How do YOU write?

Good Morning, Shadow visitors!  It’s about time for me to talk about another writing topic.

This time, I’m going to discuss a topic that affects all of the writers out there in the vast and dangerous interwebs:  Journals.

Or:  “Why I hate them.”

It has long been a staple of writing advisers to tell aspiring writers to “keep a journal.”  Carry a journal to record your thoughts wherever and whenever they strike.  Millions of writers for decades have followed this piece of feel-good advice.  Character bits, scenery, plot ideas, quotes: everything and anything that might be useful for later writing just gets put in there, to be trolled and harvested when the mood strikes.

I’ve tried.  Lord knows I’ve tried.  I like the idea and can appreciate what it can do for some people.  I just can’t.  It feels a little too much like being the little poetry nerd in High School who is always off by himself, scribbling away in his little notebook.  I can’t do it.  I wish I could, but I can’t.  Not for any length of time, at least.

Not because I’m too cool for it.  HAHAHAHAHA.  Far from it.  On a scale of ZERO to Arthur Fonzarelli, I come in just above Erkel and just below Carlton from “The Fresh Prince.”  This is not a vanity thing.  I swear it’s not.

It just feels wrong to me.  I can’t make myself do it.  I feel like if I write a bunch of random things in a journal that they’ll just wind up stuck in there forever, never to see the light of day again, much less appear in a gleaming Word document, surrounded by other ideas that will allow them to flourish and grow.

I even tried keeping a journal just to chronicle my day to day life, with some humorous observations about that life to try to keep things interesting.  But that was personal stuff, not creative stuff.  Not work stuff.  Even that doesn’t last long and eventually falls by the wayside.  Occasionally I pick it up again, but it’s a chore every time.

Maybe I have an inverse vanity problem; low self-esteem when it comes to journaling like that.  I don’t consider that much of my life worth chronicling on that level.  That’s why I’m a writer: I’d rather create than report.

I realize that keeping a journal helps a lot of writers.  I get it.  I do.  I really do.  What I’m trying to get at is that there is no handy-dandy, “one-size-fits-all” way to write.

So, if you want to keep a journal, that’s great.  Do whatever you need to do to facilitate your writing.  If you are a cocktail napkin note-taker, fine (although you might want to drink less…).  If you are a note-card on cork-board kind of person:  go for it.  If you are a fly by the seat of your pants, “Plan?  What plan?” kind of writer (guilty), good on you.

Remember, the page is your kingdom.  Whether that page is a journal, napkin, note-card, or whatever:  tend it and defend it.  Make it yours.  Make it work for you instead of against you.

Because if you won’t, no one else will.

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2 thoughts on “How do YOU write?

  1. Depending on my mood I usually just fly by the seat of my pants. I try to plan but then I find that I get cranky and frustrated. Granted this does depend on what exactly I am writing and if it’s a blog post whether there are any photos to go along with it.

    I have two journals right now but I only sort of use one. I bought it three months with the plan to journal regularly or at least whenever the mood strikes. Nope. Doesn’t happen. When the mood does strike I am usually planted at my desk with an assortment of notepads or I’ll just create a draft in WordPress. Regardless, I carry that journal with me when I am not planted at my desk. That and my reporter’s notebook (darn wannabe journalists! lol). Even if I don’t end up writing something I at least have two items on me to jot down notes at all times.

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  2. I have journals… and more journals, and oh look! More Journals! Truth is there is nothing quite like the beauty of a blank journal to me, or a well-made notebook. I could blow a month’s salary at B&N just in their journal section. I keep notes of every thing. If I don’t, then I forget them. I’ve tried putting them in word documents on my computer and then forget what I’ve named them, or what folder they’re in and get very upset. It doesn’t work for everyone though. I got it in my head when I had kids that I needed to keep journals for them, and that fell by the wayside the moment I discovered novel writing.

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