Nonfiction Editor, Zachary Benavidez, blogs about why he keeps a journal.

This summer I started doing something I haven’t done since college: I started journaling again. In grad school, our writing professors encouraged us to keep notebooks in our pockets to jot down instances of inspiration or bits of overheard dialogue. I definitely see the value in that practice, but I’m referring to how a writer’s personal journal can benefit the fiction-writing process; here are five ways:

  1. Recounting a day’s events can help with sequencing events in a story.
  2. Choosing which moments to write about can help with choosing relevant plot points.
  3. (This one goes without saying.) Writing details and descriptions of people and places is good practice for writing details and descriptions in stories.
  4. Reflecting on yourself and your emotions can help with writing internal monologue.
  5. A daily journal ensures that you write everyday – always a good thing.

These points are mere reminders that I rediscovered this summer during moments of great stress, which brings me to a last, important benefit: journaling helps keep the writer sane!