Every year, I aim to write at least a little something in a journal about the happenings of each day. I like the idea of looking back in time to see what I made of my life. What were the high points and even the low points? What did I learn from what went well and not so well? And what did I accomplish?
Looking back can help you see if you’re living the life you hoped for. And it gives clues to what you value.
But the days can get away from me, and I look back and realize my practice of noting a daily happening didn’t occur as often as I’d hoped. Until now.
Last month, I ran across the 5-Minute Journal app created by John Caddell.
In an e-mail Caddell sent after I signed up for his journal app, he wrote, “If you make a commitment to write down something about the day, every day (or every working day), you’ll find that you are capturing all sorts of information about what you do, what makes you happy, or annoyed, or increases your energy. You can find patterns in the mistakes you make, and the kind of work you find fulfilling. Seeing these allows you to do something about them.” Read more
For my National Novel Writing Month project (Nanowrimo), I’m working on my next book—a paranormal thriller with a female protagonist who is a healer. Along the way, she learns new things about her paranormal world. As I create this world, I have many unanswered questions. As my heroine is on a quest, so am I.
As creator of this world, I have to use everything available to me to make my world and story unique. Often what comes out first on the page is top-of-the-head clichés or unoriginal, boring material. When I write fast, as in Nanowrimo, I also want to go deep. One way I do that is in my dreams. 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
Shortly after Joan Larkin published her latest book of poetry, My Body: New and Selected Poems, I took an afternoon writing class from her. I’d been writing poetry off and on for twenty years and had developed my own style for writing and saving my work. It looked something like this:
- I go for a walk, or do the dishes, or some other activity that requires little thinking. As I walk or scrub, I let my mind and eyes wander. Let them flit over ideas and objects until something seizes my imagination. I ask questions: What does this mean? What could this mean? What if?
- At some point, the words start coming. If I’m still walking, I speak into my iRecorder but eventually, I sit down and write out my first draft by hand—usually on a piece of lined notebook paper, but not in any particular journal or notebook. Read more
Have you ever put off a project because it seemed overwhelming? You want the end result — a clean, tidy garage with space to park your car. Or an organized closet with all your clothes color coded and shoes lined up side by side.
Or a finished manuscript.
But you’re overwhelmed by the size of the project. Maybe you even started it, but you’re stuck. Sometimes a change of perspective is in order.
My friend Tami and I met for coffee recently at a Borders Cafe. She mentioned that, “Yes, I need to get back into my book.”
This is how the conversation went next: Read more