You may have been happily journaling for years. Perhaps you used your journal to write your way through a transformative life experience.
You may find stories, poems, or even just a few great sentences that you may be able to use elsewhere. You never know what gold is waiting in your journals until you get in there and explore.
Here are fourteen steps to mine the gems from your journal.
- Don’t worry yet about where you’ll publish anything.
- Read through and flag the entries that move you. Use sticky notes or dog-ear the page.
- Schedule time to start typing things up.
- Honor those writing time commitments.
- Begin to type the entries. Feel free to simply enter them as they are or edit as you go – adding, embellishing, deleting. Just commit to typing up the whole entry.
- Do this without judging or worrying about whether anyone else will find it interesting. This is critical – you will doubt if anyone else cares. If you like it, keep going.
- While doing this, your challenge will be to be completely honest. When you find your finger heading toward the delete key, know that you have something good and keep it. (We often want to censor our best work.) Let this draft be for your eyes only so you have the courage to leave the good stuff in.
- You will at some point start worrying and wondering how all this is coming together. Trust the process. Trust the content. Be curious and keep exploring.
- Print your typed entries.
- Take yourself to a pleasant place – a café, the park, wherever – and read your pieces. See what moves you, see what inspires you. Make notes for things you’d like to expand or change.
- Choose one piece and choose a place where you’d like to submit it.
- Find out the submission criteria for that publication. Follow these guidelines when you submit. Or, decide when you’ll publish the piece on your blog or any other way you plan to share it.
- Do any final polishing, then send or post your essay.
- Celebrate your efforts of bringing a piece from your journal to the world!
What helps you choose the best nuggets from your journals?
How do you know when you’ve penned something you want to share?