Wooff asks: I plan on being a writer. Writers are people who are changing the world. They fascinate me. But you see, my thoughts go all over the place and I lose the main point and… aghh, it’s all a mess. And I am a very lazy person, which is bad because I spend most of the time on the computer. I want to write on my diary. Do you think I should keep a journal? How do I pursue my passion?
Hi Wooff –
You ask me so many great questions, and I usually give you long, complex answers. Here’s an exception: Should you keep a journal?
I have a few reasons.
First, since your thoughts “go all over the place,” a journal is a great way to keep things simple and straightforward. Write down the things that you did, or that happened to you, every day, and your thoughts about them. It shouldn’t take more than fifteen to thirty minutes, except when you have a whole lot to say. This way you’ll get lots of great experience in writing, with no concerns about what teachers or audiences or even your friends think about it.
Second, writers often talk about wanting to develop a
“voice.” With just a quick glance, anyone can tell the difference between writing by Shakespeare, Hemingway, Cervantes, and Austen (even in translation). Journaling is a great way of letting that voice grow, since everything you write will be about you and your feelings.
Third, it’s so cool to have a record of your life and thoughts! Think of how we dogs use fire hydrants – always checking to see who was there and what they’d been up to. Well that journal can be your personal fire hydrant! And years from now, how cool it’ll be to have these years recorded so honestly! (Maybe it’s a better comparison to say you’re burying tasty bones to enjoy later!)
And fourth, my favorite: You want to become a writer? Well a journal, besides being a record of your life, serves as a superb collection of story ideas! Of the ten things that happen to you today, how many could make a great story, or play, or novel, or movie? But you might not see it just yet. It might be years from now that you realize that this experience is just the thing you want to write about.
I know a person who wanted to write a book about an experience they’d had that covered over ten years. There was no way they could have done it without having had a journal to refer to. For months, they went through that journal, taking out each bit that pertained to the story. And while they were doing this, they relived every emotion they’d experienced at that time. Every time they fell in love, every time they got hurt… all of that. So in the end, they didn’t only get the book written, but managed to relive a decade of their life, and learn a ton about it!
So yes, my friend. Start that journal right away. And consider this the beginning of your brilliant career!