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5 Ways Keeping A Reading Journal Will Change Your Life

reading journal

The best writers are often avid readers who read book after book, absorbing all they can from their favorite stories. But whether you read regularly or less frequently, odds are you won’t remember every detail of every story. Keeping a reading journal will allow you to revisit reactions you’ve had to books you’ve read and use this information to inspire your own writing projects.

The Benefits Of Keeping A Reading Journal

1. Creativity is often triggered by something that we encounter. When an idea pops into your head mid-reading, writing it down will ensure that you remember it when it comes time to write your own story or poem.

2. Keeping a reading journal encourages you to actively read and question what the writer is saying, rather than just passively accepting it. When you submit work for publication, editors will actively read and question your workcultivating a similar critical reading eye can help strengthen your writing.

3. If you’re in a book group, you’ll be better able to discuss the books and offer insights that others may have overlooked if you have notes to jog your memory.

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4. Reviewing your journal will help you discover what you consistently like—and don’t like—in the writing of other authors. This knowledge will guide you in developing and improving your own writing style.

5. A reading journal will help you quickly scan through summaries of the books you’ve read so you can revisit those that are relevant to your current project.

How Do You Start A Reading Journal Or Diary?

It’s easy! Purchase a special journal or designate a section of the journal you currently use to log each book you read.

Here is a list of elements to consider each time you add a new book to your journal:

  • Date finished
  • A one-paragraph plot summary
  • How much you liked the book on a scale of 1-10
  • Favorite passages or quotes
  • What you learned from it in terms of your own writing
  • Favorite scene in the book
  • Most liked character and why
  • Least liked character and why
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

Your reading journal can reveal aspects of your reading and writing habits that you might not have been aware of, and assist you in honing your craft. Plus, the next time a friend asks for a book recommendation, you’ll have the answer right at your fingertips!

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: How do you keep track of the books you read?


3 Responses to 5 Ways Keeping A Reading Journal Will Change Your Life

  1. This article goes to the right direction in terms of suggesting ways to keep a journal about books that are your favourite. That is a great way to keep a journal if you compile one. It is a great way to write ideas you have about reading interests and it could influence writing projects you might have. This is really great reading and puts across its points efficiently.

  2. I’ve kept reading journals for years, in pretty hardcover notebooks. Nothing formal, just a short plot summary and what I thought of the book. Now that I have a blog, I do reviews of any book I read on the blog. I kind if miss the notebooks now!

  3. I kept pocket calendars for a few years and noted book titles as I finished them, mainly to keep track of how many books I was reading. I found I could read three or four in a week, but then I would sour and not want to read anything. Then my calendar went AWOL for a few months and I got out of the habit.

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