It must be some kind of cliché that all writers keep a journal, right? How can it not be? We are in love with the written word and have a bottomless well of ideas. Journaling as one of our creative outlets is only natural.
It sounds like a reasonable assumption, but believe it or not, there was a time in my life where I was adamantly opposed to journaling. I only have so much brain energy available in a day, and I felt that it should be spent on actually writing my books. And what was I to journal about, anyway? I’m well past the age of love-struck scribbling about my latest crush like I did when I was a teenager, and I have better things to do with my time than explore my feelings through my pen. So, I continued to focus on my books, my whole books, and nothing but my books.
However, fast-forward a decade or two, and I’ve come to understand that authors are entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs are business owners. My writing is my business, and flying by the seat of my pants each day without a concrete plan in place for how I was going to achieve my goals was no longer an effective strategy. Moreover, I became increasingly aware that I needed to better define my goals, identify how I was going to keep them top-of-mind, and why I even wanted to achieve them in the first place.
Enter journaling. I don’t mind admitting that I was wrong. I’ve been journaling for several years now, and it has changed my approach to my business. My books are my books, and they will always be the stories I love to write. But when it comes to managing the business of my writing, journaling has been an invaluable tool.
Journaling for business success
There are many who advocate journaling for business, and many business owners, entrepreneurs and even CEOs and other corporate executives use this strategy for success. Technology investor Tim Ferriss does it. So does fitness and wellness brand CEO Jennifer Cohen. Search “Journaling for Business” on YouTube, and you get a ton of helpful videos from entrepreneurs on why they do it and why you should, too. For example:
“You need to keep track of what is working and what is not… Journaling has helped me stay on track and achieve my goals.” Ross Sillars, Entrepreneurial Coach
“Mindset is one of the single greatest determining factors of success for any business owner.” Alexis Giostra (a.k.a. “Miss Trench Coat”), Online Entrepreneur
“I journal for five or ten minutes before going to bed, and I write down everything that I learned that day. That way, it’s there for me to look back on later, because life happens so fast.” Will Lucas, Media and Technology Entrepreneur.
In a nutshell, journaling allows you to reflect on your leadership. It assists you with the creative process. It hallmarks major shifts in your business, and it serves as a daily log of your achievements, accomplishments and areas for improvement.
What I journal about and how it helps me as an author
To start with, I journal in the morning. First thing, as I’m enjoying my coffee and after I’ve fed the dog. No one is up as early as I am, so it’s the perfect time for me to reflect and evaluate. I spend time exploring problems I’m having, like a lack of motivation, or struggles with my mental energy, or running out of time each day to accomplish all of the daily tasks I’ve set for myself. Recently I wrote about why I am nixing my social media activity. It was one of my more popular posts of late. Can you guess where that lightbulb moment came from? Yep, it’s written down in my journal… in a roundabout, messy and unstructured way, of course.
Sometimes, I reaffirm to myself what I want from my writing and from life, and what balancing the two looks like for me. I ask myself: What kind of person do I want to be? What kind of writer do I want to be? What is my ideal for how I want to present myself to the world? I spend time exploring those concepts so that I keep my reasons top-of-mind.
Other times, I write about my ideal writing self. In a perfect world, what does a day in the life of Veronica Bale, author, look like? In my best version of myself, how productive am I? What portion of my work day do I spend on writing, what portion on media and outreach, and what portion on non-writing things like exercise and family time?
All of these things that I journal about help keep me on track and moving forward when I spend time in the morning putting my thoughts down on paper. And if I’ve taken the time to write about who I want to be as a business owner, as an authorpreneur and successful writer, the next natural step is to then go about my day in a way that upholds that vision and those goals.
Do you journal as an author? How does journaling help you be a better writer?