Journaling can seem a natural offshoot of freelance writing. The most obvious benefit is when your journaling you’re also writing, and writing is almost always a good thing for writers.
Unlike those who always do morning pages or other forms of daily diary keeping, I’m keep a sporadic journal of sorts. Dig around in my computer and you’ll find all sorts of essays, drafts of essays, pages of complaint and celebration, any of which could fall under the rubric of journal writing.
It seems this kind of writing can be divided at least in two – as a way to process feelings and as a way to memorialize a life.
Journaling as a way to process feelings
I tend to process my feelings by writing fairly often. Whenever I find myself unhappy about anything from my love life to the size of my middle, I tend to write about it. Over time I’ve written about each of my kids multiple times, most of my friends, people I’m angry with, when I feel hurt, even about being sick and current money situations. You name it. I sometimes rant about politics to myself.
I come from an attitude that life is good and that when I’m upset there’s something for me to learn. Writing about it, whatever it is, is my way of discovering more about that part of me, and bringing myself back to center. I often use mediation as well, asking myself “What is this? what is this really all about?” I generally get some insight that I use in this kind of writing.
Memorializing a life
So much of our history comes from people who kept diaries. Probably since we first developed the ability to write, some folks have written down what happened in their lives – some daily, some less so. Often the entries are mundane, a mention of planting or harvesting or cleaning house. Bigger events are mentioned too, marriages, births, deaths, fires, barn raisings, and of course, war in all its horror.
I’ve done a bit of this type of journaling, mostly when I’ve been traveling. For example, I chronicled all sorts of things when I was sailing on small boats in the South Pacific for five months.
What about making money from your journaling?
Although I don’t think I’ve ever started writing a journal piece with the idea of selling it or using it to promote me, sometimes it’s just too obvious not to try. My favorite example is the stories I was able to sell as a result of being shipwrecked during my South Pacific journey. One sale was made to a sailing magazine that loved that sort of thing. Another was to a maritime journal – big boats! There I broke down the safety concerns of how the wreck actually happened. They were impressed and paid well.
More recently I took an issue about my own aging and turned it into an essay for Medium. If you’re curious, it’s called Of Bras, Possible Intimacy and Senior Dating. I gather it’s possible to earn money there – we shall see.
Do you journal? Tell us about it in comments if you’d like to.
Write well and often,