Support Your Writing With A Writing Journal – Be Your Own Writing Coach

Over the last couple of days I’ve been looking at things you can do to support your writing habit. The first was connecting with other writers and yesterday’s was using images for inspiration and story development.

Another great way to keep yourself on track is to have a notebook or journal where you set writing goals, reflect on your progress, analyse what’s working or not working and give yourself a good talking to when you need it. Checking into your journal every few days or once a week can help keep you on track.

Woman's hand writing in the journal

Sitting down and taking a look at our writing progress helps us maintain our focus.It forces us to be honest with ourselves and work out what we need to change, what we need to do differently and also what is working well and how we can keep our momentum going. It doesn’t need to take long – just 10 minutes of jotting down some thoughts should be enough, unless you really need to have a d and m with yourself in which case, write for as long as you like.

Here are a few questions you can ask to get you started:
* How is my writing going this week?
* Am I achieving my daily/weekly goals? If not why not?
* Has anything been getting in the way of my writing this week?
* Have I been sabotaging myself in any way?
* Is there anything I need to do differently to improve my writing schedule?
* Do I need support from anyone else to keep me on track?
* What has been working well?
* What have I achieved this week with my writing?
* What new ideas have I come up with?

That’s just a starting point – I’m sure you have your own ideas, things that are specific to your own writing and lifestyle.

When we write fiction, and even non-fiction such as memoir, we use our right brain – the creative imaginative side.Sitting back and reflecting on our writing engages the left side of our brain – the more analytical side. This interchange is a great way of sparking ideas and testing them out so in addition to keep us motivated keeping a writing journal can actually make you more creative!

Do you keep a writing journal or notebook? would love to hear how it works for you.

And remember to keep us posted on how you’re progressing with the January Writing Challenge.


  1. Hi Pam, good morning.
    No, I don’t keep a writing journal and don’t feel the need to. But your post has made me reflect … I do, I guess, keep a log – including writing to-do notes and ticking them off in my diary, and making occasional notes or haiku in my morning pages.

    I’m blessed to be able to focus on my writing fairly unimpeded because my world is currently so restricted. My interior life keeps me company a lot of the time; there’s much opportunity for reflection, pondering, simply being. Allowing the passive aspects of writing to take flight. And if inspiration strikes, I’m generally only metres away from my computer and can get at least the bare bones down. If I’m out walking, I always have a notebook and pen; very often, haiku, poems and other writerly insights arise when I’m walking.

    • Morning Desney. Your log sounds like the sort of thing I was thinking of. I think any sort of notebook, somewhere to jot down your reflections, is an essential tool for a writer. Funny you should mention walking – I’ve added a daily walk to my resolutions for the year. I’ve been so focused on writing – and the business of writing – lately that I have done zero exercise. Apart from the physical benefits walking does give your mind the chance to wander which is definitely a creativity booster. Thanks for the reminder. Have a good day.

  2. I keep a journal of sorts – when the need arises. Mostly, though I have peptalks with myself on my commute to work. Sometimes I record these and relisten to them. I’ve thought about hiring a real writing coach, but money is a real issue in my world. I struggle to write consistently. I’ve written for over a month at a time, then my intuitiveness gets the best of me and my feelings scatter. I have problems writing when that happens. I’m hoping I can learn something from myself and others, but the first thing I want to accomplish is to finish my second manuscript.

    • I know what you mean Catherine. Consistency is a very tricky beast. It sounds like you’re someone who will always come back to your writing though. I use the pomodoro technique of writing for 25 minutes without any distractions then having a break for 5 then another 25. Also setting daily or weekly word count goals can work. If you write 150 words a day that’s 1000 a week. Good luck getting that second ms done.


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