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Understand how writers organize their commitments by organizing work under development into a notebook.

Although the thought of maintaining a notebook may at first appear intimidating, you will probably be surprised to find that it is actually quite easy to keep one on a day-to-day basis. Indeed, the following comments are fairly representative of how most students feel after keeping a notebook for a semester:

  • Writing these entries has helped me to remember important events from my childhood that I was not aware were buried in my subconscious, in particular, I have thought of several special moments that I shared with my maternal grandmother and have made a record of them. I now have a written record and can reread them years from now when perhaps my memory becomes faulty, and I am no longer able to recall them with ease.
  • Another bonus of notebook writing is the discipline it has imposed on me to write frequently. I enjoy writing, but I have always found excuses not to do so because I allowed other responsibilities to take precedence. Since journal writing has been a class requirement, its importance has been elevated because I see it as an obligation (not a negative).
  • Do you ever notice how important something seemed to you in high school and now that you look back on that you think, “God, I sure acted stupid back then!”? Doesn't it sort of make you wonder if what you consider important now is really stupid, especially if you were to look back on it in say, 10 years? What then is truly important?
  • Notebook writing has helped me get a better perspective on my life and problems.
  • I used the journal to let out emotions and thoughts. The journal was like a person I would talk to whenever I needed someone to talk to.
  • I used my journal to help myself study for exams in other subjects. This is something I never used to do—take notes on chapters—and I found it to help.
  • I think the more you write, the more you enjoy it, the more easily you can come up with ideas.
  • I’ve learned that I have a lot of hidden opinions and feelings about issues that I usually don’t get a chance to express. Consequently, in this class, I have an outlet to express my ideas in a creative and structured way. By writing a little each day, I am able to think more about what I feel which then, helps me to become a better writer.

Maintaining a notebook can help you write regularly, set goals, establish priorities, and organize your writing projects. If you tend to be a disorganized writer, the notebook can provide an invaluable focus for creative ideas. Although you can succeed without such a notebook, maintaining one can give you some control over what and how you write.


"Benefits to Using a Writer's Journal" was written by Joseph Moxley, University of South Florida