Journaling can be such an essential part of the writing process. Whether it’s taking notes every day, every week, or over the course of a month, I keep a specific notebook to pair with a manuscript, world, or story that I’m developing. This is in addition to personal notebook-journals as well.
The benefits of journaling are great, it can provide clarity, a venting space, a spot to collect lists and mind-maps. It’s no secret that private journaling can be therapeutic and offer relaxation, hope, and understanding to the writer. For instance, practicing gratitude affirmations in a diary can reduce anxiety and provide perspective to struggles when they arise.
One of my favorite journaling exercises is collecting quotes that I resonate with, usually at the top of the pages where I write entries.
Having a record of experiences lends to analysis of modes of behavior and how they relate to thought over time. It can be used to find similarities and differences between different states of mind and do what humans do best; discover patterns. Spiritual-minded people tend to wield journaling to track synchronicities, results of spellwork, dream collection, symbol analysis, and more.
The expressive act of deriving mind to literal words is also a freeing act, though one might consider being careful of where to store these journals and perhaps consider burning (or deleting if digital) them eventually… in case they worry if someone might read upon death or imprisonment. Some people journal specifically so their writing will be found in these cases.
Journaling and keeping a diary is also a way to work through traumatic stress and depression. It’s been suggested in studies that continually journaling about emotional or personal topics might benefit the immune system including antibody responses, liver function, lung function, and blood pressure. An interesting correlation is that people who practice journaling can be found to become re-employed sooner after losing jobs, missing fewer days of work, and more. (source)