Tips for Journal Writing
- Start with the day itself.
- Help your readers see what it is like to live inside your head.
- Add sensory details so readers have something to see and hear and touch.
- Choose details that enhance a sense of your mood.
- Focus on creating that mood rather than merely listing events.
- Don’t always use proper sentences.
- Sometimes leave out the subject: I.
- Instead, sometimes start a sentence with the next word: the verb.
- Start a new paragraph when you change the scene or topic.
- Have an ending that brings you back to how you started.
- Avoid these words: ‘then,’ ‘so,’ ‘later,’ ‘also,’ ‘because.’ If you use them, take them out when you proofread.
- Proofread again. Proofread it another time again.
- Change your words and sentences so they flow more smoothly. Read it aloud and keep changing until you can hear it singing its own song.
Excerpts from Sixth Grade Student Journals
“This morning I am doing great. I can hear the birds chirping and see them flying in the blue sky. Well, the sky is not blue, it is gloomy outside. But the birds still look so nice out there.” – Darshpreet
“It is a very cloudy and gloomy day. It is not that cold but I still hope it is sunny tomorrow. I do not care if it is really hot but if it is at least warm, we won’t have to wear jackets and then my mother will let me eat lunch – a salad with garlic bread – outside on our trampoline.
“Today, I am in a very good mood. We do not have much work to do and so I can wait until later to finish my assignments. I have worked on many subjects, so far, with only one break. I will complete the rest later and for now, I’ll go for a walk with my mom around the neighbourhood. I am in a good mood since we are ordering a pizza from Pizza 64 for dinner.
“It’s funny. I actually feel like studying today because we do not have too much to do. As a result, oddly enough, I want to do more! I think I’ll read for a couple of hours and then work on upgrading my art.” – Gurnoor
“Today is a sad and gloomy day. It’s raining outside and I can’t play basketball. But today is a great day to spend an hour reading my novel: Hideout by Gordan Korman. Before I start reading, though, I’ll finish my schoolwork.
“When I am done reading, I will play a new game with my sister because she talks all day long without stopping. For the game, we’ll sit on my bed and I’ll tell her, “Whoever stays silent the longest wins.” Then, I’ll turn off the light and not talk to her. We’ll see what happens! I bet I’ll win!
“Later, I’ll go down to the garage and dribble my basketball for half an hour or so. This is the most rainy it has been for the past two weeks.
“P.S. I played the silent game with my sister. She lasted for 20 minutes. I won!” – Manshan in grade 6
“Change is the rule of nature. Changes occur naturally and constantly. Weather, animals and plants all are continually changing as well as any human’s mood, growth and knowledge. Mood is the part of a human that changes the most. Mood also depends on what environment and surroundings you are in. For example, if you are with friends and it is sunny outside, you are most likely to be in a happy mood.
“As far as I know myself, I can say that I am not a moody person. Even so, many things can affect my mood. Things like riding a bike, eating delicious food, playing fun games or watching TV help me get in a happy mood, but things like staying inside, eating the food I do not like over and over again or playing a game over and over again or when someone (like my sister) keeps bothering me, can get me in a bad or unhappy mood.
“As for today, I woke up in a lazy mood, as usual. It took a while, but when I said good morning to my mom, it really cheered me up. After my mom made breakfast for me, she made an omelette, a bagel, milk and a handful of nuts. She tried to make a smile with the omelette and bagel. It turned out to be eyebrows with a smile. It really encouraged me to eat it.
“Then as I opened the MacBook, I went back into my lazy mood, because I did not want to work. Instead I wanted to play. But when I saw an email that said I got 92% on a math review test – the second best score in the whole class – I was on cloud nine. I was blown away! My mom was extremely happy with my results. That really changed my mood. I was really motivated and finished all my work very quickly.
“Now, I am in a great mood. So moods keep on changing with different events, days, and expectations.” – Gurshaan
“Spring is here. Everyone is always excited, except this spring. People are worried about the coronavirus and because of that, they do not go outside of their homes to play with their friends.
“Today, while I went on a walk with my mom, I noticed that the roads were empty and there were no pedestrians beside us. Normally there would be grandpas playing cards at the community park, grandmas would be walking with their grandchildren, and teenagers would be making a lot of noise by revving up their shiny expensive cars. Today none of that stuff was happening.” – Gurvir
“Today was a nice day with the birds chirping and the bees buzzing. I read a book called Sisters. It was a nice book about a family going to their cousins.
“Covid-19. Covid-19 has changed everything, including me. One way it has changed me is that I don’t feel the need to go outside anymore. I am scared that I will never want to go outside ever again after Covid-19. But sometimes I do think what it would be like to go outside and not be stuck in this house all day. But again, whenever god makes something happen, it is good. Even if it seems bad.
“Since I have been staying inside all the time, I have started to read a lot more. Like I said in the beginning, I read a book called Sisters. That is not the only book I have read. I am now reading Smile. That book is good, too. I am starting to like it even more.
“I have also been playing with my brother who is 4 months old. I will tell you one thing: he screams a lot. Like last night. I don’t know what happened to him, but he started screaming and crying so loudly, it scared my mom and me a lot.
“But even after all that, even after all the hard times right now, I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings and what it will be like.” – Darshpreet
“Online school is very fun. I usually have a 30-minute break every one hour and sometimes I talk to my friends, Manshan and Gurvir, if they are having a break, which they usually have because I call at 10 and that’s when they have “snacks” and I ask them how much they are done. Then, I have a break and I play with my brother.
“Living on Earth and not getting affected by Covid-19 is hard. There have been more than 1 million more cases in the world in less than 48 hours. That is crazy. I feel like I am a reporter because everyday I say at least one thing about Covid-19. But that is what everybody is talking about. As I am writing this, I found out that one more person has coronavirus.” – Mehtej
“There are puddles of water on the ground. I try to make sure I don’t step in them. It’s cloudy and it looks like a sad day. I can hear birds chirping from far away but I can’t see them. It’s also windy. I walk around and see all the mud and all the soaked plants.
“I normally hear our neighbors’ children, who are teenagers, revving their cars because they are expensive and they want to show them off. I usually see a lot of people coming to throw garbage at the compost area in front of our house, but not today. I usually see people come parachuting at the Skydive area near us, but not today.
“My parents went to the store to buy sanitizer, gloves and masks from the store and when they came back I asked, “Was there anybody even there?” They told me that there were no people at parks or walking outside but quite a few people at the store. There was barely any sanitizer left and there were no gloves or masks left. They had to go to five different stores to find everything we needed.” – Mehtej
“Last night, I found out about something that for me, is the scariest thing so far. I live in a quiet neighbourhood, but the street in front of my house is one of the main streets in my city. On the busy street, there is a place where people who are retired or are old live. Then, last night, my family and I found out that some people were diagnosed with Covid-19.
“Everything is so strange. Who would ever think that on April 2, it would snow? I mean it is not snowing a lot, just small flurries. Just three days ago, it was sunny. A beautiful blue sky with some white clouds gently but swiftly moving across the sky. And now, today just a while ago, it was snowing.
“Same thing with Covid-19. Three months ago, everything was perfect; but now everything is the complete opposite. The only words that I hear on the news are Covid-19 and deaths. I really want to go outside and play or have a nice walk; but what do I do? It is cold out and it just snowed. I definitely do not want to get sick!
“I might play some games with my siblings or maybe help my mom in the kitchen. For now, all we can do is hope that doctors and scientists work together to find a cure and stop Covid-19!” – Esha
“Finally, no snow! It has been cold for the past few days. The only things in the sky were clouds. Yesterday, it even rained. I mean I guess we would expect rain in spring, but it is about time that the sun shines.
Nothing much happened during the weekend. All I did was work on my second science lesson and some art. I think I want to finish my science tomorrow.
“After my homework today, I think I might go outside and help my parents in the backyard. This is the perfect time of year to play outside or work in the garden; it is not too cold and not too hot.
“It feels like it has been weeks since we started online school, but in reality, it has only been one week! I finally finished reading How to Fix a Lie. Now, I think I might get started on my ebook Anne Arrives. I think I might do some math after writing my journal. I still need to do some typing.
“Sometimes the day flies by, while on other days, it seems to be going on forever. Today is one of those days that just go on and on for what seems like eternity. It is just not coming to an end. There was nothing much on the news. Same stuff about Covid-19. I really hope that this all ends soon!” – Esha