Writing journals may seem outdated now that computers and phones are around but who says writing journals need to only be on paper? Whether it is on paper or using technology, writing journals can be very beneficial to the writing process. I have used writing journals in a variety of ways and they help keep my ideas and story lines organized.
Even if you are just making a list, writing down every idea is beneficial. If you are like me and forget stuff over time, having the story ideas written down can be great for keeping track of them. That way you can just open your journal or app, whatever you are using, to pick an idea to start writing about later on. Writing down titles and short descriptions of possible books can get it off your mind until you want to come back to it. That way you are not being bogged down by so many ideas while trying to focus on one book at a time. Having a memo app on your phone could be great for writing down ideas that you think of on the go whether it is a book title, description, dialogue, or character. I use a memo app to write down ideas until I can get to the computer to type it up. I also use two different physical journals, one for ideas, and another for kingdom/land layouts and character descriptions.
Another reason writing journals are great is to lay out character or setting descriptions. This is especially useful when creating new worlds. For my book Pirates from Under I had to do layouts for each main character to keep track of their physical descriptions, history, and roles. Here is the format I used for characters in my writing journal:
I also made a template for the new lands I created since it takes place in a made up world. Writing down details of each kingdom helped me when I needed to remember what resources or rulers they had as well as the geography of the land. Here is the kingdom/land template I made up.
Name of Place:
Sometimes I even added a little crest for each kingdom at the top.