Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Post by Mariana Ashley

Writing about writing: 
The importance of a writing journal 

by Mariana Ashley

At one point I wrote so much I felt as though I was going crazy.

On top of my freelance writing duties, I try to write a little bit of my own fiction on the side every day or at least a few times a week. If I’m really on a roll, I could be writing over 3000 words a day counting my professional writing and the fiction that I do in my spare time. I wish I had more of those days, but sometimes I just don’t have the energy to produce content constantly.

About a year ago, amidst a particularly grueling week of writing, I found read a post from some writing blog (I can’t remember the name for the life of me) that advocated for keeping up a writing journal. Is this person out of their mind? I thought. I’m putting in tons of hours to write for work and for my own personal enjoyment, and now it’s expected that I keep up a journal too? How could a person possibly cope with that much time in front of a page? 

Despite my misgivings, I tried keeping a journal on the side of everything else. The post made it very clear that this writing journal was meant solely for you to express how you were feeling at that moment, no matter what was on your mind. Relationships, writing habits, career ambitions, and general musings were all fair game. The writing journal isn’t about sketching out a new story or figuring out the next plot point in your novel; it’s time for you to reflect on you.

According to the blogger, the point of the writing journal was for you to wrestle with any emotions or troubles that kept you from making progress or breaking through on your other work. Rather than sublimate and dismiss any negative emotions, you could feel free to write them out in full in the journal.

I can’t even begin to articulate what the writing journal did for me. I had been plagued with doubt about so many writing projects at the time that it had seriously affected the quality and quantity of my writing. Once I started working out those doubts and inhibitions on paper, I could see clearly that the things that worried me and kept me up at night had no basis in reality—they were just negative thoughts that kept me from taking serious leaps in my work. I worried too much about how people would receive my writing rather than take the time to actually develop and shape it. Seeing these thoughts splayed out on the journal was like a revelation.

Now I write in my writing journal almost every day. It’s an indispensable tool for keeping my emotions in check and staying level headed when the writing process because particularly grueling and difficult. I recommend a writing journal for any writer, if just to get in touch with your emotions.

Do you keep a journal of any sort? I’d love to hear about it!

BIO: This guest post is brought to you by Mariana Ashley, a prolific blogger who provides web content to a number of blogs and websites. She's most interested in providing guidance to prospective college students who wish to attend online colleges in Montana. When she's not writing or researching online education trends, she enjoys riding her horse, George, and spending quality time with her four nieces. Mariana welcomes your questions and comments at

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