Keeping a Writing Journal
NaNoWriMo Day 5! HUZZAH! How are you all doing? Have you made sure to enter the 5-page critique giveaway from me and Sarah J. Maas? If not, be sure to enter below. 🙂
Also, if you’re available at 4:00 PM Eastern Time today, Sarah J. Maas and I will be fighting a heated battle of words–a writing sprint to the DEATH! Okay, so I exaggerate. They’re just fun Twitter-hosted writing sprints for 30 minutes each. Stop by if you can!
Oh, and don’t forget our Pinterest NaNo board with Beth Revis, Jessica Spotswood, Erin Bowman, and Jessica Khoury!
Now, onto my Week 2 motivator: keeping a writing journal.
This is one of those strange things I NEVER would’ve seen myself doing. Let’s be honest: it seems like such a waste of time… Writing about writing?
But then I started doing it one day–not with any premeditation in mind but because I had all these feelings (bad ones, mostly) about my writing and I just had to get them out. This was during the throes of my novella, when self-doubt and fear were rampant…but since then, I’ve continued doing it EVERY day.
Yep, that’s right. I write about my writing.
Weird, huh? Doesn’t it sound redundant? Like, why waste time writing about writing when I could be WRITING-WRITING? But like I said, I just started one day and haven’t stopped. My friend, the lovely Vanessa DiGregorio sent me a Star Wars Moleskine and pen. The pages of the Moleskine were just BEGGING to be written on, so I uncapped the new pen and just started pouring out my heart.
This is what I said:
I don’t write always write that much. In fact, I usually don’t. Just a paragraph or two over the course of the day is my typical fare, and kind of like that NaNo word count widget on the side there, updating the journal really motivates me. I want to be able to write down, “I wrote three scenes today and reached the midpoint.”
But more often than not, I use the journal to work through my sticking points. Oftentimes, there’s a TON of swearing and me raging about how much I suck. And as I sit there getting annoyed with my Muse for not cooperating or annoyed with my motivation for being nonexistent, a strange thing will happen.
I’ll feel better.
Maybe I’ll have an aha! moment. Aha! I’m stuck because I don’t need to even write this scene! I should be skipping ahead to the next one!
Maybe I’ll just realize beating myself up is useless. Wow, I still wrote four scenes yesterday and at least I drew a map of the city–that needed to happen at some point. I guess the morning wasn’t a total waste.
Or maybe I’ll just feel really freaking good. I did it! I reached 200 pages! BOOYAH, NOVEL. I am the freakin’ king (er, queen) of the world right now!
No matter what I write, it’s nice to unload how I feel about my writing. It’s also a GREAT reminder for the low days–I can skim back and see how I was just as low during October, and if I conquered those self-doubts, I can do it again. 🙂
You tell me: How do you unload your writing woes or highs? Do you keep any sort of journal–writing or otherwise?
(And, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter the NaNo giveaway from Sarah J. Maas and I!)
November 5, 2012 @ 4:48 pm
Love Ryan Gosling. LOL! Keep writing. Great post
November 5, 2012 @ 5:21 pm
I know, right?! Ryan Gosling makes everything better. 😉
November 5, 2012 @ 4:58 pm
LOL what a hottie Ryan is ahhh. Sweet post! I keep a writing journal too. And it does help to get it out – the insecurities, doubt, and put them on paper. Then I find there’s less of a mess in my head and thought process because I’ve put it down and accept it. Then I can get going. Move on. Haha. Sometimes it works as easy as that, other times not so much but it can be therapeutic.
November 5, 2012 @ 5:20 pm
Oh yay! I’m glad I’m not the only person who does this! I really enjoy it–like you say, it’s therapeutic. It helps me work through knots, and it’s fun to go back and see those days when I thought THE WORLD WOULD END…because usually I was Queen of the Universe only a few days later. 😉
November 6, 2012 @ 1:44 am
I’ve started a little writing blog for Nano. It’s nothing fancy, but I like having somewhere to chronicle what I’m doing. Even if it is just a line about my current word count.
I struggle ranting or venting about my writing though because I get stuck in a downward spiral where I just hate everything even more! Maybe I should be writing about puppies and rainbows rather than my sucktastic attention span. 🙂
Gutted I have missed le sprints. I could do with a good solid nudge to up my words today!
November 6, 2012 @ 5:37 pm
We’ll be doing sprints most days–if you want to partake today. 😀
And yeah, I find that my ranting on the page kinda helps get the poison outta my system. It helps purge me so I can feel motivated again. But that’s just me–may not work for you. 🙂
November 6, 2012 @ 9:32 pm
I’ve never really thought of it like that. Clearing the way to actually go and be productive again. I might have to give it a go! At least if it’s handwritten nobody else can see it.
Oooh, sprints that don’t require me to run! Count me in!!
November 6, 2012 @ 4:57 am
I’ve never kept a writing journal simply because I already have enough negativity about my writing floating around in my head. Putting it on paper would probably make me quite writing altogether. I probably couldn’t think of anything funny to put in there anyway, and I don’t have a cool journal like your Star Wars journal either 😛
I have been doing pretty well with my daily word count for NaNoWriMo. Not sure if any of it will be worth anything come Dec. 1, but hey, at least I gave it a shot. Now that I’m done writing for today, it’s time to go back to staring at those pretty baby blues. Ah, Ryan Gosling…my life is so unfair…
November 6, 2012 @ 5:39 pm
I understand the negativity. I try to keep it ONLY focused on the current story (not on all my self-doubts and fears…of which there is a lot-lot-lot). I find when I write down what’s causing me grief (like X-character just doesn’t feel right, but I don’t know what to do with him), it helps me pinpoint just what all my current problems are…and then it helps me come up with solutions! But I’m also a very visual-tactile learner. I need to SEE what’s wrong and physically work on it–something I find I can’t do on a computer alone. 🙂
November 6, 2012 @ 11:25 pm
Hey, loved your book and love your blog!!! Your dedication and determination is absolutely inspiring.
Love the photos of the cuties! Who will be next I wonder?
Best of luck with your writing. I can’t wait to read your next book/novella!
November 8, 2012 @ 6:49 pm
Well, more Ryan Gosling and then some SURPRISE BOYS will be next. 😉
And thank you so much for your incredibly sweet comment! <3
November 7, 2012 @ 6:58 pm
Ummm, this whole journal writing thing? Genius. I pulled out a blank notebook I’ve had forever and started writing in it before I sit down to writing. Explaining it to people definitely sounds just like you said, redundant. But it doesn’t feel like it is. It’s genius. And I’m loving it. And I can’t thank you enough for writing this post and sharing this amazing tip. You’re the best! <3
November 8, 2012 @ 6:51 pm
Isn’t it CRAZY how helpful it can be? I know it sounds so strange to explain to people who DON’T do it, but everyone I ever meet who DOES do it, says it’s so motivating and also cathartic. I love my little Star Wars notebook…
November 10, 2012 @ 1:57 am
It’s neat to hear another writer say they write about writing! This is my third NaNo and I’ve kept a notebook for each year. I like to write down my wordcount and a couple of paragraphs on what I’ve written or will write or like you said, whine about my writing:) And it does make you feel better!
I was going through last year’s NaNo notebook and I had a great laugh, last year I was in a state of panic becasuse I’d procrastinated the first two weeks and so I had some serious catching up to do. So I can relate to the whole HOURS LATER…. It’s great to have a writing journal to remind you of past mistakes:D
Alexa (Alexa Loves Books)
November 28, 2012 @ 5:20 am
This is pretty neat! I never thought to engage in writing about writing, but judging from what you had to say, it might actually help and not hinder. Hmm. This is definitely food for thought!
May 20, 2015 @ 8:37 pm
This is a fantastic idea! Why did I never think of this? My lack of motivation to write the story I am LOVING might be quelled if I actually pick up this writing journa idea. Thanks Sooz! c: