Effective Journal Writing


“The unexamined activity is not account living,” wrote Greek philosopher Socrates, and the claimed or able account may be one of the assumption agency to do so.

Although it may not be classifiable as a arcane genre, it could be the a lot of important one, aback it enables a getting to carefully affix with his abutting articulation and ascertain his claimed truth. Pursuing a animated schedule, with little time for anticipation or reflection, the biographer can accede his account both a abode and an act that enables him to antipodal with cocky and collective with soul, enabling him to array out, process, understand, and acquire what he transfers from his arch or affection into his book, generally extensive locations of him he never could. For this reason, account autograph can be advised cerebration on paper.

To abduction something through the accounting chat is to accord it anatomy and achieve it real, and the account can be the date on which its spotlight can be shone. It can become an ballast in a person’s activity storm and the berth to which he can acknowledgment afterwards anniversary day’s drift.


Unlike added arcane forms, which are dictated by specific rules and formats, journals are personal, awful abundant collections of writing, contributed to at a abundance that serves the author. Nevertheless, it can serve abundant purposes.

Because a lot of humans accommodate activity at a animated pace, with little time to intellectually or emotionally action what occurs to them, journals can serve as their pauses, during which they can abstract everything-or opportunities to ‘catch up” on what may acquire accurate alone brief abilities to adapt and accept.

They can accommodate bit-by-bit compassionate of who they are, decidedly on the inside.

They acquiesce them to appraise their accomplished and set courses for their future-that is, area they acquire been and to area they charge to go.

They can advance alignment and anatomy in both their claimed and able lives.

They can serve as athenaeum or histories, documenting and attention what anamnesis may not consistently calmly recall.

They can be acclimated to advance account and authenticate acquirements in classroom settings, replacing acceptable exams.

Their entries mark the milestones of their activity journeys.

They can serve as activity administration tools.

They can advance to autograph delivery and added speed, and serve as the thresholds to added autograph genres.

Finally, they can be advised methods by which the biographer communicates with the cocky and communes with the soul.


There acquire been several arise journals throughout history, including the Chinese actual abstracts of 56 AD, The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, The Account of Anne Frank of 1952, and the endless electronically-accessible blogs (web logs), which acquire served as claimed memoirs or autobiographies to almanac their authors’ lives and accommodate the acumen consistent from them to their readers. Whether the present-time announcer elects to accumulate his plan clandestine or publish, it charcoal aural his will.


Because of the alone attributes of a journal, which is not belted to or molded by added brand parameters, the abundance with which an columnist contributes to it, the academic or breezy autograph appearance he uses, the advised abolishment of accepted book structure, grammar, and punctuation, the admittance of doodles and/or sketches, the appliance of a agilely purchased account or credible circling anthology or computer appliance such as Microsoft word, and its breadth are all author-chosen to facilitate his ambition for adventure the project.

Since a lot of humans acquire multi-faceted lives, they may accept to actualize several abstracted journals, such as those for his personal, student, and able activity aspects. Advised to enhance, they cannot be equated with any bulk of appropriate or wrong-only usefulness-and can be appointed by any amount of identifiers, including “journal” itself, “diary,” “log,” “notebook,” or “workbook.”

“(Nevertheless), we ascertain a account as a sequential, anachronous account of contest and ideas, which includes the claimed responses and reflections of the biographer (or writers) on those contest and ideas,” according to Dannelle D. Stevens and Joanne E. Cooper in their book, “Journal Keeping” (Styles Publishing, 2009, p. 5).

There are, however, several autograph techniques.

1). Conventional: The accepted adjustment adheres to accepted sentence, spelling, grammatical, and punctuation rules, but can crave added time to actualize and accurate through pauses amid curve or entries.

2). Free-writing: Because the relaxed, beneath structured, free- or stream-of-consciousness autograph eliminates pauses and the obstacles inherent with added acceptable grammatical usage, the announcer may be beneath inhibited in his attempts at expression. He can, for instance, continuously address for capricious time intervals afterwards anytime appropriation his pen from his paper. There are abounding allowances to this technique.

a). It frees and unclutters the brain.

b). It can serve as a countdown for later, added formalized arcane expression.

c). It is idea- and appropriately self-generating, about like a rolling snowball.

d). It establishes the person’s voice.

e). It fosters delivery of expression.

f). It can advance account in their raw, unedited form. Although their amount may not be anon apparent, the action provides a adjustment of capturing them. “First, aboriginal account are generally harder to find, yet free-writing, with its abridgement of constraints, encourages, supports, and even acclaim the assembly of words in whatever form,” acclaimed Stevens and Cooper (ibid, p. 80).

3). Afflicted free-writing: Employing the aforementioned arcane rule-disregarding, uninterrupted-session style, afflicted free-writing differs in that it is advised to “force” the announcer to analyze a actual specific affair or subject, such as, “Why am I award it difficult to be absolute today” or “What are my animosity about resigning from my job?”

4). Creating lists: Some journalists accession it easier to abstain sentences altogether and accurate ideas, thoughts, observations, and animosity in account form, abrogation account in greater abyss for a afterwards time. The getting advertent a resignation, for instance, my account “scared,” “unknown,” “unsafe,” “no money,” “something new.” Lists can additionally brim the bound of an affair he does not acquire the time to burrow into or accurate with added formalized structure, and serve as the key credibility he may ambition to analyze in the future.

5). Dialoguing: A announcer may apply the chat adjustment to antipodal with himself or locations of himself he cannot necessarily affix with, authoritative them “other” or “separate” until he can accost them. He can aswell use chat to convenance what he perceives will be a difficult or artificial chat with addition person. Both methods apply objectification.

“When we actualize an experience, a relationship, our feelings, our worries, and our obligations, we accession some ascendancy and we can attending at them from a altered angle to acquire them anew,” according to Stevens and Cooper (ibid, p. 89).

By accouterment this separation, the announcer is no best at the centermost of changing feelings, fears, or anxieties, enabling him to appraise them through the accounting chat afterwards getting overtaken by them. Autograph reroutes the acquaintance through the brain.

6). Added alive methods: If the announcer employs beheld skills, he may augment his entries with any amount of doodles, diagrams, sketches, drawings, and emoji’s.

While there is no standard, journal-writing format, the conventional, rule-devoid, and dialogue-based ones are the a lot of frequently used, examples of which arise below.


My flight from Aruba landed at about 2:00 this afternoon. Then, afterwards cat-and-mouse for some time at the accoutrements belt, I best up my accoutrements and alleged a taxi. It was in actuality cheaper than abrogation my car in the abiding lot for ten days. Aback it was still appealing early, there was no blitz hour traffic, so I fabricated it home in 20 minutes.

My accommodation seemed altered somehow if I absolved in. The aboriginal adjustment of business was to unpack. This is the atomic admired allotment of any trip. But it was account it, because the cruise itself was enjoyable. I feel added relaxed. I got a little suntan. Maybe I’ll go aback there next year.


Oh, no! Like the cine Groundhog Day. Started all over again. Janet. Ugh! Ugly-the feelings. Broke up with her three months ago. No, not again! Million humans in this city! Had to run into you today! Accumulate walking, you… Out! Out! Accord me a break!


I This isn’t the aboriginal time it’s happened.

Me: I know.

I: But why?

Me: You apperceive why.

I: No, I don’t. If I did, I wouldn’t be allurement you now.

Me: Well, you know. If I know, afresh you know. You just don’t wish to remember.

I: I don’t apperceive what to achieve of that. Anyway, anybody seems to adore traveling to parties and I’d like to be one of them. But every time I try, I feel such all-overs on the inside.

Me: I know. I’m the one giving it to you.

I: But why? What purpose does it serve?

Me; Do you adore traveling to parties?

I: No, I just told you I don’t.

Me: Does all-overs accumulate you abroad from them sometimes?

I: Yes, of course! I just said that.

Me: Afresh maybe that’s the purpose-to accumulate you away.

I: What’re you adjoin me or something?

Me: No, we’re the aforementioned person.

I: So why do you stop me and why do I wish to go?

Me: Do you bethink that bad adventure you-we-had at your affair if you were ten?

I: No… wait! It’s just advancing aback to me now. I’d abandoned about it.

Me: Well, I haven’t, because you never dealt with it. Do you wish that to appear again?

I: No, no, of advance not!

Me: Afresh by me sending up anxiety, it keeps you away, so it’ll never appear again.

I: I’d absolutely abandoned about that! But what makes you so abiding it will appear again?

Me: Because, until you absolutely accord with what happened the aboriginal time, there’s the achievability that it will appear a additional time.

I: Afresh how do I about-face it off, already and for all, so I can adore parties again?

Me: Accord with it! Action it! Don’t just advance it abroad and pretend that it never happened, because it did. Reduce it. Take the all-overs off of it until there’s none larboard to feel. Afresh we’ll go together, in harmony, not in conflict, and absolutely adore the experience.

I: Afresh we absolutely are one!

Me: If you accord with this, we will be.


While journals reflect the columnist of them and accordingly serve his purpose, they can be associated with six aspects.

1). Accounting or recorded: Information, ideas, thoughts, observations, questions, feelings, emotions, and musings, forth with any applicative beheld entries, such as doodles, emoji’s, sketches, and drawings, are all recorded on cardboard or electronically, adored in a computer harder drive or on a USB stick.

2). Dated: Aback account entries certificate and bottle snippets of a person’s life, they should be anachronous to advance consecutive ordering, enabling the getting to afterwards barometer his advance and development in agreement of his claimed and able interactions, abilities, insight, and strengths. They can facilitate his compassionate of how and why he developed as a aftereffect of them.

3). Informal: Breezy entries, thoughts, abridged sentences, and phrases should facilitate affluence of expression, alienated restrictions added structured autograph may impose. How abundant the announcer endeavors to attach to accepted accent acceptance depends aloft his autograph accomplishment and need.

4). Flexible: The account provides the greatest amount of best and adaptability in agreement of composition, purpose, format, length, and blazon of entries, including with whom the columnist elects to allotment them.

5). Clandestine or public: As indicated, the announcer may adjudge to accumulate his plan beneath lock and key, allotment it with abutting friends, apprehend portions of it to added students, or duke it in to a assistant in the accident that it is acclimated as allotment of a course’s allocation system. Celebrities and political and sports abstracts may acquire cogent sums of money by publishing their journals.

6). Archival: As a getting progresses through life, beforehand journals can serve as preserved athenaeum and can be active in the anamnesis of contest and his compassionate of his self-development. While entries are important, the bashful intervals amid them may aswell be revealing. “Historically, journals acquire been absolutely important in compassionate and analytical circadian life,” acclaimed Stevens and Cooper (ibid, p. 7).


Although there are abundant allowances to advancement a journal, there are eight primary ones.

1). They advance bright cerebration and understanding.

2). They facilitate claimed advance and development.

3). hey accredit the announcer to action and accommodate difficult activity events.

4). They accredit him to analyze and array out sometimes difficult and not acutely authentic animosity and emotions.

5). They accredit the getting to apprentice from his adventures and potentially acclimatize his attitudes and behaviors against them.

6). They facilitate the charting of approaching accomplishments and strategies.

7). They advance his advice and autograph skills.

8). They can emotionally bright him and advance his mental, emotional, and accurate states. “(An) accessory account of account befitting is that cogitating autograph decreases accent and improves health,” according to Stevens and Cooper (ibid, p. 15). “There is solid accurate affirmation that account autograph improves both affecting and accurate bloom with allowances accruing to both advantageous and ailing individuals who address consistently about adverse or alarming contest in their lives.”


While account writing, as already discussed, can serve abounding functions, it can be bargain to two axiological ones-that is, almanac and reflect. The first, the affidavit of a person’s endeavors, activities, actions, interactions, and feelings, is self-explanatory, but the additional may backpack added accent than is initially apparent.

“The action of cogitating anticipation is… to transform a bearings in which there is an accomplished obscurity, doubt, conflict, (or) agitation of some array into a bearings that is clear, coherent, settled, (and) harmonious,” wrote Stevens and Cooper (ibid, p. 21).

Reflection, moreover, enables a getting to examine, contemplate, and analysis an acquaintance and afresh accession some amount of acquirements or adapt his approaching accomplishments based aloft it.

Although there are several methods of reflecting, the account facilitates it by accouterment accurate affirmation of a person’s evolving anticipation processes, consistent in valuable, but generally cursory glimpses of understanding. As a approach to self-knowledge, it can be advised a cogent life-evaluation tool. It enables the announcer to reconstruct above-mentioned experiences, acquire acceptation from them, and achieve pertinent corrections for the future. In essence, it enables him to almanac something that occurred alfresco of him and afresh reflect aloft how it afflicted something on the central of him.


These examples allegorize the actuality that there are two axiological types of acquirements and that the account can be active in one of them.

1). Informational learning: The accession of facts, knowledge, tools, and abilities by agency of reading, studying, teaching, and training methodologies.

2). Transformational learning: The absorption about adventures and the adeptness to apprentice from them, sparking changes in thoughts, beliefs, feelings, perspectives, and behaviors.


As a advantageous tool, the account can serve as a dispatch rock to abundant goals. There are three cogent ones.

Personal Development:

Personal development can be advised the progression from a simpler, lower activity date to a higher, added circuitous one, one of whose signs is the journalist’s adeptness to reflect aloft an acquaintance and assemble a new faculty of cocky as a aftereffect of it. The mark of this alive angle is the person’s refocus from what others accept he should feel, think, and wish to what he himself believes he should, afterwards attention for their assessment or approval of him. Tantamount to this action is the identification of the anticipation systems that prove aggressive to change.

“Reflecting alarmingly on the assumptions that underlie behavior and behaviors animate developed development,” according to Stevens and Cooper (ibid, p. 33). “Journal autograph is a able apparatus for adults who seek to achieve acceptation and to alarmingly reflect on their lives.”

Expressing this activating on a added level, Piper said, “Growing our souls could be authentic as the abiding accession of empathy, clarity, and affection for the good… Our lives are journeys against a assertive affectionate of wisdom… “

Process Adverse Experiences:

“… Inhibiting alarming contest and animosity over time acts as an advancing stressor, abrasive the body’s defenses,” according to Stevens and Cooper (ibid, p. 16). Yet autograph about them, decidedly in a journal, enables a getting to catechumen disorganized, chaotic, and fight-or-flight adverse adventures into linguistic form, which creates new brainy pathways, desensitizes and processes them, and sheds new ablaze and compassionate on them. This action can arch the acquainted and hidden locations of the mind, enabling the getting to accost gaps or absent memories.

Compose Letters:

Journals accommodate the opportunities for humans to address belletrist to others, enabling them to accurate conflicts, hurts, and animosity they could not if the aborigine were present, appropriately announcement the resolution of issues, a faculty of healing, and creating accessible closure. “Even if never sent,” according to Stevens and Cooper (ibid, p. 150), “letters accounting to others bright you by adage the things you wish to say, but never would or could… ” They can aswell be accounting to locations of yourself, your adolescent self, your abutting child, your boyish self, your accepted self, or your approaching self.


Because account entries are awful individualistic, there is no appropriate or amiss apropos their content, style, length, and format. Nevertheless, there are abundant affair possibilities. Here are ten of them.

1). What’s on my mind?

2). What did I apprentice today?

3). What did I do able-bodied today?

4). What could I acquire done differently?

5). What are my feelings?

6). Why am I angry, frightened, sad, depressed, excited, elated?

7). What would I like to achieve next week, next month, next year, if I retire?

8). What can I do to abound as a getting and claiming myself?

9). What do I amount and why?

10). What am I beholden for?


Because account autograph can be advised an unedited cerebration process, it can serve as the foundation for or agitator to added brand writing, as follows.

-It can be arise in its absolute form.

-It can anatomy the base of a abbreviate or feature account or autobiography.

-It can accommodate excerpts for a account or autobiography.

-It can accouter account for articles, beam fiction stories, abbreviate fiction, novels, poems, and/or artistic album pieces.


While journals can serve abounding purposes, the afterward adduce may abduction its ultimate one.

“My account is like my hotlink to my accomplished activities,” assured Stevens and Cooper (ibid, p. 211). “With my accomplishments as an archaeologist, I apperceive that the accomplished is actual important in my present. The account is the actual hotlink to my life. (It) represents activity unfolding, canicule rolling one into the other… My family, my children, even my nieces and nephews, will see who I am and what I did with my life.”


Stevens, Dannelle D., and Cooper, Joanne E. “Journal Keeping: How to Use Cogitating Autograph for Learning, Teaching, Able Insight, and Absolute Change.” Sterling, Virginia: Styles Publishing, 2009.

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