“The friend at the end of the pen.” This is a chapter title in Kathleen Adams’ book, Journal to the Self. She outlines many good reasons to journal and the proven benefits of the practice. 

My favorite of her compelling reasons is that journaling can help you discover the writer within. There’s no pressure to check your grammar, use the perfect synonym, or even to construct a caboose for the end of your train of thought—you are writing just for you. 

“I used to journal.”  I often hear that during conversations with people who are thinking about writing a book or have started (but gotten stuck). 

Several people whom I’ve helped to finish writing a book and get published relied heavily on past journal notes. Their journals were gold mines to explore. They uncovered writings to sift through and polish—scenes and emotions captured in the moment that are priceless.  Here are just a few examples: 

Conquering Chordoma Cancer: An Uncommon Journey (Susan L. Garbett)

Shifts: More than 30 true stories and life lessons from twenty-four years as a cop on the beat (Stratis Skoufalos)

National Park Artist: Artist-in-Residency Experiences (Susan J. Klein) 

A Boston Marathon Journey: from average runner to amazing life (Jackie Kellner)

Wow. Just bringing these stories and beautiful people to mind (who were not “writers” but became successful authors) makes my heart race. Book journeys are incredibly exciting and rewarding to experience.  

Back to my recommendation for you: try journaling every day. It’s good for you, whatever you end up doing with your journal entries.  It helps to manage stress, enhance creativity, increase happiness, improve health, and increase work performance. 

Maybe your lifestyle is not suited to pen and paper, and that’s fine. You can type on your PC or tablet. And, I have some great news for you: there are excellent “Journaling Apps” out there to make it easy. Check out at least a few of these options because any one of them WILL help you to establish a daily writing routine.  

Best Journaling Apps: 

-Day One (for Mac and iOS users)

-Five Minute Journal  

-Penzu (for secure journaling) 

-Diarium (Windows users)

-Grid Diary  

You can find free apps or very low-cost ones, depending on the features. Paper and pen are fine for journaling, but if you need support, apps offer more. They give you more context on what you’ve accomplished and where you might want to go. They also let you include photos from your phone or posts from your social media feeds to make the journaling experience more rewarding. Add in reminders and the ability to search your journal entries and, well…it means there is no reason to put journaling off one more day! 

You may find out for yourself, like one of my best-selling authors said about journaling: “It’s where a lot of the best ideas in my writing originate.”

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