Humans have had an inclination to write down their experiences almost since the beginning of time, it seems. We’ve kept diaries and journals, writing in them regularly, mostly for our own purposes and doing so, for the most part, with the express intention of keeping them private.
The advent of the Internet Age, however, changed that. Suddenly it became possibly to keep an online journal. This meant we could actually write a daily diary and make it public for the whole World Wide Web to read. The earliest bloggers called themselves diarists, journalists, journalers, or escribitionists, according to Wikipedia, and Justin Hall, who began eleven years of personal blogging in 1994 while a student at Swarthmore College, may have been one of the first to keep an online journal. These “web logs” were later called “blogs.” Today, in most cases most blogs tend to look much less like online diaries—but not in all. Some bloggers still use their blogs as daily journals and write about their lives and experiences.
As we know, sometimes private diaries and journals become published books. Maybe the most famous example of this is The Diary of Anne Frank. The diaries of Andy Warhol also were published postmortem.
Unfortunately, most journals are not filled with the stuff books are made of, but they can be. Instead of writing morning pages consisting of a stream of consciousness of a brain dump of your most current fears, complaints or mishaps (or trying to act as your own therapist)—all good uses for a journal, mind you—you can focus your journal on a specific topic.
Focus Your Journal to Become More Productive
In other words, decide to explore a topic thoroughly via your journal. To do so, you’ll need to create a journal content plan before you begin. I know this concept goes against the grain for many journal lovers who just want to write about whatever comes to mind that day; after all, that’s kind of the point of journaling. Bear with me and just consider trying it for a short period of time—maybe a few months.
To create a content plan, you might brainstorn using a mind map. You can organize the subjects into a logical order. Then use this as the structure for your journal.
One you’ve generally mapped out your content, begin journaling. When you have finished exploring your topic, you actually may have journaled a book!
Create an Online Journal
Here’s an added twist. Start an online journal for this project—a blog. When you have finished exploring your topic via your blog, you may have blogged a book!
Here’s why I suggest a blog for your journal, which takes you back to the original roots of blogging: As you write and publish your journal entries on the internet, you will gain fans—readers. In this way, you promote yourself and your potential book project. If your blog gains a lot of readers you might attract a literary agent or a publisher; then your efforts will be rewarded with a publishing contract. If this doesn’t happen but you have, indeed, garnered a good number of readers to your blog, you can self-publish your online journal (after editing and revising) and sell it successfully to your fans. More and more blogs are being turned into books every day. Why shouldn’t your online diary be one of them? If this doesn’t appeal to you, keep it private using a word processing program or a blog you don’t make public.
Five Ideas for Journaling a Book
Need some ideas for how to journal a book? Consider exploring:
- a specific period of your life—you might end up with a memoir.
- a work situation and what you know about that job—you might create a manual on how to become a nurse, a computer salesperson, a sports coach, or a seamstress.
- why you love gardening and your experiences in the garden (or any other hobby you might enjoy)—you might write a book of essays for gardeners filled with little tips and tools others who enjoy this hobby can put to use.
- how you dealt with a loss—you might compose a prescriptive nonfiction book that helps others.
- what it was like home schooling your children—you might develop a story to which others parents can relate and learn.
You could journal a book by hand or in a word processing program on your computer.
There’s no need to wait until you are dead for someone to decide your journals are worth publishing. Set out to journal a book and get it published while you are still alive to enjoy the accomplishment.
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