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There are a lot of different opinions on whether or not you should journal what you read.
Some people swear by it, while others think it’s a waste of time.
We’re going to take a look at 10 reasons why journaling what you read could be beneficial.
Should I Journal What I Read?
There are a lot of reasons to journal about books you read:
- Remember the Plot – Jotting down thoughts and feelings about what you read can help solidify the information in your mind. When you have to take the time to form sentences and articulate your thoughts, it helps embed the information more deeply than simply reading alone. This is especially useful if you read a lot and often forget the books you’ve read.
- Improves Analytical Thinking – When you journal, you can take a step back and analyze what you’ve read. This is helpful in understanding the author’s message and finding new interpretations of the text.
- Make Connections – Journaling can also help you make connections between different books, passages, or characters. By doing this, you can start to see patterns and trends that you may have otherwise missed.
- Get Your Thoughts Out – Sometimes, it can be helpful to get your thoughts out about a book, especially if it’s one that you’re struggling with. By journaling, you can better understand your own feelings and thoughts on the book.
- Track Books Read – It can also help you track the books you’ve read, as well as books you want to read in the future. If you follow a certain author or don’t want to miss the new release in a series, then a reading journal is a great way to keep track and ensure you don’t miss anything.
- Understand What You Read – Journaling can also help you better understand what you read. If something confuses you, or if there’s a theme or message you want to explore further, journaling can help you notice the deeper meaning behind a novel. This can sometimes lead to you discovering a whole new layer to the story that you might not have known was there otherwise.
- Get in the Habit of Reading – If you have trouble getting into the habit of reading, journaling can help. The simple act of writing down what you read, even if it’s just a sentence or two, can help hold you accountable and make sure you’re actually reading on a regular basis.
- Record your Thoughts – If you’re in a book club, journaling can be a great way to keep track of your thoughts and recommendations for other club members. See our post for 25 creative prompts for some great discussion points at your next book club meeting.
- Improve Writing Skills – Journaling about your latest read can help improve your writing skills. When you summarise your thoughts and feelings about a book, you’re effectively practising your essay-writing skills.
- Improve Plotting Skills – Writing about the books you read can help improve your plotting skills. If you aspire to be an author a reading journal will make you examine the text more analytically and deeply. Over time this will filter through to your own writing and make your plots stronger.
If you want to improve your storytelling then our Novel Notebook might help. It contains worksheets and notes pages to keep track of story ideas and flesh out plot ideas.
How do I Start Writing About the Books I Read?
It can be tough to start writing about the books you read, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Pick a Format – There are a lot of different ways to journal about books. You can keep it simple with a list of books read and brief thoughts, or go into more detail with full reviews. You can even create a reading journal in Excel or another spreadsheet program if you want to get really organised.
Check out our reading journals available in a range of formats to suit your preferences. Tracking your reading and journalling about books read is a great way to get more from your reading and remember the plot of books read.
Reading Journal Book
Printable Book Log
Digital Reading Log
Find a Time That Works for You – It’s important to find a time that works for you to write in your journal. If you try to force it, it’ll just become another chore. Choose a time when you’re already in the habit of reading, like before bed or on your lunch break.
Start Small – If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start small. Just write a sentence or two about each book. You can always add more later if you find that you enjoy it.
Be Honest – It’s okay to be critical in your journal. This is for your own benefit, so you should be honest about what you thought of the book.
What Should I Write About?
When you’re journaling about books, it’s important to be specific. Don’t just write a general overview – that’s what reviews are for. Instead, focus on specific aspects of the book that you found interesting or noteworthy. Here are a few prompts to help get you started:
- The characters: who did you like/dislike and why?
- The setting: where does the story take place and what effect does that have on the plot?
- The author’s style: how does their writing make you feel?
- The themes: what topics does the book explore and what did you think about them?
- Your personal connection: how did the book make you feel and why?
25 Prompts for your Reading Journal
If you’re stuck for things to write about your latest read, check out our reading journals for 25 creative prompts to get you writing in no time.
Why Shouldn’t I Journal About What I Read?
- Can Hinder your Enjoyment of the Book – If you’re focused on taking notes and writing about the book, you might not be able to fully enjoy the book. This is especially true if you’re reading for pleasure rather than for school or work.
- Takes Time Away from Reading – Writing in a reading journal takes time away from actually reading. If you have a busy schedule, this might not be the best use of your time.
- Can be Overwhelming – If you’re trying to analyse and write about every book you read, it can quickly become overwhelming. You might find that it’s not worth the effort if you’re struggling to keep up.
Are Reading Logs Effective?
See our post about the pros and cons of keeping a reading journal to learn more about the benefits of starting a book log.
So should you journal what you read? It depends on your personal preferences and goals. If you’re looking to improve your writing skills or plot your own stories, it can be a great idea. But if you’re just looking to enjoy the books you read, you might want to skip it. Whichever you choose, happy reading!