you write your own journal entry, you will practice sharpening your
powers of observation. Good writers try to clearly see and describe
the world around them. They also try to understand themselves through
their writing. Focusing on details is the key to descriptive journal
Here are some
challenges that should help you as you begin to write your journal.
Give them a try!
Who are you?
Observe and describe your world.
Describing the characters around you
Revise your writing.
1. Who are you?
Make a list of all the qualities that describe who you are. For
example: Are you a student? a musician? an athlete? Are you friendly?
outgoing? serious? happy? Come up with a list of five to ten qualities.
Understanding who you are will make it easier for you to describe
yourself in your journal entry.
2. Observe and describe your world.
Think and write about an event for example, a birthday party,
a trip to the zoo, or a ride on the school bus. As the event unfolds,
concentrate on what happens not only to you but around you. Record
in your memory the details of what you experience. Here are some
questions to ask yourself:
- What do
- What can
you hear voices? music?
- What can
- What do
- How does
the place feel temperature, textures, etc.?
- How do you
feel excited? scared? happy? sad?
- What are
3. Describing the characters around you
Fiction sometimes plays a role in descriptive writing. As you describe
an event, you may observe someone who is unfamiliar but whom you
want to write about. In order to describe this person, you will
need to use your imagination. For example, if you see someone with
paint on her shirt, you may decide that she is an artist. You can
then build a whole story or journal entry starting
from this single detail. Observe a person you don't know but who
seems interesting to you. Pick one detail about that person that
you find interesting. Then write a short description of this person
based on that detail. Be as creative as you can.
4. Revise your writing
Have you written a first draft of your descriptive piece? If so,
then you are ready to revise. Read your writing to yourself or to
a friend. Did you include enough detail? Were you specific in your
descriptions? Do you like what you've written? Is there something
you think could be better? Here are some guidelines I find helpful
when I begin revising my own work:
Be sure that
each word or phrase you use is exactly the way you want to say it.
Everything you write is important so be sure that it's the best
it can be.
Vary the way
you begin your sentences so that they don't all sound exactly the
same. For example, don't start every sentence with "Then" or "So."
Avoid sentences like this: "Then I did my homework. Then I ate dinner.
Then I went to bed." Start sentences with transition words like
"After," "Next," and "Finally" to make sentences more direct and
more interesting. For example, "I did my homework. After that I
ate my dinner. Finally, I went to bed."
If you see a tree swaying in the wind, describe exactly what you
observe so that the reader can see what you see. Say what kind of
tree is swaying. Adverbs and adjectives can also help bring your
writing to life. For example, with just a few details the simple
sentence "That tree is swaying in the wind," can become "That enormous
evergreen is swaying wildly in the powerful wind." Or, "That pine
tree is bending back in the strong wind.
Use a thesaurus
to find new and specific words. For example, instead of the word
house, a thesaurus may suggest more specific ideas such as home,
cabin, mansion, cottage, etc.
are more telling. They help you gather your thoughts into tighter
sequences or progressions of words.
written a final draft, you can move on to publish your writing on