journaling and poetry

How Journaling Can Improve Your Poetry

Writing in all forms can help strengthen your creativity and artistic expression. That being said, have you ever considered the benefits of journaling as you set out to write your next great poem? Journaling is a perfect complement to poetry as it helps you sort through your emotions and write your thoughts down on paper.


The beauty of journaling is that there is no right way to do it; you can use your journaling time to focus on goal-setting or you can use it as more of a therapeutic exercise to process tough feelings.


For me, journaling is often a good way to start the brainstorming process before I begin writing a poem. Journaling is the overflow of my heart at its most raw and vulnerable. It is a safe space for my eyes only, a place to start the process of understanding and coming to terms with what I’m experiencing. It’s also an incredible tool to aid in mental wellbeing. Research suggests that journaling can have a positive effect on our mental health, immunity, memory, stress management, and emotional response.


Journaling also improves our poetry by inspiring motivation and creative expression. It is an opportunity to settle into the right headspace and remember why you write in the first place. 


While journaling, take a moment to really think about what drives your passion for writing—what do you hope to accomplish with your poetry? What do you hope people experience when they read a piece of your poetry?


Writing is a unique opportunity to share a piece of ourselves with others, and journaling can help us remember how important poetry is to us and how we hope to help others with the words we choose. I’ve found when I remind myself of some of the specific reasons I write and the things I strive to accomplish, it helps me shift my perspective and rekindle that inner fire to create and to make a difference. 


Another beautiful truth? Journaling is personal. It’s a wonderful way to get back in touch with your own voice. When we are constantly surrounded by the words of other writers, we can feel overwhelmed and unqualified to tell our own story or to write in our own style. Journaling gives you the chance to enter into your individual creative space. It helps give you a starting line to write down your thoughts and feelings or your ideas for a piece you want to write. It allows you to disconnect with the world for a while so that you reconnect with your “why.” 


Give this a try: take a few moments a day to step away from your phone or computer. Grab pen and paper, and start your writing process with journaling. There’s no pressure here. Unlike when you sit down to write a poem, your journaling time isn’t necessarily meant to lead directly to an output. Allow it to give you a few moments of freedom. Try and work through some emotions that you’ve been having. Write about some of the stressful things you’ve been experiencing. Write about observations you’ve had about yourself or the world around you. This is time for you: no one sees this part of the writing process. It’s a safe space for you to write without any expectation or creative strings. 


Think of writing poetry as your race and your journaling as the warm-up. The warm-up is important to your race. It gets your muscles ready and your heart pumping. In the same way, your journaling can get your mind ready and your soul excited and motivated to create. The journaling process may not be glamorous, but it will help you grow as a writer if you let it. 


If you are someone who has been journaling for a while, let us know in the comments how you’ve noticed it change your writing. If you are new to journaling, what are your thoughts so far? Let us know if you give it a try and any observations you have as you go. 


Happy journaling, all!