My Writing Journal’s Vacation

So my bags were packed last week. Took the family on a vacation armed with my writing journal and my favourite pen.

I had the next chapter laid out in my head, the plot points set, the scenes visible in my mind. All I had to do was put it down in writing. I started on the plane. There’s nothing like a fresh page and four hours in one spot to get some work done. I got a few paragraphs finished before the drink cart arrived. And that was the end of my writing.

I tried. I popped that book in my beach bag each day. It saw lots of sun. But instead of my inspired words, the pages are filled with the kids’ doodles and countless tic tac toe games that were battled under the palm trees on the beach. The journal, my journal, was commandeered by the kids to play games. It’s all good.

After all, who works on their vacation? Even people who love their jobs take a break from them once in a while. So I forgave myself for not writing after a few days (the mojito’s helped drown the guilt). That’s what a vacation is for. Besides, the chapter is still alive in my imagination. I’ll get to it soon…after all the laundry is done.


Scribbles Blog Hop

This week I am participating in Scibbles Hop and along with fellow writers and bloggers, will share the role my journal plays in my own writing practice.  Below is a list of other Scribbles Hoppers.  I hope you have a chance to visit them all and read about how their journals add to their writing experience.

A journal is also a tool for self-discovery, an aid to concentration, a mirror for the soul, a place to generate and capture ideas, a safety valve for the emotions, a training ground for the writer, and a good friend and confidant.  (Ron Klug)

To some people a journal is some of the above, to others it is all this and more.  But I think everyone would say their journal is REFLECTIVE.  That’s the key for me.  It’s the personal element of putting pen to paper, the slower pace of forming sentences that forces words to gel in a way it might not when hands are flying across the keyboard. 

I scribble lots of unrelated things in my journal, from a quote that inspires me, to a tip I heard about plotting.  I’ll also write portions of a whole such as a paragraph for an important moment or an exchange of dialogue.    While I rarely write large pieces by hand, I will plot out a scene in my journal before I write it on my laptop.  I will jot down the sequence of events in point form, any foreshadowing I want to include, even a line of dialogue that I have in my head.  By the time I set fingers to keys, this first step keeps the scene flowing, making the writing more fluid and the writer more focused.  Whether I have to refer back to the page or not, the scene is clear in my head, along with all the hits I need to make.  Before I started doing this, I often remembered something afterwards that I missed in the heat of the writing moment, even a subtle interchange that was important but then it’s hard to go back and interrupt what’s already written.

Below is a photo of a page from my journal of a scene that had to be just right, an example of how I plot the scene before I write it.  (Spoilers for those of you following my critique posts.) 

I couldn’t resist sharing another writer’s journal.  With special permission from my six year old daughter, I have included a page from her writing journal.  This journal is sparkly pink with a big “A” for “awesome” because her initial was sold out.  I think she’s pretty awesome, and so is her writing.  This photo is from her WIP “Kitty and Natalie.”

 

Leave a comment and tell me how your journal helps you.  And don’t forget to check out the other Scribbles Hop Bloggers and their insights into the use of writing journals:

Danielle La Paglia

Anne Michaud 

Victoria D Griesdoorn 

Ren Warom 

J.A. Campbell 

Tammy Crosby 

Maria Kelly 

Chrissey Harrison 

Natalie Westgate 

Tony Noland 

Larry Kollar