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Writing Projects » Essays Etc. » Journals

There are many reasons why writers keep journals:

  • to express private thoughts and feelings to themselves and reflect on experience
  • to explore a subject before writing an article or paper
  • to practice and develop a style of writing or a particular voice
  • to record observations
  • to respond to other writers
Can you think of some other reasons for writing a journal or log? Which of the reasons appeal to you the most? Why?



Here's what Joseph Reynolds, a high school teacher and freelance writer, said about why he wrote journals:
My journal is a storehouse, a treasury for everything in my daily life: the stories I hear, the people I meet, the quotations I like, and even the subtle signs and symbols I encounter that speak to me indirectly. Unless I capture these things in writing, I lose them. . . . By writing in my own journal, I often make discoveries. I see connections and conclusions that otherwise would not appear obvious to me. I become a craftsman, like a potter or a carpenter who makes a vase or a wooden stoop out of parts. Writing is a source of pleasure when it involves such invention and creation. I want to work on my writing, too, hone it into clear, readable prose, and where better to practice my writing than in my journal.
—from "I Think (and Write in a Journal), Therefore I Am," ©1981.


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