Why Every Writer Should Keep a Gratitude Journal (and How to Make One Work)
You’ve heard the buzz, right? About gratitude journals? Keep one and your fairy godmother will magically appear, boop you with her wand *boop!* and make all of your woes go poof.
At least, that’s the impression I get from reading a lot of articles online. To a big degree, I think some of the claims about gratitude journals are a little overrated. But I don’t think they’re useless. In fact, I think everyone who writes should keep one.
How a gratitude journal helps your writing
Writing is by nature a lonely affair. Most writers I know spend most, if not all, of the day in front of their screens with only a beverage or snack for company. (The lucky ones might have a cat, but still.) Rejections can come into the inbox in an endless stream that chip, chip, chips away at confidence. Pay isn’t always predictable, either.
A gratitude journal lets you go back and capture all the good stuff that happens with your writing so you keep perspective. For example, maybe you can note how free you felt with your laptop in the park. Or maybe you can note that, even though you got another rejection, you conquered your fear of sending it out in the first place and are getting better at your query process. Maybe you only wrote 200 words today, but within them is a sentence you are wildly proud of. Or maybe you just found the PERFECT pen and got to enjoy its glide over the page.
Without this focus on the positives, it’s all too easy to lose the motivation to write. It can feel too much like the hamster wheel is spinning without taking you anywhere. You can lose sight of how much you are improving and getting done. So if you don’t have one, it’s time to start.
Getting your gratitude journal to function well
To make your gratitude journal work,
- Set aside a specific time of day to make journal entries so you know you’ll have a chance to reflect and record your thoughts.
- Be flexible to ensure you’re genuine. If you’re not in the mindset to journal at the time you’ve set aside, it’s OK to use that time toward self-care that will support your writing instead. It’s overall consistency that matters. Don’t make an entry just to keep up appearances.
- Find a medium you love. Some people are old-school pen and paper. I’m a keyboard gal. You can even voice-to-text on Google Docs if you want. It just has to feel comfortable so you don’t resist the journal practice.
- Summarize your journal point on social media if you feel comfortable doing so. Seeing your positives will encourage other writers, and you can attract other writers who will support you if you show a positive mindset yourself. Knowing you’ll use your entry to interact with others can be a great motivator to keep the entries coming and not quit.
- Connect your entries to other areas of your life. For example, if your significant other took the kids so you would have an hour of quiet to write, you can be as thankful for that relationship as you are for the pages you wrote in those 60 minutes. Seeing how writing touches other points will help you see it as more valuable or as a more natural part of your identity.
Ready to keep a journal of thanks yourself?
Gratitude journals won’t make your life perfect. But they can help you see the positives you have in your life as a writer in a way that encourages you to keep up the craft. Try it out and let me know if it makes a difference for you in the comments!