At the start of the year I began some self-examination of who I am and what I do. Not so much a New Years’ Revolution, but an assessment of 2016, what this year could be, and a look at some of the feelings I have around being a writer. One of the things I have picked up through this process is the Writer’s Journal. This is helping me focus on what I find important in writing, reminding me to be a writer, and keeping me aware of when I am falling back into the traps I set up for myself as a writer in the past year or two.
I am not a journaling kind of person. I don’t have piles of notebooks full of my innermost thoughts and feelings. I have been told time and again that I should, but it just isn’t me. Strange, considering that I like to write so much anyway.
During the first week of January when I was looking at ways to write, to consistently write, to BE a writer, one of the suggested items was a Writer’s Journal. This was not a journal where I pour out my feelings and thoughts and demons and stuff. This was a journal where I talk about myself as a writer. That might not sound like a huge distinction, but for me, I am okay being a writer, I am okay with telling people I am a writer, and all the trials and turmoils, highs and celebrations of being so. Hence, having a personal journal about being a writer was a little stretch, but still within my comfort zone. Or rather, it was just outside my comfort zone enough that if I got scared I could come back at any time.
Like so many writers I know, I too have a large range of notebooks, far more than I could every conceivably fill with writing. So my first issue was finding a notebook I wanted to write in. I decided a nice black model. Sweet.
And then I wrote.
I have some rules for my writing journal:
- Writing for 20 minutes, not 3 pages. Sometimes I don’t have the energy for 3 pages, and could waste time just trying to fill pages.
- I only talk about writing, either professional or personal, and how things affect my writing.
- As I write, I put an asterisk in the margin, for something to address After I have journaled.
- At the end I collect all the points into an Action List
- I don’t have to journal on the weekend if I don’t want to.
To date I have journaled almost every day. Some days I haven’t, but that is okay. But the habit I have built of writing almost every day, has been good for me.
I have written about and discussed with myself, topics such as:
- How many different eBooks I want to write, and what they will be about
- The idea of a short story omnibus with friends
- How I can take my writing group further than just writing
- Different words I haven’t used, and how I should try and use different words more often.
- The difference between useful tools and silly widgets
I have to say that having a Writer’s Journal has been good for me. I am building the habit where I must write in the journal for 20 minutes- timed, not pages, every morning before I begin writing for myself or my clients. And, it is letting me get ideas to take out of the journal and work on.
This idea of a journal specific to a subject or aspect of yourself, rather than a general journal where you just write, has helped me focus, has helped me remember why I do what I do. It is reinforcing my voice when it says- I am a writer.
I believe that every person should have a journal about what they do, a business journal. If you’re in real estate, then a journal about how the weekend auctions went, how the latest house inspection went, how you have acquired new customers, why you lost customers, can be extremely positive and constructive for yourself professionally and personally.
I am almost through my first notebook, which means I get to buy another one. Yay! So not only is this journaling helping me professionally and creatively, it means I get to buy new notebooks.
If journaling is not something you do on a regular basis, I do recommend journaling about WHAT you do, rather than how you feel.