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April 11, 2014

Journal Writing


J is for Journal Writing

There are a lot of benefits to keeping a journal, especially for writers. I am not talking about your traditional journal that you write in every night before bed. I tried to do this several times, but I just can’t do it. What I am talking about is keeping a journal for ideas, dreams, quotes, plots, and even things you see and hear in real-life that could be used in a story. You can add anything and everything that could later prove to be useful while writing.

I keep three different journals. The first looks like a diary and is adorned with a little lock that doesn’t work. On these glossy pages is a concoction of resources for my writing: descriptions of beautiful or weird dreams I’ve had, a list of names to consider for future characters, background information for stories I’ve written, lists, phrases, quotes, and my thoughts on specific subjects.



The second journal is a composition notebook, which is where I wrote about the health problems I experienced with my heart. If someone were to read these entries they’d learn about my worries, my hopes, my strengths and weaknesses. One day, these passages may prove to be useful for a story. I also have recently started to write about the crazy and exciting journey of getting published, including my ups and downs. Someday I may share them with all of you. :)

And the last journal is a small leather notepad that is always tucked into my purse for inspiration that strikes when I’m on the go. In hurried scribbles I jot down street names that could be used for characters, funny statements said by my nephews, and even songs I hear on the radio since music is my muse.

Right now I may have just three journals, but a writer can never have enough!
TIP: Buy yourself a nice leather journal, or a cheap composition book, and keep it close by for whenever your muse gives you a nudge.

QUESTIONS: Do you have a journal? If you do, what do you write in it?


A to Z Blogging Challenge:

70 comments:

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

My favorite notebooks for jotting ideas and thoughts are Sustainable Earth ones from Staples. They're spiral bound, hard cover and smaller than a regular spiral notebook but big enough that I have room to write. I also have a small purple Moleskine one I keep in my bag.

Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

Stephanie Bird said...

There is some synchronicity here--I also picked J for journaling, LOL! I am very big on art journaling but find I am not terribly consistent about a written journal, though I have many beautiful ones. As a writer I know journals can be valuable but I need to change up from time to time from so dwelling on many words and instead go into the visual arts.

Nana Prah said...

I've opted for a little pretty purple composition notebook which I carry around with me everywhere jotting down my thoughts about anything blogworthy or writeworthy.
Sorry about your heart. I hope it's something that's well maintained.
Nana Prah

Crystal Collier said...

YES! I've been keeping a journal for 26 years. I've got about 30 of them laying around, and it's amazing to go back and relive some of those life highlights. They also contain a series of story dreams, funny moments I pull from in writing, and my feelings about all the crazy. I think writing everything down has committed it to memory. In fact, I have an amazing memory for experiences, and I should probably attribute part of it to the portion of my brain that's been trained to retain experiences for chronicling.

Lisa Thomson said...

Great suggestions, Chrys. Thank you for these ideas. I keep a personal journal to put my emotional events and struggles, which I haven't ruled out for a future character. (Some of the things I've dealt with have been so unbelievable and if I don't write it down, my memory will block them). It's important to record life's events especially the bad stuff to recall what actually was said to you. I always want to remember the facts (truth). Oops, I went off there...but I love the idea of a notebook for my handbag to record ideas, street names...I never thought of that! I keep a dream journal which is a simple writing exercise. Trying to express your dreams in writing can be challenging and are great material for fiction. TKS for the inspiration today.

Sophie Duncan said...

I don't keep a journal that I write by hand, because my handwriting is so bad I wouldn't know what's I'd written, but I keep my computer by my bed and I use the memo function on my phone as well. Most of the notes I make are ideas, so I use tools like FreePlane, a mindmapping tool, to capture my brain dumps. I also like Scrivener for storing up references on particular ideas as well.
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

Kim Van Sickler said...

I have two journals. One is a writing journal--for ideas, research, details. It travels with me. The other is to keep track of blog sites, writing resources, writing submissions, and it sits my desktop. They are both extremely helpful!

Bonnie Gwyn said...

I'm a huge supporter for journal writing! I haven't missed a day in my daily one in over three years, and I have another writer's journal to keep character back-stories, scene ideas, etc. :) Writing is my key to sanity!

Chrys Fey said...

I need to go to Staples to get a Sustainable Earth notebook! Thanks for telling me about your journals, Madeline! :)

Chrys Fey said...

I have a journal I use for pictures and art. It's a nice alternative to written journals. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Composition books are great because they are cheap and easy to carry around. Thank you, Nana. My heart is good. My condition is easily maintained. :)

Chrys Fey said...

26 years? That's awesome! I wish I had kept journals as a child and teen, but I had a problem with not knowing what to write in my journals. I always felt that a diary should have something special in it, so if I wrote about my day I'd end up tearing out those pages because I didn't think it was diary-worthy. lol

Chrys Fey said...

It is important to write down life events. I'm starting to write about things that happened many years ago, but I really wish I had written about them when they happened.

I love to write down my dreams! Mostly because I always think they'd be great stories. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Even using a computer document or memo on the phone is great! Any way that you can write down ideas as they come is golden.

I'll have to check out those programs. :)

David P. King said...

I am horribly bad at this. Thankfully I had a very long assignment where I had to talk about my life up being 20, so at least I have a start. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's great! I also keep a bunch of journals for my blog and as a countless array of notebooks for my stories. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Yay! That is amazing! I wish I could have your journal dedication. I'm working on writing for in my journal about things that happen day-to-day.

"Writing is my key to sanity!" I love that! ;) Thank you for commenting, Bonnie!

Chrys Fey said...

I'm working on writing about moments from my past as a child, teen, and young adult. It's taking some time, but once it's done I'll have something great. :)

Yolanda Renée said...

I mostly doodle in my journals, make lists, but seldom record how I feel and if I do I end up destroying it. I think I'd be like Margaret Mitchell and want all my personal papers destroyed after my death. I don't want people assuming they know me!

Nicki Elson said...

I've gotten away from handwriting out my mental spasms, but I should get back to it---I'm sure so many creative ideas simply disintegrate if not recorded on the spot.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Chrys,

I LOVE journals and have at least a dozen... but I NEVER write in them. I buy a few a year, but for some odd reason I always type my thoughts...

Maybe it's because my artistic scroll has turned choppy since I have arthritis in both hands...

Chrys Fey said...

I suppose I wouldn't want people to read my personal feelings after I'm gone unless I wrote it deliberately as a memoir.

Chrys Fey said...

I think you definitely should get back into it, Nicki! :)

Chrys Fey said...

My handwriting can get pretty sloppy so that does kind of ruin the effect of having a journal as I feel the writing in a journal should be beautiful. Thank you for your comment, Michael! :)

Unknown said...

I actually don't keep a journal but maybe I should! Believe it or not, once I get an idea I never forget it, and I somehow manage to keep it tucked away until it's time to use it in a story.

Chrys Fey said...

I think you should because everything you write it just brilliant and funny. :) That's awesome! I have a pretty good memory, but when it comes to the plots for all of my story ideas, I have to write them down or else they get jumbled.

Carrie-Anne said...

I've been properly journaling since 1989, the first day of fourth grade. For a few years recently, I fell off my longtime habit of journaling every day or almost every day, because my dysfunctional, co-dependent ex had become my top priority and I neglected so many things that had been important for me. From the second journal on, I've always named my journals, and from the third on, they've all been named for songs. I've had Helena, Cecilia, Rita, Prudence, Rael, Athena, Emily, Zelda, Eloise, and now Khanada (Ka-NAY-da). When I was younger, I seriously wanted to publish my journals someday, one of the reasons why I tend to refer to people by fake names.

Laura Clipson said...

I just have the one notebook, and I use it mostly for writing - for any ideas I get, inspiration, or just notes in general. I wouldn't be able to function without it now.

Chrys Fey said...

One notebook is all you really need. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's awesome, Carrie-Anne! I'm sorry your ex ruined your journaling time. I love the idea of naming your journals. When I was younger, I wanted to publish my notebooks where I had been writing my series, and I still do because I rewrote that series as an adult. ;)

Pat Hatt said...

lots of journals for J today, i never kept one at my bay, everything is just in my head

Jolie du Pre said...

First, you mentioned your heart. I don't know you, but I hope your health is okay. Second, yes, I keep a daily journal for my writing activity. I used to do it online, but I prefer to take the time to actually write down what I need to do and then cross stuff off my list. Third, I also keep a journal in my purse. Have you ever been in the shower when inspiration hits? LOL! It sure is a pain-in-the-butt to get out of the shower, all wet and dripping, to go and write something down in a journal. Then, when you're done, it's back in the shower.

Precious Monsters

CA Heaven said...

I have a small Moleskine notebook (like Hemingway used to have) that I usually bring with me to write down ideas before I forget them, mostly writing ideas, but also research (scientific) ideas >)

Cold As Heaven

Andrew Leon said...

Someone else did journaling, today, too. Well, probably more than one. I have kept a journal in the past but, these days, if I'm writing, I'm writing. If you know what I mean.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I keep a spiral notebook for all the dream bits and ideas. Some I transfer onto a file I have on the computer. Going by my vivid dreams lately, I'm thinking the muse is pointing me into a sci-fi type story, fraught with danger and strange creatures, lol! Not a clue where it's coming from but, I've been hunted a lot lately. :-)

Sia McKye Over Coffee

~Sia McKye~ said...

PS--thank you,Chrys, for your well wishes. It's a tough road and not at all fun. Healing is slow. I just need to smack the crap out of the side of my inner self that nags me to not be lazy and get up and DO something because it needs doing.

Chrys Fey said...

Journals are popular. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Jolie. My health is pretty good right now. My heart condition isn't severe.

I love to create lists for what I have to do whether it's writing related or not. Crossing things off when you finish is so much fun. :) Oh yes! For some reasons a lot of ideas come to me when I'm taking a shower and I have to recite it over and over again so I won't forget by the time I get out. haha

Chrys Fey said...

Someone else mentioned they have a Moleskine notebook. I want one too! :)

Chrys Fey said...

Listen to your muse, Sia. She knows what she's talking about. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome! I understand what it's like to be out of commission because of surgery and illness. Relax and use this time to read and write. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Journaling is a popular topic. :) I definitely know what you mean, which makes it hard for me to keep one too.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have one that I use to jot down names, phrases and ideas that I think I can used someday.

Jo said...

This is also a good idea if you blog. I often write down things I think would be interesting for my blog.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Teresa Cypher said...

It is a crazy and exciting journey, isn't it? :-) Multiple notebooks--a good plan! :-)

Trisha said...

I love the idea of hand-written journals - and I certainly have enough of them from the past. But nowadays I tend to write in online journals. I do have one that's kind of a story "notebook", but it is online. Not the same as an awesome old leather-bound journal though.

Funnily enough, whenever I get given beautiful diaries or notebooks, I feel like they're too nice to actually write in.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I have several journals, but I mostly use them when I travel. When I'm in a foreign country, I try to write about my experiences every day so I don't forget a single minute.

What I used to love was writing morning pages (The Artist's Way), but I find it so difficult to get up even earlier in the morning in order to do them. I've never stuck with it.

Jocelyn Rish said...

I tried writing in a diary a few times when I was young, but I didn't really like it. Now that I'm older, I've thought about trying journaling. I do have several notebooks that I've received as gifts, but I'm so attached to my computer that I think my hand would cramp if I tried to write in them. :-)

Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,
Jocelyn

Grammy Staffy said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and for the good advice. I keep a journal of activities and feelings

Shilpa Garg said...

I have a word document on my laptop where I jot some thoughts, ideas, interesting quotes and then I have a small spiral note book in my purse which I use it when I am not near my laptop. It is interesting to re-visit these thoughts and ideas every now and then. :)

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

I have notes all over the place. Some are electronic in that they are word files and there is one notepad (given to me by a lovely friend one Christmas) with Loki on the front that lives in the bedroom, and a Captain America one that lives in my handbag. What's really frustrating is that moment you realise your pen isn't working any more :).
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

Bob Scotney said...

I carry a scruffy notebook with me every time I go out and especially when I have a camera as well. This is just for rough notes. I have a 'Project Book' on my desk all the time for ideas, web links and other details that I may use later. The Journal is a local newspaper in NE England.

SittieCates said...

I had two before. I wrote character sketches and possible story beginnings and plot twists. I left them at home once and when I came back, I couldn't find them.

It took years before I found them again. :-)

Chrys Fey said...

Always a good idea, Susan. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I do that too, Jo. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It sure is! ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Oh my gosh! I always feel the same way, Trisha! I feel like whatever I want to write in them is just not worthy enough.

Chrys Fey said...

I would love to have journals for travel. Oh the things I imagine I could write in them! :) I can't wake up early in the morning to write either.

Chrys Fey said...

lol Getting back into the groove of handwriting about using a computer for so long can be tricky. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Grammy! :)

Chrys Fey said...

Online journaling or using a computer document seems to be very popular. I guess I just like the old way of journaling, It feels more authentic and romantic to me. Revisiting one passages is always fun. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Loki and Captain America journals. I love it! :D I always keep a couple of pens in my purse and at my bedside just in case. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

That's awesome, Bob! I don't have a camera phone so I need to being my camera with me more often to capture images as well as words. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's a terrible thing to lose! I'm relieved you found them, but years later? Oh boy! I would've been devastated and lost!

Sonia Lal said...

I don't have any! Well, a tradtional journal doesn't work for me anyway. I do have a little notebook for dream / idea thing, but truthfully, the phone works nearly as well for that.

saniya said...

Its smart to keep multiple journals. I have just one which is full of everything. Thanks for the post!

Sania @ Fragile Words

Chrys Fey said...

A notebook for dreams and ideas is all you really need. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It is. :) You're welcome, Sania!

Kristen said...

I've never been able to keep a journal. I always write notes and thoughts and ideas on various pieces of paper and free notepads from charities I give to. I don't know why those are easier for me.

Random Musings from the KristenHead — J is for Jumping Cats and Dogs!

Chrys Fey said...

Just as long as your jotting down thoughts and ideas some way, it doesn't matter if it's in a journal or on a napkin. :)