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Currently, journaling. Feel free to share strategies or any opinions. (1 Viewer)

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Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Exercises
1. Write down the five big things in your life that have hurt you, made you upset,
fearful, or sad. What comes to mind first? This is not about trying to be negative
or dwelling on parts of your life when you have felt bad. This is about what you
are holding on to that makes you feel agitated or down.
2. From this list, pick the one event, remark, or phase that seems the most
important to you. Write everything you can about this one topic. Why is this so
upsetting? Why do you feel deeply about it? Can you write until you have cried
through it? Is there a way to explain it to yourself? Instead of trying to avoid the
feelings, write through them. Are you angry about it? What is the next step? How
can you resolve this feeling?

From writing: to save your life: How to honor your story by Michel weldon (Northwestern Professor). This is just a small sampling of what it is. I picked up writers and their notebooks which one of the authors is a columbia professor. That would be Philip Lopate which I have mentioned before.

I honestly like focused exercises which is why I mentioned the first book. I have yet to try it. To inculcate what I know I will practice tomorrow. My handwriting is sloppy so I will type it once I am done.

In Tristine Rainers book some of those exercises are:

Believes I have, beliefs I have discarded.

Imitating the examples could help me learn it.

The purpose of the exercises is to look for contradictions I think.

Tomorrow is when I will do more reading. My question for the forum is who does this? What is your approach? Do you have a favorite resource that teaches to journal or how to keep a notebook. Prior to this I read Tristine Rainer's the new diary. Then you journal you can make the transition to fiction. It seems the way a lot of creative writers have gotten ideas.

I bought 4-5 books on journaling on kindle, and I am thinking of giving it a try. This is a part of an excerpt of a book I own. There are very few craft books I like out of a few hundred. So I decided this could help plot a story. Because real life can tell stories with more authentic emotion. In addition to this you understand people more I am supposing.
 
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KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I don't journal, I did buy a prompt book that may have some journal-like prompts but I haven journaled since high school. I have been indirectly "journaling" through my characters though.
My handwriting is sloppy too! and I cant spell to save my life :) but its good to relax and just jot things down knowing you can make it prettier by typing.
My advice is to stop reading books to understand emotions and people.
I'm glad you're gonna start journaling. I think journaling would be good for you. You tend to learn about people when you begin to learn about yourself. I use my own emotions to relate to others and my characters. It's a good way to start to build a foundation to more realistic characters. Best way to journal is to just write bout your life and feelings. Anything from mundane to happy to depressing. You could've had a boring day and you think it's nothing special but its's still something to write about. Whatever you want to write about, just write it. As simple as that :)
hope this helps
you can tell me if it doesn't, I wont get offended lol
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I don't journal much anymore - writing novels takes all my time - when I did though I wrote stories from my youth.

The first one I recall writing was about getting off work at a local restaurant, then riding with my buddies on our motorcycles out to the beach - we lived on the San Mateo Peninsula, south of San Francisco. It was a slice of life about what it was like being on the edge of adulthood back in the early 70's - and at the end I contrasted it with how young people spend there time these days.

They were stories about unique people I knew and crazy things I did and experienced.
 

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
I have written a journal of sorts to leave to my kids and grandkids for when I have passed. I used nanowrimo to keep me focused and quickly hit 70,000 words and counting.

I don't think of it as place to only record negatives and regrets in my life but a mix of positives and funny and sad stories, hopes, fears, failures and triumphs. I have discovered our children don't really see us as people or the happy hippy trying to escape the straight jacket of parenthood and age... it is surprising grandkids are more accepting.

So not sure what modern journaling is about and why in God's name you need to buy 4-5 books on the topic and then analyse to the nth degree. Just write.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I used to journal right up to my thirties. Then, after my son was born, I stopped doing a lot of things, that being one of them. However, I have been thinking of documenting snippets of my life, much the same as IR and PIP describe. That being said, pretty much all of my current WIP is based on my crazy tumultuous life and all the characters I met over the years.

I was watching a CNN documentary on Jackie Collins, Lady Boss. Fabulous BTW. She journaled fervently. Much of it, her deepest inner thoughts. I believe her writing style may have evolved from her journaling. And it is the one thing that I have, let's say borrowed, from her style is the constant inner voice of her characters. It makes for a rich read when she exposes the foibles and vulnerabilities of characters through their own conscience.

The only downside I can see to journaling now, especially if handwritten is the fact that someone can find it and read it, so one might not be truly honest with one's thoughts, bearing in mind who could potentially find it. That's why for me, and I haven't decided this yet, I might write memories only as fiction so that I can be free to express those inner feelings candidly.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
The reason was I wanted to read and understand good advice on journaling which is difficult to find from an expert. I bought a book by Philip Lopate since he is considered an expert on journaling. He is the head of the nonfiction department at Columbia University. They say the benefits of journaling is that it could help you write more fiction. My writing process I want to change. I want to record events, make lists of things I did during the day, and other things. I tried to seek the best opinions. Journaling helps writers keep a notebook. It can be handy for any ideas they want to develop. I will update this thread if I can find advice that people might think is beneficial. The belief of journalists is that writing nonfiction can lead to a story idea or a seed.

So here are the supposed benefits:
To establish the habit of writing (A writer writes.)
To capture memories (places, characters, con-
versations, events)
• To discover what you think and feel (each time
going deeper)
• To find your voice (When does your writing sound
the most natural? Look at your entries to see
at what time of day and in what place you write
most easily. Track your writing habits.)
• To take risks (in a private place)
• To plant seeds for stories (move from image to
story)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
So here are the supposed benefits:
To establish the habit of writing (A writer writes.)
To capture memories (places, characters, con-
versations, events)
• To discover what you think and feel (each time
going deeper)
• To find your voice (When does your writing sound
the most natural? Look at your entries to see
at what time of day and in what place you write
most easily. Track your writing habits.)
• To take risks (in a private place)
• To plant seeds for stories (move from image to
story)
I would agree with all of these. And another thing for me was that it wasn't structured. I wasn't worried about, "The opening line," "The hook," "The arc", "Is this believable?" "Is it advancing the plot?" ...etc.

You've actually got me thinking I need to start journaling again right away! :)
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I used to journal right up to my thirties. Then, after my son was born, I stopped doing a lot of things, that being one of them. However, I have been thinking of documenting snippets of my life, much the same as IR and PIP describe. That being said, pretty much all of my current WIP is based on my crazy tumultuous life and all the characters I met over the years.

I was watching a CNN documentary on Jackie Collins, Lady Boss. Fabulous BTW. She journaled fervently. Much of it, her deepest inner thoughts. I believe her writing style may have evolved from her journaling. And it is the one thing that I have, let's say borrowed, from her style is the constant inner voice of her characters. It makes for a rich read when she exposes the foibles and vulnerabilities of characters through their own conscience.

The only downside I can see to journaling now, especially if handwritten is the fact that someone can find it and read it, so one might not be truly honest with one's thoughts, bearing in mind who could potentially find it. That's why for me, and I haven't decided this yet, I might write memories only as fiction so that I can be free to express those inner feelings candidly.
You can password protect MS Word files: Here's how.

I hardly write anything long hand anymore - my handwriting was never good, and it's become an abomination. I can manage a cursive signature - otherwise I print... and oddly, that's become rather flamboyant over the past couple of decades.
 

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
The reason was I wanted to read and understand good advice on journaling which is difficult to find from an expert. I bought a book by Philip Lopate since he is considered an expert on journaling. He is the head of the nonfiction department at Columbia University. They say the benefits of journaling is that it could help you write more fiction. My writing process I want to change. I want to record events, make lists of things I did during the day, and other things. I tried to seek the best opinions. Journaling helps writers keep a notebook. It can be handy for any ideas they want to develop. I will update this thread if I can find advice that people might think is beneficial. The belief of journalists is that writing nonfiction can lead to a story idea or a seed.

So here are the supposed benefits:
To establish the habit of writing (A writer writes.)
To capture memories (places, characters, con-
versations, events)
• To discover what you think and feel (each time
going deeper)
• To find your voice (When does your writing sound
the most natural? Look at your entries to see
at what time of day and in what place you write
most easily. Track your writing habits.)
• To take risks (in a private place)
• To plant seeds for stories (move from image to
story)
But why do you need to buy five books to do that? Set yourself a daily writing routine and post to the WF blog journal category. Have you checked out rcallaci or sin's journal?

You know what to do Glasshouse why don't you stop procrastinating and just do it. You strike me as a proficient writer. Dip your toe in the water and break the ice to give yourself some oxygen.

We are often our own worst enemy. :)
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
I would agree with all of these. And another thing for me was that it wasn't structured. I wasn't worried about, "The opening line," "The hook," "The arc", "Is this believable?" "Is it advancing the plot?" ...etc.

You've actually got me thinking I need to start journaling again right away! :)
I "journaled" about the offices bathroom yesterday. lol it was fun. I got a prompt book that are basically journaling questions. I didn't think much about journaling to help with voice and get me more comfortable with writing in general. I became hyper focused on my prose, so its nice to write not worrying so much about that :)

EDIT: writing about the bathrooms was NOT one of the prompts 🤣
 
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Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
You can password protect MS Word files: Here's how.

I hardly write anything long hand anymore - my handwriting was never good, and it's become an abomination. I can manage a cursive signature - otherwise I print... and oddly, that's become rather flamboyant over the past couple of decades.
Somehow, I can only imagine journaling curled up in my favorite chair with my Cleo pen and a Moleskine. :)

But you're right, for confidentiality, a word processor makes sense.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
But why do you need to buy five books to do that? Set yourself a daily writing routine and post to the WF blog journal category. Have you checked out rcallaci or sin's journal?

You know what to do Glasshouse why don't you stop procrastinating and just do it. You strike me as a proficient writer. Dip your toe in the water and break the ice to give yourself some oxygen.

We are often our own worst enemy. :)
About forty years ago (am I really that old?? dang, I guess so), I went to work a Memorex designing the printed circuit boards that went into their huge disk drives that were used with mainframe computers. At the time, the design was cutting edge - huge printed circuit boards loaded with dual-inline (DIP) components. Anyway, there were a bunch of us working there, all doing the same thing.

When I was given the schematics, I took a day to look it over, map out the critical circuit paths, and figure out where the components would go. After that I'd throw it on my drafting board and jump in. It took me about a two weeks to finish the design - without errors.

Another designer that sat close by had a different approach. He studied the schematics for a month or more, and I never saw him produce a design. He claimed his method was better, but he never produced anything and so was let go.

My point is that preparation is great, BUT sometimes the best way to learn to swim is by jumping into the deep end of the pool. At some point we have to stop planning and start building.

IMO, the best education is via doing rather than studying.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
Dear journal:

Sat in house watching TV. Sat in house playing video games. Sat in house going on a writing forum. Sat in house ...

I wish I'd have started a journal years ago.
 

KeganThompson

Staff member
Board Moderator
Dear journal:

Sat in house watching TV. Sat in house playing video games. Sat in house going on a writing forum. Sat in house ...

I wish I'd have started a journal years ago.
Maybe it was a good thing you didn't start journaling..since it seems like you don't have the creativity to make your monotonous life an interesting to read ;)
Lol
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I once wrote a story (journal entry) about riding motorcycles with my friends along El Camino Real - the main commercial road that connects San Francisco to San Jose. One of my friends had a bee fly up his pant legs (bell bottoms were popular back then). He dropped his bike and his pants and did this weird cowboy dance right in front of a group of coeds standing in front of Stanford University.
 
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