Journal writing

Regarding writing a journal.  I NEVER encourage my students to spend time on journal writing.  This writing time would be better spent writing saleable articles.

Journals are merely private thoughts.  A written form of talking to yourself.  A diary.  Journals are usually never shown to anyone.  A few famous people publish edited versions of their journals in later years.  But by and large, journals are intensely private recordings.

The writing of a journal has nothing to do with writing saleable articles.  You need no discipline, no research, no work ethic to write a journal.  If you don’t do it for a month, no one knows.  If you use wrong grammar and poor spelling, no one can point out such mistakes.  If your writing is sloppy, maudlin, cruel, libellous, self-indulgent or even silly and childish, who knows?

Many journal writers write lies: they are in fact writing what they’d like their lives to be, rather than writing about the truth of their own lives.

In writing saleable journalistic articles:

  1. You need to be disciplined about time
  2. You must do good research
  3. You need to get other people’s cooperation to produce FRESH quotes said to you
  4. You must write for your target publication in order to get published
  5. And then your writing is out there for the world to see, and maybe to criticise.

I can’t see how keeping a journal makes any student of mine a better freelance journalist.  But the main reason I discourage journal writing is simply this: every moment you spend on your private journal is a moment you could spend on putting together a saleable article.  That’s money in the bank!!  Think about it.  If you disagree, tell me.

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