A reading journal is a personal collection of writings that helps you track, analyze and remember the texts you have read. Keeping a reading journal is a practice that’s regularly maintained by thousands of book readers all over the world. It’s also included in many school curriculums as part of literature classes.
In this article, we’re discussing some reasons why you should start writing your own reading journal right now, even if you have never done it before:
1. Broaden your perspective
One of the best aspects of writing a reading journal is that you can better remember all the material you have read. Each book provides a set of ideas, arguments, cultures and wisdom. People especially like to read books that will give them insight into the thinking and work of an influential person. A good example is recent Michelle Obama’s Becoming.
So, to have a broad perspective of the world, a reading journal allows you to fulfill this objective. In this case, you will have some useful references from each of the books you have read. In this way, your experience will be complemented by the next readings, without forgetting what you have learned previously.
2. It allows you to self-reflect
We generally choose books according to our current interests and ideas. When we read certain books, it means that something is happening in our lives. So, when we record the books we have read, we can look back on which ideas shaped our lives during that time.
This, in turn, allows us to analyze and reflect on what has happened to us in previous moments. Also, you can incorporate certain key information after you finish reading a book. Some things you can add are where and when you read the book, how long it took you to finish the book, and how you felt about it.
3. Research and analysis of a topic
When you are interested in a certain topic, a reading journal is of great help. In this case, you will be able to take note of that knowledge, ideas, and ideological positions of the subject you are interested in. In this way, you will be able to carry out better research and analysis of what you want to write about.
On the other hand, it is not advisable to rely only on memory. So, when you forget something important, your next writings could be wrong.
Also, as you record each book, you can make a note of the information that interests you. Of course, this information will depend on what your next goals or projects are. For example, academic readers have significantly different reading goals than casual readers.
4. Gives you satisfaction
One of the best advantages of starting a reading journal is that you will be able to know the road you have traveled. In this way, you will get a sense of satisfaction on different levels. In particular, the exact level of satisfaction will depend on how extensive your reading is.
Besides, you can also incorporate a record of the main benefits that each reading you have done has given you. This is a highly recommended way for people who want to develop as writers.
How to make a reading journal?
1. The start should be simple
One of the main disappointments that many beginners find is the style of the journal. Therefore, this style must be simple and clear, at least in the beginning. No person gets the perfect journal from the first page.
On the contrary, it is a habit that must be perfected with experience. So even if your first ideas are simple or incomplete, start writing them down. After you can adapt to this new practice, your technique can be optimized.
2. Find the right inspiration
Generally, the vast majority of the reading journal’s writers are uninspired at some point. However, this is not a problem at all. In a few simple steps, you can use several websites to get inspired.
Of course, it is not a matter of copying other styles. On the contrary, the aim here is to get new ideas to continue developing your reading journal. In these times, there are a lot of examples that can be found on a lot of websites. So, you should have no problem with that.
3. Create an initial list
When you want to start this project, it means getting and keeping a certain result from the books you have read. Therefore, it is advisable to make a list of the aspects, ideas, arguments, and other features you wish to preserve.
In this case, it is a simple technique that lets you know what you should extract from each book. Probably, the same initial list cannot be applied completely to all the books you have read. However, it will be an excellent guide to help you find your way around.
4. Do not compare your writing with others
On the one hand, you can be inspired by reading the writings of other reading journals. However, you should know the difference between being inspired and comparing yourself. The vast majority of these types of projects are done for a specific purpose.
So, the most important thing should be to maintain that initial purpose over time. You won’t get any benefit from comparing yourself to others.
Furthermore, only in this way can you learn from your own mistakes and perfect your techniques. This is the best way to get what you consider the best reading journal.
Do you remember the feeling when you first read masterpieces like Nigeria’s Soldiers of Fortune? If you want to maintain this feeling for however long you would like, start a reading journal and go back to those feelings and thoughts whenever you like!
Helene Cue is a professional writer and editor at BestWritingAdvisor.com, a writing services review site. She is especially fond of academic writing and to help students with “I wish I could find someone to do my paper for me” mindset. She’s an avid reader who enjoys both fiction and non-fiction. Helene is always working hard to deepen her knowledge and gain more insight about the craft of writing.