It takes me a very long time to write an outline (they’re usually incredibly detailed), from which I write the first draft at an exceedingly rapid rate of speed. Then, once the first draft is completed, there’s a long period of time where I contemplate how to make the huge vomitus mass my subconscious has disgorged into something readable.
I like to put some funny into my writing, and unless your main character is a wisecracker, it’s hard to be funny and yet still have the distance you need when you want things to get serious. In third person, I can go from ridiculous to deadly serious without the characters seeming inconsistent.
Most journals are repositories of great swatches of abstraction and generalization and self-analysis and interpretation and all that bad stuff. Don’t do that. But here’s a certain kind of journal that might be useful to you: at the end of the day or beginning of the next day, return to some event of the day that evoked an emotion in you. Record that event in the journal. But do this only—only—moment to moment through the senses. Absolutely never name an emotion; never start explaining or analyzing or interpreting an emotion. Record only through those five ways I mentioned that we feel emotions—signals inside the body, signals outside the body, flashes of the past, flashes of the future, sensual selectivity—which are therefore the best ways to express emotions.