Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dear Diary I'm a Writer!

This is going to be a fairly brief post. I want to talk about the importance of keeping a writer's journal. Through some extensive reading *cough cough* I've realized that a writer's journal can mean very different things to very different people. Some people use it as an actual journal, so it's literally a writer's journal. Some people use it to jot ideas down. Some people use it to write practice scenes. The good thing is, you can use it for whatever you want, it doesn't have rules. However, that much freedom can be a little intimidating, so here's some ideas I suggest for a writer's journal:

The Journal: it should be small, and light weight, so it's easy to carry around. It doesn't even necessarily have to be a journal; it can be in the notes on your ipod, or phone. However most people like having a pen and paper to doodle ideas down. If you are going with the more traditional journal, the pages should all stay inside so you don't lose any. This sounds like an obvious thing, but I've seen many journals with most of their contents on the floor. The moral of the story, make sure the paper in the journal will stay in if it gets tossed around a bit, because if you're carrying it around all the time then it surely will (get tossed around a bit).

The Contents: Like I said before, anything and everything. Some ideas for things to write in it are:
-Quotes. People say funny/insightful/inspiring/passionate things that are worth writing down. I can't tell you how many quotes from people I've spun into scenes. It's hard to remember quotes so if you have your writer's journal handy then it's the perfect place to put them.

-Ideas. Sometimes you'll see something, or hear something and get a brilliant idea for a story that you're likely to forget if you don't write it down. Writers' journals are also helpful to plan out side stories, and other aspects of the plot that you haven't quite perfected yet while you have down time. For example, I plan out family trees for my characters while I'm waiting in the van for my mom to grab some milk from the grocery store.

-Organizing thoughts. Sometimes I have so many "what ifs" floating around my head that are to underdeveloped to add to the plot line, so I jot them down in my writer's journal. I write down the "what if" and start adding other arrow ideas around it until it forms into a reasonable event
that can be added into the story. Here's a picture of a "what if" page from my journal:


As you can see I like arrows.

-Writing scenes. I've been known to scribble down a scenes in my journal. They can be scenes that are currently coming up in your story, or scenes that are completely unplanned. Writers' journals are good for writing your story in a more portable way if you are writing it on the computer. Just write down the last paragraph or so that you wrote on the computer and you're all set up to write. It doesn't really matter if you end up transferring the scene into the actual story or not, because you are practicing your writing skills.

Alright, so that was my "brief" post. I can't stress enough the value of having a writer's journal. Just remember it's there to help you, and make you a better writer. It doesn't have to be neat, notes can be scrawled in the margins, and it can be anything you'd like it to be! As you can see, mine is certainly not neat, but it is an immense help to me, and I've made it my own. I've found this link that talks about writer's journals, and some more ideas for contents of the journal. Be sure to check it out!

6 comments:

  1. Oooh, brilliant idea. ^.^ I always carry at least one little notebook around with me for jotting down those little, elusive thoughts one gets while standing in line/walking places/working... But these are very small, and not quite big enough for a proper writer's journal.

    I'm going to be on the look out for the perfectly sized journal, and then I'll definitely be using these ideas. ^.^

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  2. Thanks for the comment Katie! It's always encourgaing to hear from readers like yourself:D

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  3. Destiny DiddlesworthMay 16, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Great post! I love that we'll just be chilling and someone will say something and you'll pull our your journal(;

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  4. LOL I sorta do that. :) I don't carry it around, but I do have a book in which I jot down things people have said that make me laugh, story ideas, scene ideas, and snippets of dialogue that I could possible make a character say. :)

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  5. Yo. My name is not really Nuffless... Anyway.
    I have a writer's notebook in my room. I keep it on my desk, which is where I am, like, every day. Most of the time I have writer's block, and when I don't, I'm somewhere where my computer and journal aren't. I haven't been able to write a story in ages for lack of ideas. I supposedly have a 'large imagination' but it never really helps in certain situations! ANY SUGGESTIONS?

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  6. Hey not-really-Nuffles,
    Writer's block sucks! The best thing to do is just start getting words on the page. Don't worry about where it's going or how it will turn out. For inspiration, check out story boards on Pinterest, watch your favourite movies, re-read your favourite books and feel free to check out all the posts I've written labeled "inspiration":
    http://splash-of-ink.blogspot.ca/search/label/Inspiration

    Thanks for the comment and good luck!
    P.S. Maybe get a smaller notebook to carry on your person so you don't loose any ideas?

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