During the first week of my writing class, we got told the importance of a writer’s journal, keeping a notebook with you at all times so you can write down any ideas you have no matter how detailed they are. Any sort or idea big or small can be used to start a story or be part of another idea you have later on.
This journal is better used for character or scene writing when you’re out walking, doing chores, or on your route to work or home make some notes (mental or physical) about the people you see and the scenes that unfold in front of you in real life. Take note of the characteristics you see, traits that stand out, possible back stories to the people you come across. They can all be used as inspiration for stories, even if you don’t have a complete idea yet. The more you use the journal the more you can see how your stories develop and how much details you notice throughout the day.
What do I put in my own writing journal?
Personally, I don’t use my Journal to plan out stories when I’m ready to draft and plan a story I like to use a mindmap app where I can put each part of my plan under a different tap so the plan is neatly organized and easy to read. I start it with the main themes and brief description of the story (which I would have noted in my journal) these will include what the story is about, the main characters and any traits they have which I will find inspiration from in my journal where I will note down ideas for characters or interesting things/events that may happen during the day or any idea that pops into my mind. Then I will go on to create a new tab to describe the ideas beginning, middle, and end. After this, I either start writing and see where it takes me or I plan the chapters in a new tab and follow the outline of each chapter while writing and changing pieces as I go. If I have any ideas that I’m unsure about I’ll add them to a new tab on the mind map and save to see how the story unfolds while I write it.
When it comes time to edit I don’t delete the original plan but add the edited ideas alongside the original.
In my journal I mostly write down character ideas or certain traits that make interesting characters, I’ll also draft character sketches where I try my best to write how I’d describe a character, and currently to make notes for each of my short stories.