Everyone has to practice. Professional athletes practice their sports. Musicians practice their instruments or singing. Actors rehearse, which is simply just another word for practice. Writers need to practice as well. There’s a reason the phrase “practice makes perfect” is still true. While we can never be perfect, practice gets us closer.
It’s easy to practice writing. I know you have deadlines and other things you need to do. Writing a journal is practice. Sit down and write something for at least fifteen minutes a day. Personally, I try to write for an hour every day. Sometimes I only manage a half hour, and sometimes I actually can go longer. The point is, I write something not related to my fiction or this blog every day. I practice. You should too.
Maybe journaling isn’t for you, but consider it. It doesn’t have to be formal writing. My journal is not intended as something I plan to publish. I let out anger and rage. I make observations on life. I talk about family matters. I write these blogs. Yes, the first draft of just about everything I write appears first in my journal. I’m not alone in that. Thoreau was famous for copying things out of his journal. He always had it with him and used it to make notes and write down any thoughts that came to his mind.
You can keep your journal in a paper volume like Thoreau did. You could do as I do and make notes on your smart phone or tablet. I write mine on my laptop, but I have apps on my phone that let me write notes and keep them from device to device so I can gather it all together in one spot. You can use something like Ever Note or OneNote to make notes in the cloud, which makes them available any time, any place. If you do that every day, you are writing a journal and practicing writing.
A journal is a collection of your thoughts. Plan out your day. Write yourself notes to remind yourself of something. It doesn’t matter what method you use, just use complete sentences to form your thoughts. Take the time to write your thoughts out completely. That’s practice. If it helps, think of a journal as not just a record of your thoughts and activities, but as a series of letters to yourself.
Some people start each journal entry as if they are writing a letter — “Dear Diary”. I used to call mine Rocky. I don’t know why but I use to talk to “Rocky” every day. I outgrew that practice and don’t call my journal by a name anymore. The point is, if you give yourself a chance to write a journal, do that. If you are waiting in a doctor’s office, instead of reading a magazine, describe the waiting room and how you feel waiting. It is very good practice for your writing. You will find your writing improves over time. Now, go practice your craft.