So, I started keeping a diary/journal ages ago when I was young. It was my parent’s idea. I also blame them for not really explaining what a diary was really meant for. A that young age, I thought it was for only keeping really important things recorded. Not just your every day thoughts and events. Hence, I rarely wrote in my diary.
Six years ago I decided I needed to start keeping an actual journal and I did slightly better when it came to writing on a more regular basis. Still, I tended to think that I could only use the journal to record things that happened, or didn’t happen, as they case may be. Suffice to say, that journal I started in ’05, didn’t get very far in the composition book I was, and still am, using. It wasn’t until October of last year that I finally reached halfway through the book. The composition book is only 100 sheets of paper, 200 pages. Clearly I hadn’t gotten very far in five years.
Now, thought, things have changed. I write in my journal all the time. Not every day, but much more frequently.
Well, my journal writing got a change when I started reading books on writing poetry. All these authors were recommending that one keep a journal to record evn things one wrote. It wasn’t just for recording events. Instead, you wrote about anything. You kept word lists. Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, author of Poemcrazy, recommended you collect words. I started trying to do that. I would write little bits of poetry, words I found interesting and wanted to use, story ideas, you name it. In writing little things I wanted to remember I found my creative side opening up. I actually found that I wanted to write in my journal. I found that I liked using my journal to write blog posts and work on my query letter. I used/use it for everything now. The only thing I don’t use it for is drawing in. Lines tend to get in the way and I don’t find it useful for that. However, I do write in the margins. I love writing in the margins. It’s like my little naughty side. The chance to free myself from the constraints of regular writing. I love to write quotes at the top of the page.
One of the best things about this journal writing is that I use it to keep track of story ideas I have that I want to eventually record onto my computer. However, I found the other day that it does help to go back in the journal and keep track of those notations I’ve made on stories.
Last week I posted that Eureka! moment. My new heroine would be Nora. I really wish I would have gone back in my journal. Turns out I had worked out the plot much more than I had remembered. Oh! And the name of the heroine was Bliss Donovan. She is a cellist, or violinist. Maybe a flautist. It was much more detailed than I remembered.
Moral of this post.
Keep a journal for everything. Trust me, it’s very freeing. But. But, remember, if you use it to record ideas……… Go back occasionally and reread your entries. It’s too easy to forget what you have written. Especially if you have as many ideas floating around in your head like I do.
Oh, and another trick. Number your entries. It’s much easier to refer to previous entries by number instead of by date or content. Just my personal trick. It’s worked well for me. Plus it’s an incentive to write more when I see the number of entries I’ve made, or not made, in the past six years.
And for those of you interested, my poetry, some of which is in my journal, can be found here.