entrance at the 2019 Commencement Exhibition

better journal writing

Ceramics paired w with writing (cylinders)

better journal writing

Fish ceramics paired with writing

better journal writing

Senior reading in A2 Cafe, Oakland

Rebecca Henry

Class of 2018

better journal writing

Fall 2017 Humble Pie staff in the classroom

better journal writing

Poet Joseph Lease reading from "The Body Ghost" during the Fall 2018 HearSay reading series (9 Oct. 2018)

better journal writing

Student reading

Studios & Shops

Work within many modes and genres.

A creative writing degree is an investment in your development as a writer and reader. You’ll have the opportunity to practice image-making, meter, and other poetic gestures; character development and fiction forms; lyric essays, literary journalism, travel writing, hybrid narratives, and more.

Your workshop submissions in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction will be informed by close readings and analyses of writing that spans movements. We read the Romantics, Gothic literature, non-Western traditions, graphic novels—we read everything. Courses focused on literary writing by a single author, such as Walt Whitman or Octavia Butler, allow us to dive deeper into diverse perspectives and critical theory.

Our curriculum also includes four open electives, giving you the freedom to explore different disciplines such as community arts, printmaking, painting and drawing, and illustration.

Take a tour of our Writing & Literature Classrooms

Connect with published writers and literary organizations

Our students learn what it’s like to live and work as a writer through internships with Bay Area literary organizations. Within our classrooms and workshops, guest lecturers and faculty—all widely published—guide students through the fundamental steps for publication.

Your writing life at CCA

Spaces to inspire your creative writing

A student works on a drawing in the 2D Drawing Studio.

Experiment with charcoal, ink, and paint in the Painting & Drawing Studios

A person holds a large flat box of ink-covered wooden letters.

The Book Arts workspace at the San Francisco Center for the Book features lithography presses, bookbinding tools, and more

San Francisco Media Center staff and equipment.

Check out DSLR cameras, lighting kits, tablets, and other photo equipment from the Media Center

Work with small presses and arts education institutions

Our faculty are accomplished scholars, prose writers, poets, nonfiction writers, and playwrights. They publish New York Times best-sellers, mount exhibitions, and even write libretti for operas. Students benefit from their diverse practices during small workshops and one-on-one sessions.

Chair Anne Shea is a researcher and widely published writer. Her teaching and research expertise include twentieth century and twenty-first century North American literature, as well as English composition. Shea’s essays have been published by scholarly and peer-reviewed journals, such as MELUS , Contemporary Literature , and Women’s Studies . Her writing on contemporary art has appeared in X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly and n.paradox: international feminist art journal . Currently, Shea’s working on a book about documentary poetry and neoliberal violence.

Eric Olson, Associate Chair of Writing and Literature

Eric Olson, Associate Chair of Writing and Literature

Associate Chair Eric Olson is a fiction writer who teaches courses in literature, creative writing, academic writing, and literary theory. He is the author of The Procession of Mollusks , a novel published in 2009 by Astrophil Press. Olson is the former associate editor for Conjunctions , an online literary journal that champions experimental writing.

Faculty work

better journal writing

The Bohemians

Jasmin Darznik

Writing, Writing & Literature

better journal writing

La Puerta del Circulo Polar Artico

Juvenal Acosta

better journal writing

A World of Calm (1 of 2)

Faith Adiele

better journal writing

A World of Calm (2 of 2)

better journal writing

How Proust Ruined My Life

Gloria Frym

better journal writing

Old Snow, White Sun

Caroline Goodwin

Faculty stories


We think with our hands

Develop your writing into works of art.

Writing and Literature at CCA is a combination of forms workshops, open electives, and topical courses on theory, visual arts, and historical and modern authors and techniques. The program is designed to help you develop your writing into publishable works of art through individualized attention and access to one of the country’s most dynamic literary communities. View sample courses .

Investigate ideas through every dimension

Before diving into their chosen major, every undergraduate participates in the First Year Experience. Students explore a wide range of materials and tools over the course of two semesters. Faculty from different disciplines guide studio projects, group critiques, and theoretical discussions, setting students up for success throughout their major coursework.

Core Studio

Writing & literature major requirements, additional studio requirements, humanities & sciences requirements.

Total 120.0 units

Your future as a writer and artist

Our students emerge from the Writing and Literature program with highly transferable skills in critical thinking and oral and written communication. Alumni secure positions at newspapers, literary nonprofits, small-press publishers, and advertising agencies. Many have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in creative writing, education, law, and library science.

Potential career paths

Learn about career development

News & Events

What’s happening in the writing community.

163A5361_TracyKSmith_Writer Series - The biggest names in art and criticism

Meet the biggest names in literature

Portrait of Kim Shuck, Poet Laureate of San Francisco, CA and CCA diversity studies faculty.

How to Apply

Learn the craft of writing in a supportive community.

Our students are excited to study various styles and formal techniques with acclaimed writers. They want to stretch their creative writing skills in intimate workshops and establish industry connections at prominent presses and journals. Inspired by CCA’s resources for fine arts and design, students are comfortable going beyond the written page to make compelling work. As thoughtful readers, collaborators, and community members, they’re prepared to flourish in many professional spheres that require critical thinking and literary inventiveness.

Learn about undergraduate admissions

Find your creative community at CCA

Related programs

Various books on a wooden table.

Writing Coach & College Admissions Essay Counselor

Empowering students and professionals to write since 2004.

college board.jpg

Why hire a writing coach?

Craft an unforgettable admission essay to unlock the doors to your top choice colleges, universities, and graduate programs.

Develop the necessary compositional skills to succeed in your dream schools. Build the necessary confidence and organizational techniques to arrive ready to succeed.

Find the right words to do justice to your ideas. Whether building your brand or launching your next project, I bring a wealth of experience in crafting a message for maximum impact.

Whether revamping a resume or pivoting within a career, standing out on paper remains essential. Transform yourself into the ideal candidate and land the job you deserve.



  1. Why You Should Start a Journal This Year

    better journal writing

  2. ELIfe: Journal Writing as a Way of Clearing Your Mind

    better journal writing

  3. Journaling. Trying to get better by all means!! : Handwriting

    better journal writing

  4. Writing Better Journal Entries

    better journal writing

  5. The Power of Journal Writing

    better journal writing

  6. How I Plan a Book, Part 5: Writing Journals

    better journal writing


  1. Journaling can support writing fiction #journaling #writing #fiction

  2. Start writing a Journal!

  3. Journal with Me

  4. How can you make a better journal than this?!?😱🔥

  5. How to Start Writing Journal

  6. Daily Pages


  1. How to Journal

    Yes, journal writing is a field of work! People use the journaling process for many reasons, including to: stimulate a healthier mind and body vent and express thoughts and feelings in a healthy, constructive manner increase self-awareness create clarity for decision-making track progress and personal growth celebrate successes

  2. How Journaling Can Help You in Hard Times

    How to start a journaling practice While you can journal in many different ways, one of the most well-studied techniques is called Expressive Writing. To do this, you write continuously for 20 minutes about your deepest thoughts and emotions around an issue in your life.

  3. 32 Tips for Better Journal Writing

    General Techniques for Better Journal Writing 1. Write every day. 2. Aim for a set number of lines or pages everyday. 3. Fire your censors. Mute your internal editor. You're writing for no one but yourself. 4. Use a trigger phrase to get started. For example, "Good morning," "Here's what happened," etc. 5.

  4. Keeping a Journal Makes You a Better Writer

    Keeping a journal makes you a better writer. The more you write, the better your writing becomes. That's not an opinion; it's a fact. Experience breeds expertise, so if you write a lot, you'll become an expert writer. Writing every day is the best way to acquire lots of experience. Writers who come to the craft out of passion never have a ...

  5. Types & Examples of Journal Writing

    Travel log. Road journals and adventure tales are classic forms of nonfiction and fiction. You don't have to be Jack Kerouac to take on keeping a travel log when you visit someplace new—you just must want to write about the sights and sounds of your adventure as you experience it. Gratitude journal. If you're looking for a way to see the ...

  6. The Power of Journaling

    The Power of Journaling. Overcoming a painful past usually involves sharing one's story and the associated feelings. Developing insight into past hurts, and connecting the dots between then and now enables one to make better choices moving forward. Journal writing is a powerful tool that opens the path to greater insight and self-knowledge.

  7. How to Write Better: 15 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills

    Keep a journal Being a better writer means writing more! Keeping a journal should be a very low-pressure thing. It can be as simple as writing a list of things you did that day, playing around with word choice for a LinkedIn headline, or recounting a conversation you had with a friend.

  8. Journal Writing: Purpose, Types, Importance & Benefits

    Keeping an everyday account of day-to-day routine through journaling betters us as a person as it helps us identify our previous mistakes or the wrong decisions taken and helps improve our writing skills as well. 1. Improves Writing Practice makes a man perfect is true. Hence, the more you practice writing, the better you get at writing.

  9. The Benefits of Keeping a Reading Journal

    The Benefits of a Reading Journal. Keeping a reading journal: Increases retention. Forces you to contemplate the material you've read and then articulate your thoughts about it. Allows you to study and analyze the material from a writer's perspective. Provides a time and space for writing practice. Provides a list of books you've read for ...

  10. 5 Powerful Ways Journal Writing Changes Your Life

    Here are 5 smart reasons why you should start a journal today. 1. Journals Help You Connect to Your Values, Emotions, and Goals By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better.

  11. 15 Benefits of Journaling and Tips for Getting Started

    Journaling has a range of benefits. Just writing a few minutes a day may help you reduce stress, boost your well-being, and better understand your needs. Journaling provides a concrete method...

  12. Journal Writing: Benefits, Examples & Prompts

    Journal writing can also provide you with the opportunity to: Become more confident about writing. Broaden your perspective about topics. Gather material for later essays. Identify progress in ...

  13. 5 Benefits of Journaling for Mental Health

    Journaling for Stress Management Journaling can support coping and reduce the impact of stressful events - potentially avoiding burnout and chronic anxiety. Studies link writing privately about stressful events and capturing thoughts and emotions on paper with decreased mental distress.

  14. How to Start and Keep a Journal: Complete Journal Writing Guide

    How to Start and Keep a Journal: Complete Journal Writing Guide. On some level, a motive for all writing is self-expression. Journaling is an effective way to keep in contact with your own thoughts, improve your writing ability, and develop disciplined writing habits.

  15. How to Write Better: 5 Benefits of Journaling

    Journals are a great way to catalogue the everyday events of your life as well as formulate and record new creative ideas as they occur to you. Journals are an invaluable place for you to practice your craft as a writer and develop your writing skills.

  16. Therapeutic Journaling

    In contrast, therapeutic journaling is an internal process of using the written word to express the full range of emotions, reactions, and perceptions we have related to difficult, upsetting, or traumatic life events. Along the way, this can mean writing ourselves to better emotional and physical health and a greater sense of well-being.

  17. Learn how to start journaling. It's a ritual worth the time

    One of the best ways to express gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal and writing down things you're thankful for. Gratitude is proven to activate areas of the brain that are connected to positive emotions. Feeling grateful also overpowers negative emotions, boosts optimism, and makes you more compassionate. 4.

  18. How to Write Better Papers and Get Published in Chemistry Europe Journals

    Place essential findings and keywords in the first two sentences of your abstract. Only the first two sentences normally display in search engine results. Repeat your keywords 3-6 times. Don't forget the purpose of your abstract is to clearly and concisely express the key points of your research.

  19. Writing to heal

    Writing is no stranger to therapy. For years, practitioners have used logs, questionnaires, journals and other writing forms to help people heal from stresses and traumas. Now, new research suggests expressive writing may also offer physical benefits to people battling terminal or life-threatening diseases. Studies by those in the forefront of ...

  20. 17 Journaling Tips For Beginners (And How To Start)

    Start an art journal and express your emotions with daily sketches and doodles that incorporate some writing. Experiment with writing on paper, on a laptop or on your smartphone and find whatever works best for you. 2. You don't have to write first thing in the morning

  21. Writing Strategies: 20 Tips to Write Better

    Perfect practice makes perfect. 13. Keep a Journal. Write about what you want to write, what you want to do, or what happened in your day. Consistent writing makes a difference not only in making your writing better but in helping you develop writing strategies for yourself and for your business. 14.

  22. PDF 1,000 Word Creative Writing Workbook

    • practice writing their own descriptive sentences and paragraphs • read "Among the Stars," from Bluefire 2014 and discuss the story through the lens of descriptive language • begin to develop a creative writing piece from a series of prompts • share pieces of their own writing, receive feedback on their work, and offer advice and

  23. How to Write a Journal: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

    Start your first entry by setting the scene. To begin writing in your journal, label your first entry with the date, time and, optionally, location. For instance, you might start with "Monday, January 1, 1.00p.m., Bedroom". Next, if you'd like to, write a salutation. Many journal-writers like to use "Dear Journal" or a similar greeting to start ...

  24. Can ChatGPT help law students learn to write better?

    March 6, 2023, 8:38 am CST. Image from Shutterstock. ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot that can speak and write like humans, can be weak on facts but may already be a better wordsmith ...

  25. How Journaling Can Help Ease Anxiety and Encourage Healing

    SOURCES: Advances in Psychiatric Treatment: "Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing.". Cleveland Clinic: "4 Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal." Harvard Health ...

  26. 21 Fun And Silly Pirate Writing Prompts •

    21 Fun and Creative Pirate Writing Prompts — Pirates have a reputation for a lot of things, but being great writers is not one of them.Finding pirate-themed writing prompts that are fun and silly can be a challenge, so we wrote some new, original, and great ideas to provide your student writers with fun pirate writing prompts.

  27. Creative Writing & Literature BA

    Associate Chair Eric Olson is a fiction writer who teaches courses in literature, creative writing, academic writing, and literary theory. He is the author of The Procession of Mollusks, a novel published in 2009 by Astrophil Press. Olson is the former associate editor for Conjunctions, an online literary journal that champions experimental ...

  28. Daniel Lichterman Writing Coach and College Admission Essay Counselor

    Let's talk about your writing needs 415-444-6907 [email protected] Available for online writing coaching in the US and internationally Available for in-person coaching in the San Francisco Bay Area