A couple of years ago, I thought of writing like I did baking—I knew if I tried it out, the results would be satisfying and very fun. But I struggled with a lot of fear… fear that I wouldn’t write anything worth reading, that it would be boring, or that I would simply stare at the page blankly, unsure of what to say. After all, I had always been in love with the idea of writing, but when it came down to actually doing it… I just didn’t. I was afraid of failure, and on top of that, I had never really done it before—I wasn’t comfortable with the action at all.
The thing is, I never took the time to do something very important—practice. Believe me, I thought about it a lot, but something always held me back. When I finally began to write in my spare time as a hobby, I realized how much I’d missed out. I hadn’t wanted to put in the time to become good at this skill because I was afraid it would make me realize my shortcomings in this field. As a result, I missed a HUGE point—the process of growing as a writer is one of the best parts. Like with anything else, to become good at something, you have to practice.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Practice makes perfect.” While it may sound cliché, this saying is important to remember. But regarding writing, I’d like to put our own spin on this phrase. Disciplined, regular writing teaches us about ourselves—our writing style, our ability, our tendencies. It’s all about learning and understanding the way you write and introduces you to what writing itself feels like. So instead of “Practice makes perfect,” I’d prefer something like this:
Practice makes comfortable.
Practice makes familiar.
Practice makes natural.
Of course, over time, if we practice anything enough, we become better and better at it. The same is true for writing! But at the beginning of your writing journey, it’s all about getting comfortable with writing in general. There are times it can feel forced—we’ve all been there. But focused, daily writing will help it become more natural.
This is what writing regularly (no matter what it’s about) can do for you, and one way to get started practicing is through journaling.
In a past article, I mentioned my favorite college course: Advanced Composition. In this class, we were required to keep a journal and write in it pretty consistently. Admittedly, I was intimidated by this at first. It was going to be time-consuming, personal, and I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to think of enough to write about, especially about my life. My life wasn’t exactly glamorous or exciting—I was just a college kid navigating school. What would I even write about? On top of this, my teacher (who was fantastic, and I admire her so much) was going to be reading it—a mediocre journal about my life!
In a nutshell, I was pretty down on myself and wasn’t looking forward to trying this out.
Boy, was I wrong.
It was so freeing! I found myself enjoying every moment I got to write in that journal. By the end of the experience, I’d written about a lot of topics and had never really struggled to think of new things to say. Writing about my daily life actually helped me navigate through some difficult situations I was struggling through. I wrote about career choices, my upcoming wedding and marriage, my classes, my love of music… I learned about myself as a writer and as a person, too.
After that, writing became much more natural. I was used to what it felt like to simply sit down and write. No agenda. Just writing. Through journaling, it was something that became second nature. And I had so much fun!
Please, if you’re looking to start writing and haven’t yet, or if you like writing but want to become better—consider journaling. It can really affect your creative process and the way you think about the art of writing.
It truly made a difference for me, and I know it can help you, too, whether you’re looking to improve your confidence, your craft, or both! Here’s a quick list of some of the ways it can help.
- Banish your fear of writing.
- Make you more familiar with your writing style and process.
- Reveal what you enjoy or are good at writing about.
- Enhance your writing skills. Remember… practice makes perfect.
- Be a great stress reliever.
- Of course, we’re focusing on writing, but no matter your profession, journaling can relieve stress and enable you to be more productive. It’s a great hobby, whether you want to write seriously or not.
These are only a couple of ways journaling can help you. Don’t just take my word for it—try it out! I’m certain you’ll see a difference in your attitude and approach to writing almost immediately. And who doesn’t enjoy picking out a unique notebook that fits your personality?
No matter where you are in your writing journey, journaling is a beneficial practice that can help you in ways you may not even realize! Seriously. I’m a huge journaling advocate!
If you try it out, let me know your results; I’d love to hear about them!
Until next week, write on!