How journaling for business can write you a book

Someone I was chatting to recently came up with an interesting question: “I want to write a book about my experience of launching a new business, but I don’t have enough information to share yet. What should I do?”

Journaling for business on HTAB

Journaling is about writing down all aspects of your life: from the emotional through to the practical.

Journal, I thought. But surely not the type of journaling common to positive psychology, mindfulness techniques etc.?

Well actually, yes. Journaling is about writing down all aspects of your life: from the emotional through to the practical. It’s something you do every day, often last thing at night, to help you review the events of the day, how you resolved any problems, and how all that made you feel. More on the science behind journaling below…

Writing a journal on your experience of setting up the new business

Good call, said my co-chatter. So how would I use this? Well, I ventured, a lot of other people setting out with a new business start-up would probably find it helpful to read your “blow-by-blow” account of how you progressed from zero to a business.

That’s something they will value as shared experience and tracking both your ups and your downs probably will save them a lot of time, money and anxiety.

And as a journal rather than a business blog, it will be able to share not only the practical problems you faced but also the emotional ones.

Not only does this content add up to a potential book, but it also can be a useful record for you to look back over as your business progresses. There many other ways its content can be repurposed, too.

So how important is journaling?

Here’s a useful definition, from an article by Simon Slade on CNBC.com

“While journaling is often celebrated as an effective strategy for personal growth, it has very specific applications for entrepreneurs and seeking to get ahead in business. I was journaling long before I started my business and I noticed the important role it played in developing the philosophy and strategy that ultimately made my companies thrive.”

Simon’s article entitled Three Ways Journaling Is Key To Success (and how to do it) is a brilliant example of journaling working well in a business context. Do click through and read it.

Written in the right order already

Journals being what journals are, your experience and discoveries along the way will neatly fit into chronological order, which is a good start towards a strategic book plan.

You may well need to edit out the expletives, duplications and other unsavoury stuff, but what is great about the journal approach is that readers will learn not only what you did right and what you did wrong, but also how that made you feel … how that impacted on the rest of your life.

That’s a very important element of business today (the “work-life balance”) and to read someone’s total experiences of starting and/or running a business rather than just the business elements, is very much to the point.

Can you write this online, in a blog?

Yes, you could. But writing by hand is not obsolete yet and for a good reason.

In 2015 Professor Daniel Oppenheimer, who was working at Princeton University at the time, conducted a piece of research with his graduate assistant Pam Mueller.

Prof. Daniel Oppenheimer on Why the Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard

This study, The Pen Is Mightier Than The Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking, was aimed primarily at students and how well – or not – they retained information in lectures. However the concept was widely reported in the US media and a little later on in Europe, where it was rolled out across not only university work, but also business, primary and secondary education and mental health therapies.

Kristin Wong, in a recent article on LifeHacker quoted from a New York Times report, sharing an excerpt from a study published in Developmental Neuropsychology which contained the following interesting points:

“printing, cursive writing, and typing on a keyboard are all associated with distinct and separate brain patterns — and each results in a distinct end product. When the children composed text by hand, they not only consistently produced more words more quickly than they did on a keyboard, but expressed more ideas”

And if you think writing by hand (on paper) is a bore, what about…

…using a handwriting app that allows you to write, by hand, on a screen – using a stylus instead of a pen. Many versions of this magical concept, a.k.a. digital handwriting, interpret your handwritten words, feed them into your computer system and they emerge neatly typed out. For those of you who don’t know how it works, check out this article on Inc.com by Neil C. Hughes.

example of journal on How To Write Better

Wouldn’t you love to handwrite in this beautiful journal?

So are paper notebooks off the menu?

Not for me, they aren’t. I know it’s a bit of a girly thing but a stylus and a screen simply cannot compare, in touchy-feely terms, with a glamorous and inviting special stationery journal.

How about you? How do you feel about journaling for business, as well as how you write it down? Please share!

 

 

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