Journal Juju: Are Journalers “Real” Writers?

I’m going to just cut to the chase here…

I’ve been journaling for over 30 years (thank you to my very first Hello Kitty diary with that military grade lock and key) and, despite my opinion being an unpopular one, I’m just going to go ahead and own it and proclaim it.

Yes. (Can I get a hell yes?!) Journalers are very much REAL writers.

I’ve heard it before. The “reason” disputing this declaration.

“Journaling is just throwing random thoughts on a page. Thoughts that aren’t clearly developed and don’t have focus or direction.”


To that I say BULLSHIT.

The pages of a journal are the most raw and vulnerable a person can be. The most curious first draft in existence.

Anne Lamott talks about the shitty first draft in her amazing book Bird by Bird (run don’t walk to the bookstore to get your copy if you don’t already have it in your collection), and the journal affords that in it’s truest and purest form. There are no rules and a journaler is free to explore and take advantage of that at every turn.

The words that are born in a journal are the springboard for short stories, poetry, love letters, and novels. Those are the words that fuel song lyrics and screenplays. Those are the words that begin it all.

Maybe the words will forever stay tucked safely inside the journals in which they are born and that’s perfectly acceptable, too. A journal is, at the end of the day, for no one else but the journaler…the person penning those words. (Is that you?)

Just because the pages of a journal don’t become published (though many have and many more will) doesn’t make the journaler any less of a writer for there is curiosity behind those words. There is often pain, anger, and suffering behind those words followed by excitement, joy, and pure happiness.

There is wonder behind those words.

There is a knowing behind those words.

If that’s not a true, REAL writer, than I honestly don’t know what is.

Leave a reply

Sign up for my monthly-ish newsletter for all the latest in the land of Woz.