7 reasons to start journaling and inspire a book idea
7 reasons to start journaling and inspire a book idea

7 reasons to start journaling and inspire a book idea

Journaling has been a part of my life it seems forever. At times of deep personal sadness, I have journaled my way to clarity and sanity. It’s a habit that I am deeply grateful for. The way I journal has changed, as you would expect. In my early days, there was an outpouring of stuff so dark it would block the sun. I poured out my heart and soul. I wrote prose and short stories to help me to make sense of the horror story I found myself in.

As time went on, I created journaling exercises which help me to make sense of this sticky stuff. The stories made me laugh as each person met a rather unpleasant end and life was viewed with a greater understanding.

What I found was that as long as I was writing in some way, I was journaling. That might be in one of my many journals, via a blog or in a book. It didn’t seem to matter if it was with my pen or on my computer. But what helps me most is journaling with pen and paper and don’t get me started on the kind of journal I like to write in or my fixation with pens…

The benefits of journaling as well documented and if it’s something that you have never tried, and many people do resist, create a ritual of buying a beautiful book to write in. Start with merely observing life. You will find that as you write, your muse will take over and other thoughts will tumble out.

I’ve discovered many an idea for a chapter or book through journaling.

Here are 7 reasons to start journaling.  There’s something very satisfying about getting words onto paper and giving yourself time to think.

Journaling helps you to gain clarity about your life

As you write in a journal you become more aware of what is really going on around you.  When you reflect what you have written you see things more clearly.  I find that when I am confused about something, it’s best to drag out a journal and write it down. I also ask some questions, leave it for a day and I usually find the answers come to me the following day or whilst I am walking the dogs.

Life clarity is a key ingredient in your book. Why? Because when you are writing a memoir or personal story, it helps if you can make sense of what is going on and how that relates to your story.

Journaling is the best almost free self-help tool available

For the cost of a pad of paper (ok a beautiful journal) and a pen, you have a trusted friend and confidante who will not criticise you, tell you what to do, call you names, think that your ideas are nuts, that this book will never sell or any number of things.  Your journal is a silent witness for you to share your innermost thoughts and emotions.

As you write a book, you will often find your stuff coming back up. When you journal at the same time it will help you once again make sense. Plus when ‘who am I to…’ comes up, you can dig deeper to find out why.

Reduces stress

One of the things that I have discovered is that once I have journaled and the words are etched on the paper, they are out of my head and subsequently I can see things from another perspective.  There is something cathartic about journaling and getting it all out that really helps to let things go. I also walk after writing and that grounds whatever is going on.

There is no expression like self-expression

Sometimes we have a dialogue running through our heads which is not useful. It may be that you are spending a lot of time writing your book and your partner is overstepping your boundaries. You feel torn, you want your book and you want to give them your time. It can be useful to write down and observe what is really going on. To dig deeper and see if there are any repeating patterns, where for example, you do not truly value what you are doing and that you allow others to break your boundaries.

Journaling will help you to uncover this stuff and you can practice the healthy conversation that you not only need to hold with your heart you can practise the one with the person stepping on your desires.

Write about what is going and then hold the conversation, looking at all perspectives on paper.  Then write what you would really like in an assertive way.  Several things happen.  One you have already had the conversation so it’s easier the second time around. Because you have had time to reflect you can really consider your language and think about what you want from the conversation, without blame. You may find that there is something deeper that you need to deal with and can put plans in place to sort that out.

Know yourself better

As with the above, it could be that you start to see repeated patterns of behaviour or types of conversations that are never resolved.  As you read and reflect these become obvious and allow you to decide how you want to make changes. There is something quite ‘amusing’ about witnessing yourself doing the same things with the same results. Now you can give yourself a doh and find ways to break the pattern. It also reminds me of why I am doing what I am doing and confirms that I am on the right life path.

When writing a book, you will find that, for example, if you are procrastinating why. Writer’s block is never about writing, it is always about what is going on in your life.

Increases creativity

When you write you will start to notice your vocabulary increases.  The way in which you write and think starts to come out and before you know it, your inner voice awakens.  Not only that the way in which you solve problems changes.

It’s the starting point for your memoirs or personal story

Your memoir or personal story does deserve to be told. Where better to find your inspiration that inside your journal.  When you are stuck for ideas, look in your journal.

Your book could change someone else’s life. It will definitely change yours. Here is your special mission. Go and find a set of four beautiful journals. Check out the quality of the paper. Feel them, smell them and ensure that they want to come home and share your life with you. Keep one for your book ideas and one for life, make up something for the other two.

Start writing today. Start with these writing prompts. You never know where this adventure may take you. I hope that you find inspiration and decide to write a book.


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Dale Darley

Strategist, Coach, writer and author. Helping you to make sense of your ideas and personal stories so that you can create simple strategic direction and design the right products and services for your business. Mum to three dogs and a family of swallows. Life without cake is a life unlived.

  • Esther Nagle says:

    This morning I restarted my morning pages, which I have neglected for some time. I realised that when I write with pen and paper, my inner critic and editor both shut the hell up, something they refuse to do at the laptop. 3 pages of A4 paper in about 40 minutes just flowed…most of it wouldn’t stand up to someone else reading it, but I bet if I write my blog posts like that i will find it much easier!

    I am going to do more journaling because I bet that I will find some real gems in my morning rambling that will be able to either tell me more about myself, or inspire me to create something epic, or maybe both!

    My recovery came, in part at least, out of the power of writing. While the essays I wrote as part of my Yoga teacher training weren’t meant to be journals, I ended up treating them as such, and pouring my very soul into them. I often would find myself staring in amazement at the screen, astonished at the words I had just written, at the unrealised insight I had gained through my writing. It is powerful stuff indeed. Often when I am blogging, I find that I end up writing words I myself need to read, lessons I need to learn, rather than lessons I feel adequately qualified to give to others.

    There is definitely some real magic in the alchemy that happens when you connect a human soul to words on a page!

  • Lottie says:

    Thanks for this Dale, I journal and find it a really useful practice, but have never thought of using it as prompts for writing my book. Since the recent sessions I did with you I feel so much more focussed on my book content – maybe it’s time I started paying more attention to what’s coming out on the pages of my journal

  • It is amazing how much a journal can bring things to mind we didn’t even realize we were thinking. Also the more you write, the better you get at it. Finding your voice as a writer requires that you write and write and write. Journaling helps you develop that voice and creates confidence. Great article. I look forward to seeing more.

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