I knew my excessive journaling of 20+ years would pay off some day – big time.
Thanks to hiding in my room for hours and scribbling away, I now have a voice. A writer’s voice – a blogger’s voice.
All aspiring writers search for it. All authors define it, explain it, and scare the hell out of those who have yet to discover it.
Over and over again. And we never get tired of talking about it, it is our holy grail.
You have a Voice
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer in possession of a good idea must be in want of a voice.
Voice is a subject that authors never get tired of writing about, and aspiring writers never reading about.
I’ll have a shot at defining my own voice if I may.
Colloquial, conversational, concise, straightforward, quirky, inspiring (hopefully).
It can take different personas depending upon the mood I am in. It can get funny, disarming, energetic, loud, and hysterical. These are just shades of my voice – not every piece has to be funny, or serious, or earth shattering. Often when a writer writes with the same persona all the time, they get very monotonous.
If you want to have a shot at being good at writing – being memorable, you must have a distinctive style of writing. You must have a voice.
Journaling can assist you in this regard – it’s really the perfect tool.
Why You Should Consider Journaling
If you think that everybody is journaling, then you are in for a surprise.
I recently asked few girlfriends if they journal and got a look from most of them – a look that says: do-you-know-me-at-all? A look that says: if I had to write in my journal on top the 951 chores that keep me delightfully occupied during the day, I would fall unconscious.
People worry that they have nothing exciting to write about. What if it is so boring that I put myself to sleep writing that? One friend asked me.
They complain that don’t have the time, don’t have the privacy, don’t have the discipline. I get it, journaling is not hugely popular.
People believe journaling is a bit like going on an exercise regime where they have to adhere to a schedule, and spent time doing something extra. All the while they’d just be as happy gobbling down some chocolate.
Watching TV is chocolate – Journaling is exercise.
Journaling Develops Your Blogging Voice
It is a shame though; journaling gets you in the habit of writing regularly. It strengthens your voice. It helps reduce your fear of a blank sheet.
It is not a coincidence that people who journal extensively have often already developed a voice that is naturally suited to blogging. It starts to feel natural to write in first person.
Think for a minute:
- Have you been writing in your journal, dairy or a notebook for a while?
- Are you comfortable writing in the first person?
- Do you write because you had to write something that was on your mind and refused to go away until you get it off your chest and on the paper?
- Do you write like nobody’s watching?
If so, you will find it blogging to be quite an easy and even a pleasurable activity.
What journaling doesn’t do is to go beyond that stage and gather courage to show your material to the world.
Journaling is Your First Draft
There is a distinct difference between blogging and journaling – the craft of writing. You don’t require any when writing in your journal. And that probably the only set of eyes to ever land on your writing is only going to be yours.
This is your first draft. You have a voice. It might be something that is so bad that even a preschooler can do a better job, but still it is yours. You have created it.
You can gush, fume or whine – anything goes. You can scream, be self righteous or downright offensive. Nobody is going to read it, nobody is going to know. You can vent all you want. It’s all fair game.
From their onwards, it needs to be shaped, polished, revised, edited. So it doesn’t look like you have been writing under the influence. And first drafts are meant to be worked on again, and again, till they are ready to be seen by another human.
Journaling Means You Never Run Out of Ideas
It could be that you wanted to talk about a certain incident that happened in your life, you want to talk about an experience that left you feeling excited, shocked, mortified.
Something that got stuck in your mind and refused to let go. A great injustice perhaps? Something worth telling the world.
You felt compelled to share certain lesson you recently learnt. An aha moment that had you smacking your head – why didn’t I think of that before.
All of these ideas seem very bloggish.
Combined with your journaling habit, your head will be buzzing with ideas and your computer will beckon you at odd hours.
Go on, Write for 10 Minutes
Write on any topic – write as if nobody is watching. Write for yourself – 10 minutes of free writing.
10 minutes is very doable. You sit and start writing; there is no time to think, no time to waste. Leave the editing, for now you are only writing. Trust yourself to write honestly in your journals. Keep going.
Each person, each life is distinctive. Even if you didn’t grow up in a family of circus ropewalkers or did not spent time hitchhiking across the world, you are still interesting.
It’s not what happens in our lives that make us writers, it is what we make of it that does. It is our distinctive point of view. Allow this to emerge through journaling and you will have a new respect for your dairies.
Do you have a distinct style of writing? Could you describe your voice? How did you hone it? How long did it take you? Are you a fan of journaling or would you not touch it with a ten foot pole? Do share your thoughts in the comments below, I respond to each and every one of them. 🙂
Have you taken my 3-minute Client Attraction Quiz? Check it out now, it’s awesome!