Guidelines for Writing in a Journal Format
There are many reasons for keeping a journal. Some people do it to keep a record of events that occur in their lives so they can look back on them later. Others do it because they plan to write a book and want to have a record of events as an outline. Journals can also be effective therapeutic tools. Writers often keep journals to write down anything that may come in handy for a story. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you write in the journal format that suits your purpose.
Reflective Journal Writing
A reflective journal is often kept by people who like to analyze and make sense of the world going on around them. Reflective journals tend to be simple in format; a date heading followed by a descriptive passage of the topic the writer is reflecting upon. The writer's reflections on the subject take up the bulk of each entry. This type of journal writing can help you gain a deeper understanding of events in your life. What happened, how I feel about it, and what I learned are the key elements of this type of writing.
Double-entry journals are two columns. Column one details an event or something the writer heard that held some particular meaning. The second column is where the writer details the purpose for the entry. This type of journal writing is ideal for keeping track of things you hear that you found particularly meaningful.
Keeping a metacognitive journal is ideal for the writer who likes to learn. A metacognitive journal shows what you learned and how you learned it. Writers who keep a journal of this type do so typically to reinforce the knowledge they gain. Metacognitive journals can be written in two columns, detailing what you learned in one column and how in the other, or you can simply write linear entries detailing both elements together.
The best thing about a personal journal is that there aren't any rules. You don't have to be concerned about spelling or format or content. A personal journal is free form. You can write about anything that interests you or has an effect on your life or anyone else's life. You can rant about your friends or parents, allow your thoughts to flow on any topic without fear of repercussion. A personal journal is where you let your thoughts run wild. You can format a personal journal any way you want, even if you choose no specific format at all.
Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.