If you ever feel stuck, out of ideas, or simply so busy you can’t fit in the writing time you wish for, know this: Your muse will reward you if you write anything at all in your notebook.
Something about writing even a word or describing an image reassures your subconscious that you’re present and engaged. By this very act of recording a snippet of conversation or a description of a scene, you’ll reinforce your connection to your writing self.
You’ll retain your momentum. You won’t feel such a gap in your writing practice, and your muse will present you later with ideas and images that you can use in your current or future writing.
Exercise: Double-check you’re carrying a notebook with you today. Maybe you’ll only have 20 minutes while you’re waiting for an appointment or 15 minutes while you wait to pick up a child from school. It’s enough time to write down an image, a description that might go in your current manuscript, or something you’ve observed as you go about the day. Write it down and then spend five or ten minutes letting your mind drift. Think about it and let it develop in your mind. I guarantee you’ll feel happier and on track with your writing, even if you don’t have as much time to write as you wish you did.
I have a confession to make. I’m a journal-a-holic. It’s serious. It’s bad. I should be ashamed. I don’t always write longhand–often I use my laptop–but when I do write in a notebook or journal I want it to be special.
I’ve always liked bright, shiny things. They make me feel happy. So, naturally, I want a sparkly writing journal. And, because I have several journals going at once for various projects, I use my label machine to make a label for the front cover. (It satisfies my O.C.D).
Below are a few of my favorite journals:
The Spirit of Flight Journal. I have two of these — one for poetry and one for my fantasy book. I like the picture on the outside cover. It reminds me of the protagonist of my next book. Read more
I’ve never needed a reason to buy a new notebook, but I have one today.
I’ve decided to start a new commonplace book.
My writing addictions list wouldn’t be complete without adding “journals.” I have separate notebooks for book projects, story ideas, my tiny notebook — in case I’m out without a larger notebook — and think of something I must record immediately.
Years ago, I heard a writer speak at a writer’s conference about his commonplace book, and I began keeping my own. Commonplace books emerged in the 15th century. People would note interesting ideas about books they’d read so they could use them for conversation starters. I no longer remember the name of the speaker, but I remember what he said (because I noted it in my commonplace book): Read more