Pondering Writing Journals

So, my writing book for August was Description & Setting by Ron Rozelle, which is probably one of if not the first writing book I bought myself (and yet had never read, which is par for the course). Description is a weak point for me and always has been (though I like to think I’m getting better at it), so I found the book informative and interesting and would recommend it.

(Though I recommended it to a writing friend, and apparently it’s gotten really expensive. Boo.)

One of things Mr. Rozelle recommends is having a writing journal, which is kind of like a normal morning journal, except it’s focused on writing and writing adjacent activities, such as outlining or planning (both the general story or that day’s work specifically), thoughts on media consumed and what worked/didn’t work, snippets of conversations or observations to be used in future stories/scenes, story ideas, maps and floor plans, stray thoughts, etc.

The idea is that you do a couple of pages each day, and then you’re generally better organized or at least thinking about writing more regularly. Plus everything is in more or less one place and hence easy-ish to find.

It sounds lovely.

But it also sounds like how I used to work. I had these two steno notebooks (one, the one that I of course wrote down all my initial thoughts and outlines for Shards, is lost to the depths of time. And of course it disappeared before I actually sat down to write Shards.) that I carted around everywhere. I drew maps and other important things (the uniforms that go along with my space dinosaur story are in there), wrote snippets of story, figured out backstory, did odd brainstorms, you name it.

But I found it hard to find the stuff again later (missing notebook not withstanding). I’d often have to go through both notebooks a few times before I found what I was looking for (invariably it was tucked in some margin somewhere, or on the back of something else), and sometimes it would turn out to be somewhere else entirely.

But I also wasn’t terribly meticulous. The notes aren’t in any sort of order; I would open to a blank page and go. It’s possible that if I started at the beginning of a notebook and wrote on pages in order that the whole thing would make more sense.

So I am pondering giving the whole idea a go again. I’m certainly not lacking in notebooks. And I think I would write in pen this time, because pencil does not last. (And it smears.)

I know this year has been a mess, but I’ve felt so unproductive. I haven’t been, not really, but I’ve also been hyperaware of times when I could have been writing and haven’t been able to actually do so. Maybe a change of format, or a morning routine, could be helpful.

(Though I have yet to figure out a morning routine around the small, mobile ones. Maybe a mid-morning routine?)

Anyone keep a creative journal of any sort? Found them useful? Tips that you find really work?

In other news, Heifer International sent me this video about llamas and alpacas, and well, here we are:

Been a while since we’ve had alpaca content here. Whoops.

Also, as a reminder, my new SkillShare class about genre is here! If you’d like a 14-day free trial of SkillShare, you can get it here. In general, I’m fond of SkillShare–it’s a great learning platform for creative stuff (I take illustration and singing classes, mostly) and there’s a lot of good content on there. Plus with the membership, you can take as many classes as you want, with no limit. (Could totally get in a few classes in those two weeks, just saying.)

Almost autumn, squiders! Hooray!

4 responses to this post.

  1. That’s such a great idea. I could use a writing journal that’s for sure. I already do jot things down in my everyday journal, but that makes it even harder to find writing-related stuff among all that mess. I shall think about this and give it a go.

    Reply

  2. Seems like an interesting idea, if I could only read my own handwriting. 😀

    Reply

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