Why Keeping a Journal is Good for Your Writing Career

Black and golden pen resting on top of an open empty journal

What is a journal?

Is it a leather-bound book where you write about your hidden hatred for Janet, and keep under lock and key?

Is it a place where you write your reflections on God’s plans for you, your relationship with him, and how he’s leading you?

Is it where you write creative prompts and wild imaginative stories like Stephen King?

For me, writing a journal is most of these things and more.

The first time I kept one seriously was October 2016. It would be a simple diary-like journal where I recorded my polyphasic sleep journey and daily to-do-list.

Or so I thought.

Like water that has been poured on a concrete floor, other aspects of my life sipped into it.

Soon, it became a web filled with my goals, daily activities, polyphasic sleep journey, reflections on business deals and insight on people.

That journal gave me clarity on who I am, what I really wanted in life (not what I said I wanted), and how I preferred to live my life.

I understood my values, my philosophy, my way of thinking and how to channel it properly.

The journal writing ended in 2016.

I didn’t pick up journaling again till August 13th, 2017 – the day I officially turned my writing hobby into a career.

This is my first entry:

“Today, I have started the execution of my plans and goals. I have faith that it will work out perfectly. I can sense something good coming my way. Now is the time to pray.

Holy Spirit, I love you and I know you’ve called me to take gospel and media entertainment to every nook and cranny of the earth, and to take it to every creature. Everything I’ve done to this point is for that purpose. And now, I sense a miracle in my spirit – a strong miracle.

Thank you Lord for this miracle you’ve given to me. It’s in millions of money and connections. It’s here for me.


Peniel's first entry in second journal

Shortly after, in September, I got a writing contract offline. But that’s not the most important part.

My journal grew.

At first, it became a tree with lots of branches and fruits. Then it became a forest.

Presently, it has so many aspects:

  • Diary entries
  • To-do lists
  • Reflections on people
  • Interactions with God
  • God’s instructions on my career and life
  • Blog articles
  • Solving problems mathematically
  • Feminist’s thoughts
  • Polyphasic sleep journey
  • Goals and execution process
  • Dreams and aspirations
  • Outlines of books to write
  • Fantasy world building
  • Myer-Briggs personality test as it relates to me
  • Bible verses
  • Different lessons on writing, blogging, social media marketing etc
  • Special things God tells me
  • Challenges and my process of overcoming them
  • Achievements and testimonies
  • Dreams when I sleep
  • Education tips
  • Computer programming journey
  • Places to travel to
  • Daily work schedule and execution
  • And others

People advise you to keep certain kinds of journals:

  1. Ordinary journals
  2. Creative writing journals
  3. Dream journals
  4. Goal journals, etc.

Some say it’s beneficial to practice journaling as a writer. The Creative Penn has an article on it.

And it’s all true.

And much more.

My present journal doesn’t have half of the diary entries the first one had.

I don’t write in it every day.

But it’s way deeper.

It’s an extension of myself. It showcases my growth as an individual and an entrepreneur.

I can go back to it and reread reflections, plans and God’s private messages that have not stuck to my mind. Then I work my way up from there.

I’m sure that without it, my career won’t have gone as far as it has.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to push my writing career off the ground. But this time around, I’ve stuck to it. The plane has taxied on the runway and is taking off.

I can go back and read what God asked me to do. I can look at what God and I planned on Dec 1st, 2017.

Then I can say, “Yeah. This is how far I’ve gone. This is where I went off course. This is an area I need to improve on. Ok Lord, what next?”

So, why is journaling good for your writing career?

Because it causes you to grow.

It doesn’t matter what kind you want to keep. Whether it’s a writing journal or an everything-goes-in-there journal like mine, it will improve an aspect of your career.

And that’s the coolest, bestest thing ever.

Peniel C written in front of journal