Story Journaling

Hard copy journaling for narrative lovers.

So if any of you are like me, staring at a computer screen all day is both enlightening and exhausting.  While I love technology and the various opportunities it affords for learning, exploration, and entertainment, the blue light of the screen can do a number on my eyes and my head, often causing some major headaches.  This is why I have a whole bookshelf full of journals filled with handwritten stories dating all the way back to when I was in middle school.  Plus, there’s just something so satisfying about sprawling out on my bed, penning out scenes and character arcs and story ideas, and seeing my notebooks slowly fill up with my fictional worlds.

But story journaling doesn’t necessarily have to be fictional.  There are two types of story journaling.  First is fictional story journaling, where you use your journal as a space to plot out your fictional narratives, sketch out brain maps, scribble down quick thoughts and ideas, write out scenes and dialogue.  It’s an excellent way to get your thoughts on paper right in front of you, no matter how messy or disjointed your writing might be.  My favorite way to do this is to use pen – no erasing!  The most important part of the exercise is just to write something.  You can always edit later.  (Don’t have any story ideas right now?  Check out some of the links below for some inspiration!)

The other type of story journaling is life story journaling.  It’s very similar to regular journaling, where you write out your thoughts and feelings and events of the day, but with a key difference: the perspective.  When you sit down to write in your life story journal, you do so with the mindset of an author writing a story; but in this case, that story is about you.  Take a look at your day, and then think about how that day contributes to the story of your life as a whole.  Where are you in your dramatic structure diagram?  Are you in the rising action section, working towards a particular aspiration or mission?  Maybe you’re relaxing in the resolution section, after you’ve completed a major goal and enjoyed or suffered the consequences of it, and you’re preparing to begin the next stage in your life.  Wherever you are, this method of writing allows you to see yourself almost from the outside, to understand what has shaped you as a character in your own story and determine what will motivate you into a better future.

Resources & Inspiration:

Writing Tips for Tweens” from Penguin Young Readers

Creative Writing Journal Ideas” from Creative Writing Now

7 Quick Journaling Exercises That Will Improve Your Fiction Writing” from The Write Life

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) website

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