This month’s blog addresses the value of keeping a writer’s journal or notebook. Since childhood, I’ve made several attempts to keep a Daily Diary. However, most of these entries turned out to be tedious recordings of trivial everyday experiences, so I soon became bored and abandoned them. But over the years, I’ve managed to amass a number of writing notebooks or journals. They vary in size and purpose: small ones I keep in my purse to record random thoughts and observances that may make their way into my writing; medium-sized ones I use to jot down ideas, goals, and notes pertaining to my writing, and large ones for writing rough drafts.
My Journals Vary in Size & Purpose
My Common Place Book started as an assignment for a university English class I took in the 90’s. It’s a place where I collect some of my writing, other people’s writing that’s moved me, quotes and sayings I especially like, and my observations and thoughts about events that occur in the world around me.
I also keep a Spiritual Journal filled with scripture verses and spiritual sayings that have been especially meaningful for me. It contains my personal reflections on them, along with other enlightening revelations that occur to me from time to time. I also fill them with spiritual symbols and imagery that often show up in my articles, stories and poems. For instance, the iconic imagery in a Ukrainian Orthodox church that I visited during one of my seminary classes made a lasting impression on me. I’ve also long been fascinated by Ukrainian Easter Eggs, or Pysanky, and I’ve learned the meaning of their various colours and designs. I’ve used this knowledge to “colour” some of my Christian writing.
In addition, I keep several Writing Notebooks/Journals. These are filled with all kinds of notes related to my writing. I’ve jotted down ideas for novels, stories, articles, and poems. Some of these notes have already been converted into pieces that have been published in various periodicals over the years. Others still await their turn in the limelight. Another notebook is filled with notes I’ve collected from a number of writing conferences I’ve attended. Still others are notes I’ve taken while reading other authors’ works or resource books for writers. Several are filled with rough outlines or first drafts of short stories, articles, and poems. The first draft of my romance novel was written in longhand and fills three of the larger journals. I’m now in the middle of typing and revising the second draft on my laptop.
are Great Writing Resources|
Lastly, I have a Writing Portfolio where I keep copies of all of my work that’s been published in various periodicals and anthologies, along with some contest award-winners.
The practice of writing in these various writing notebooks and journals helps me to develop and clarify my thoughts and feelings on a variety of topics and gives me inspiration and fodder for my writing projects. Keeping my Spiritual Journal has helped me process Scripture verses that I’ve read and delve deeper into their meaning so that I can grow spiritually and apply what I’ve discovered to my Christian writing. The verses, sayings, and quotes that I jot down in this journal also serve to build up my faith and devotion to God.
Whether I’m noting the good or the bad as I write in my various journals and notebooks, it usually works its way into my writing. If I’m working through some personal struggles, I know others out there are in similar situations. Because of my journalling, I’m able to write about these situations so my readers know they’re not the only ones experiencing them.
Photo Credits: © 2016, Nina Faye Morey