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Aspiring Freelance Writer? Crack the Creative Nut with Journaling | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

Aspiring Freelance Writer? Crack the Creative Nut with Journaling

Date March 21, 2008


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Coffee and Moleskine III (color)
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lost in Scotland

Think journaling is old fashioned? Think again. Are you having a hard time starting your writing? Or, maybe you want to be a freelance writer but don’t know how to marshall ideas quickly. Try journaling.

Journaling is a powerful tool for brainstorming ideas, keeping your writing skills sharp, and for storing ideas and notes for future pieces. To make the most of your journal, I suggest the following 4 tips to any writer—beginning or advanced.

1) Get the right tools

I love shopping for writing notebooks because there’s such a wide variety. Looking for a journal with flowers and other fancy designs? Try Barnes and Noble or Borders bookstores.

Wal-Mart and office supply stores sell functional albeit less expensive journals. Make sure it feels good in your hands. Too small and you’ll breeze through the pages too quickly. Too bulky and you won’t take it with you for fear someone might snicker.

And, don’t forget your writing utensil. Your pen options are either rollerball or gel. I use a 0.38 Uniball pen. I’ve only been able to find them at OfficeMax. I adore the fine point but they do tend to run out of ink faster than other pens. Use what you like best.

If you hate to smear ink, or are clumsy like me and get gel all over you hands, shirt, and pants then stick with a ball point. Or, better yet, get a pencil. I don’t use pencils because I tend to erase too much.

2) Make it a habit

This goes without saying. If you want to be successful at journaling, you have to journal. Pick a time and spot where you can write everyday. Then just do it. Stay away from your work computer so you won’t be distracted by everyday business.

The theory goes that it takes 3 weeks of consecutive action to form a habit.

3) Fire your inner critic

I used to think that all writing should be critiqued, reviewed, and revised. Once I let go of my inner critic, I began to enjoy journaling. Many times I pen random thoughts that would have been lost otherwise.

Journaling should be inspirational, not drudgery. For those of you who are perfectionists, this step will be harder to master. Don’t write on your computer. When you see the autocorrect marks lighting up your screen, you’ll be tempted to make corrections. It’s less tempting to use paper and pen.

4) Use your journal for writing ideas

Can’t think of anything to write? Flip through older journal entries. I guarantee it won’t take but a few minutes to find and idea or inspiration to get started. I purposely review journal entries to find new article ideas.

Journaling is an exercise to help you let go of yourself and break through the most crippling bout of writer’s block. The important point to remember is that there is no wrong way to journal.

Try to journal at least once a day. Don’t think you have anything to journal about? Write down your daily to do list. Sometimes just getting something on paper will get your mind working. You never know until you try. Have fun, enjoy the time, and get writing!

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Related posts:

  1. Be a Freelance Business Plan Writer
  2. 23 Opportunities for Freelance Writers
  3. Financing a Business on a Small Budget

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