Keeping a Daily Journal

As Mark Ford explains in his book The Pledge, written under his pen name, Michael Masterson, journaling is an excellent tool for:

  • Keeping track of your progress on your goals and work projects
  • Remembering people you’ve met, books you’ve read, and observations you’ve made
  • And, as we said in this month’s Writing Tip, staying creative and energizing your writing

So today, you’re going to start keeping a journal, either handwritten in a notebook or on your computer.

What should be in it? Michael says to start with your goals.

  1. Start by writing down your daily task lists for the day, highlighting the priorities. Each task should put you closer to one of your weekly, monthly, and/or yearly goals. At the end of the day, note which you accomplished and how long it took. It’ll help you figure out how much time to dedicate to future goal tasks. Anything you didn’t get to, think of what stopped you and how to overcome that obstacle. Add it to the next day.

You can also:

  • Record all your great writing ideas in your journal … for new advertising copy, new headlines, outlines for upcoming projects.
  • Jot down interesting facts, quotes, and even links to articles that you might use in your writing projects.
  • Capture ideas for advancing your free¬lance career, like ideas for approaching clients, ways to improve your skills, and more.

Keep it up each day. You’ll get more done and be that much closer to the Barefoot Writ¬er lifestyle. As Michael says:

“Eighty percent of the good ideas we come up with are lost because we simply forget them. Entering them into a journal and then editing them once a month assures that most of them are remembered and profited from.

“I use my journal to get my day started. As a writer, I face the same blank page/screen every writer faces each morning. Rather than wait for the proverbial flash of inspiration, I begin by opening up yesterday’s journal en¬try, reading it, and using it as a springboard for the writing I will do that day.

“Keeping a journal can help you change your life. It can help you do better work, achieve your goals, and get your workday moving. It only takes about 5 to 30 min¬utes a day – well worth it when you consider the payoff: it will help you make better plans and accomplish more with your time.”