The other day, while watching one of my favorite cooking shows, a chef shared a rather unusual "technique" that he feels enhances his meal preparations.
Much to my surprise, this culinary cutie revealed that he keeps a Kitchen Journal where he records his experiences with new recipes, products, variations and substitutions on ingredients, and the results of general experimentation in his "kitchen laboratory" for future reference.
Novel idea, I thought to myself. I would imagine that it allows him to save time and be more strategic in his cooking approach.
Which got my thoughts to "brewing," in terms of the usefulness of journaling, particularly for today's writer.
For as long as I can remember, I have kept one off and on.
My stash is comprised of big ones, little ones, ones without locks, ones with, lined pages, blank pages...red, pink, yellow, blue, black, multi-colored...well, you get the idea here.
What I've discovered is, not only are journals great for chronicling matters of the heart, they're terrific for capturing emotional growth, spiritual struggles, childhood memories, future dreams, travel adventures, conversations, observations, quotes, and other slices of life. This can eventually morph into essays, articles, memoirs, poems, and other creative pieces. Which can ultimately get you published and paid!
And I should know. My journal "scribblings" have found their way into several chapters of Simon and Schuster's popular anthology for women, "Chocolate for a Woman's Heart," while others served as the foundation for columns, commentary pieces, and heartfelt letters.
How about you?
Here are a few different types of journals I've logged in and maintained over the years:
- A Creative Journal--To brainstorm and outline ideas
- A Financial Journal--To record writing expenses and spending patterns
- A Blessings Journal--To remain mindful of all the positive aspects of my life
- A Relationship Journal--To "listen" to my woes, and avoid becoming a nuisance to my friends, to record special memories, to laugh and cry on paper
- A Home Journal--To keep up with repairs and scheduled maintenance for things like the furnace, gutters, etc. and to document my experience with certain companies and service providers
Besides being therapeutic, journaling can help to shape and mature your writing, and combat periodic writer's block.
"Try it. You might like it."
Curious to know...
Do you journal?
Why or why not?
How does it enhance your creative process? Do tell...