Friday, September 07, 2012

Get Back to Writing Week: Journal

The winner of the Get Back to Writing Week Short Story giveaway is:

Vetta, whose first line was You're no good and neither am I. That's why we deserve each other.

Vetta, when you have a chance please send your full name and ship-to info to LynnViehl@aol.com so I can get your package out to you. My thanks to everyone for joining in.

This morning I got up at 5 a.m.  Once I'd attended to the first tasks of the day, I retreated to the porch to hang out with the pups and the birds. After meditating for thirty minutes (something that helps clear out the head cobwebs and centers me) I wrote this entry in my personal journal.  Journaling is part of my daily writing routine, and it helped me warm up for composing this blog post. Once this is finished I'll deal with some correspondence, biz stuff, and then tackle the day's fiction work schedule.  I think of it as a cascade writing effect -- beginning with an easy flow and then building on the momentum that creates.

I journal first each day because it's very undemanding writing. I can write whatever I want, in any style I want, and it doesn't have to make sense to anyone but me. I don't have to edit it, polish it or make it presentable. I usually write with my favorite fountain pen, which gives me that lovely feeling of creating art with words.  Personal journaling provides me with daily opportunities to quietly wonder while I chronicle things important to me as a person. In that sense the personal journal can be like your private treasure chest, in which you can store gems of inspiration, pearls of writing wisdom and the beautiful things we craft from our own experiences with the work.

Writing in a journal is writing for yourself, and that offers a bit of creative breathing room.  As a professional my work is always subject to scrutiny and opinion coming at me from all directions: the agent, editors, writer friends, readers and everyone else metaphorically reading over my shoulder. Since I'm a storyteller I don't mind the attention -- naturally the work is meant to be shared -- but having twenty minutes of writing liberty via journaling makes me calmer, more focused and better able to cope with being under the microscope the rest of the time.

Before you dive back into writing fiction after a long break, it can help to open a blank book, notebook or make your own journal, and write for yourself for a time. Whatever caused you to give up the work, as well as why you want to get back to it, could be the perfect place to start.  While I don't think you should use a journal simply to vent 24/7, it does give you the right place to get out any negative thoughts that might otherwise interfere with the work (as well as put you in a better mood to write what you do want others to read.)

There are no rules with journaling, no deadlines, no marketing, no pressure. You certainly don't have to journal every day, nor do you have to tell anyone about your journal.  If you really want to protect the contents, once it's filled you can always destroy it (which I recommend for any journal with contents that for whatever reason you never want to be read by anyone else.)

A journal also doesn't have to be in diary form. I've written a couple that were simply long letters to friends, which I mailed off to them after they were filled. You can use a guided journal as a daily writing exercise workbook, or write your journal as one of your characters (I did one for Lucan from the Darkyn books, and it was not only fun writing in his voice -- excellent practice for dialogue tone, too -- but helped me better understand him.)

To get back to writing by journaling, in comments to this post write the first line of a journal entry you'd make today by midnight EST on Saturday, September 8th, 2012. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner a copy of the second issue of Pages magazine, this lovely Peacock blank journal, and a surprise. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.

21 comments:

  1. Kris S2:12 AM

    It's been so long since you've written and I wonder why you avoid me my darling writer, start filling me and letting your hidden voice be free once again.

    Your posts lately speak to me like mad reminding how long I've been away from writing and how a big part of me wants to do it again but that tiny part of me is so very scared. It's time to quell the fear and jump back to a slow start I think.

    Thank you so much for making want to do it again.

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  2. "My desk looks like an unfortunate accident in a craft shop."

    Then I would write about how I need to declutter -- both desk and life -- to make physical and mental space for writing.

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  3. "The problem with writing in journals is that it is writing for me and me only... and I know how well doing things 'just for me' usually go..."

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  4. Why is the fine art of procrastination so much easier to learn than the skills needed for action?

    There's today's first line. :) Thanks for the chance to win.

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  5. Meghan Helmich8:27 AM

    "I find that if I wait long enough between journal entries, it's like coming back to the writing of a stranger -- simultaneously daring and hopeful."

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  6. Yay, it's Friday!

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  7. "People keep telling me to start journaling."

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  8. The weekend beckons and this means feeling better and being productive.

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  9. "There is a note on the front door of our building saying someone is trying to catch Mr. Marmalfluff (neighborhood cat) but we don't know for what purpose or if he is actually homeless; this will require some investigating."

    Diane

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  10. Journaling has helped me in many ways so I will continue with this endeavor.

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  11. "I learnt something new today"

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  12. Another day with temps over 90*. How I long for Fall, the chilly air, a fresh breeze. Rain.

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  13. "There is very little that chocolate or duct tape can't fix."

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  14. claire cherven1:37 PM

    Thanks for giving me the chance to start over...again...and again...and ag....

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  15. "The process of disability is enough to drive a person crazy."

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  16. Shizuka7:24 PM

    "I need to find a way to make everything in my life work easier."

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  17. "So much to do, so little energy, but you're writing so it's all good... plus it's football weekend."

    Thank you.

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  18. This book will save my life. This book will return my life to me, my writing, my fiction, my non-existent friends.

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  19. Anne V.1:57 AM

    There are three half grown kitties making themselves at home under my car.

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  20. "So my plan here is just to keep writing...no matter what."

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  21. I need to get the last roses tucked into my good, warm soil, and draw a blanket of mulch around their roots.

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