Should Writers Keep a Journal?

Pros and some surprising cons.

Mignon Fogarty
5-minute read
Episode #187
keeping a journal

Can You Spend too Much Time Journaling?

Here's one question I've pondered: Can you spend too much time journaling? I've met people who say they spend at least an hour a day writing in a journal. For most writers I know, at least those who have families and jobs, one of the biggest challenges they face is finding time to write, to work on their book, or short stories, or blog. So when I hear of people spending so much time journaling, I wonder if it has become a procrastination tool.

If you're spending an hour every day on your journal, ask yourself why you aren't working an hour every day on a writing project that will get in front of readers. There may be times early in a project when you need to spend a lot of time fleshing out ideas, but just because you don't have an assignment doesn't mean you can't be working on writing that could become a project or could be read by real people.

No Pressure

Finally, don't feel like you're a failure as a writer if you don't keep a journal. I've actually met people who feel guilty that they don't keep a journal. It's a great tool for some people, but if it doesn't work for you, don't worry about it. Maybe try it again in a year or two, but don't think you're somehow obligated to keep a journal just because you're a writer.

That's all. I'm Mignon Fogarty, author of the New York Times bestsellers Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing and The Grammar Devotional. Thanks for listening.

Mignon Fogarty is Grammar Girl and the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips. Check out her New York Times best-seller, “Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.