If you want to become a better writer, it’s crucial you keep a journal – especially if you’re new to the craft. Journaling empowers you to hone your voice and style by giving you the space to practice writing without the fear of being judged; it’s where you can openly share your most private moments, fears, thoughts, and mistakes in a place where no one else can go. If you want to use your journal to become a better writer, but find yourself getting stuck every time you open your notebook, try giving the following three tips a try to make your next journaling session more productive, fun, and creative:

#1: Schedule time to journal.

If you don’t schedule time in your calendar to journal, chances are you aren’t going to do it. Starting immediately, block out two 10-minute appointments a week to sit down in a quiet space and journal with the intention of awakening your creativity and strengthening your writer’s muscle. Schedule your writing sessions at different times each week and look for patterns as to when you are most prolific.

#2: Start small and gradually build your writing stamina.

If you are new to journaling, don’t try to do too much too soon. If you focus on writing pages and pages of thought-provoking, intelligent prose during your first 10-minute session, you’ll likely become disappointed when you aren’t able to meet your own expectations. When you first start writing in a journal, just aim to get a least a few sentences down on paper. Once that becomes comfortable, you can build up to writing paragraphs, and eventually, pages.

 

#3: What to write about if you get stuck

If you can’t think of anything to write about, try one of the following tips to get your creative juices flowing.

  • Copy down one of your favorite quotes or a random sentence you saw scribbled on the bathroom wall at the burger joint you ate at last night. Once it’s there on paper, write an observation about it, such as how it made you feel.

  • Jot down the title of a book you want to check out and explain why you are interested in reading it.

  • Write the first line of a poem or first 10 words of a book’s opening line; see what simmers to the surface from there.

  • Even better, steal a snippet of conversation you hear from others (whether live or on TV or a podcast). Record it in your journal and then see where it takes you.
     

Whatever you do, relax and have fun. Expect your spirit to speak and it will!