[Abend's Lake, Litchfield, Ohio. Christine B. (c) 2009]
When I was a teen I kept a journal or a diary. I was very good at writing in it every day. I had years of books that I had written. When I was married to my second husband in the 1980s, the journals were destroyed when I stored them in a Rubbermaid container in my basement that leaked. There were over twenty years worth of journals in that container that I had to part with. I was very upset about it. Those journals were my written history.
When personal computers became popular, I bought one and began journaling again, but it wasn't the same. There is something about keeping a hand-written journal that means so much more than a typed one.
Those journals would have come in handy to me when I wrote my autobiography, "I Remember," earlier this year. I'm sure there were some importing events of my youth that I forgot to add in my book that I would have included had I had my journals to refer back to.
But journaling is not only good for reference material. Journaling is good practice for writing, as well. I would recommend it to any young writer who asks what is the best way to start writing. When you journal every day you are not only jotting down what has occurred in your life, but you are also writing about how you feel about what happens to you. How these things affect you teaches you how the same situation would affect the character in a story you might write later. And, obviously, journaling also is healthy for one emotionally, as it helps the writer to get their feelings down on paper, so they don't stay bottled up inside.
So, the best way to start writing is to journal your little heart out. You will be amazed at what inspiration will come from it.