Early on, I wanted my heroine to have a journal. Not quite sure why, but capturing her journey through a journal stuck as I brainstormed my scenes. Some writers write character journals for their characters to help them see things from their character’s perspective. But for me, I wanted my heroine to actually have a journal in my story.
I actually have come across a very limited amount of books using journal entries throughout the story. In my manuscript, there is an entry at the beginning of every chapter. I was excited a few years ago to find a book that had this and found that it worked. But I haven’t found a lot of books this way, so that’s a good thing.
I’m even considering it to be possibly a thing I do in all of them, but we will see.
I’m curious to know if this is something that appeals to readers or not.
I have seen a journal or diary entry as a plot point or in a scene. I actually have some of those as well since her writing in her journal is part of her story.
If you do, do you ever worry about someone reading what you wrote?
My heroine gets handed a journal upon her start as a teacher. In it, she’s instructed to write down the events of her days to capture what happens as a female teacher who moves West to teach in small pioneer towns.
Olivia finds her journal to be a close confidant. She enjoys documenting her observances about the places she’s been and the people she meets. Given that it’s 1869 and traveling by train across the country is a new and unprecedented event, the importance in capturing the momentous occasion is not lost on her.
She’s also very protective of her book. It never leaves her side and she would never leave it out so that someone could read it. But even if they did, she is very careful what she writes, never putting to paper her own thoughts and opinions, just in case someone else might read it and pass judgement on her.
See judgement stings and her fear of being judged stems from…well…I don’t want to give too much away.
I created a small diary in Olivia’s hand, so that I could think like her and feel what it might’ve been like all those years ago to have a small diary to write down words that could be read one hundred years later.
What she was doing was so new in 1869.
Traveling across the country, women came west to teach in one-room schoolhouses and in order to make a difference in the life of a child, and for herself as well.
I wonder, in real life, how many of them kept a journal? And if they had any idea that we would be reading what they wrote so many years later?
Denise loves journals and has several laying around her home at any given time. She wrote about her bullet journal page design ideas for writers in an earlier post and this year she started a journal just for her word of the year quotes. The one she uses the most is her prayer journal. Check out her how to start a prayer journal page on her website.
Do you have a bullet journal or have you ever wanted to try one, but haven’t yet?
I haven’t used mine as much as I would like, but I have done a few things that I love and wanted to share them with you. Who knows, maybe you might add a bullet journal to your Christmas list this year.
I’ve accumulated several ideas I’ve been wanting to try and recently I added these ideas and more to my Pinterest board for Journals and Journaling. In searching around further, I even found Christmas related doodles as well as banner headers I decided to attempt.
To organize my writing in my bullet journal, I divided the journal into two sections. The second section is specifically related to writing stuff.
One set has all the writing craft books listed so I can remember what I have, while the other lists all the magazine articles I’ve published, along with a vase with the roses I’ve received from my OCC RWA chapter. (There’s room for the books I hope to publish too.)
Some other ideas I’ve come up with are hashtag and keyword tracking, as well as banners and box ideas, Christmas doodles, and other things to capture including a list of Musicals I have seen in person.
I got the bookshelf idea from writer Chautona Havig who uses a bullet journal to keep track of everything from character names, words to avoid, and other writer related topics in fun and creative ways.
There’s something about having pages created in my own hand. I wrote a past blog post a while back as to why hand-written notes and journals are important.
I’d like to create more pages in my bullet journal for my writing, but I’m looking for ideas.
Do you have a bullet journal?
What are some ideas that you have used to design a page that’s related to writing?
I was out buying an electric blanket yesterday (it’s winter in New Zealand) and I passed by a rack of blank books and journals that were on sale. I can’t not stop when I see pretty journals despite the fact I haven’t yet used all the ones I have. So I paused and looked them over and what do you know, one of them caught my attention.
If you’ve seen any of the pictures I’ve been posting on Facebook, you know I live in a spectacularly beautiful area with amazing sunrises and sunsets. And this journal reminded me of the view right outside my front window. But more than that, the title really spoke to me.
Not just “start” or “do it now” or “get moving” but it seemed to say, “jump in, even if you don’t know how deep the water is.”
That’s a little scary, and that’s exactly why I sometimes procrastinate doing things I want to do. I know the wisdom of “count the cost” and I don’t think it’s a good idea to jump into something when you don’t know how long it will take or how much it will cost. Not unless you have plenty of time and money, and who does?
I’ve been talking about starting my own podcast for two years or more, and I’ve done a lot of research on what podcasting entails. I’m excited about it. I know what topics I’m going to cover and the format the show will take. I have all the right equipment and software. But I haven’t put a start date on it yet because, as usual, I never know when I’m suddenly going to up and move (husband’s job). I’m scared I’ll get started and suddenly find myself out of time and behind in my schedule and disappointing my listeners.
I bought the journal. I’m starting my podcast now by getting the information in my head written down. Step 1 on the journey.
The blank pages are calling out to me, offering excitement and adventure. And you know what’s doubly exciting about that to me? That’s what I want my podcast to do for my listeners. I want to encourage people to get started, to keep going, to see the hardship as part of the adventure, to understand that trepidation grows along the sides of every new path.
Hopefully, I won’t release the first episode or two and find myself in the middle of another round-the-world move. But I’ve got lots of blank pages here to fill with ideas on how to manage the work despite a potential move.
Some writers hate the blank page, the blinking cursor. But something about journals begs you to fill the pages. Now. With something. Maybe you’ve got a beautiful blank journal sitting around that you forgot about. Go find it. See if the pages call out to you like this one does to me.
Write down your ideas.
Begin your adventure.
Any personal communication from loved ones can be a blessing, but I consider a handwritten note a gift that keeps on giving long after it was written.
And even though a lot of us don’t like our handwriting, have you ever thought what our handwriting means to our loved ones?
It’s not something I ever thought about till I lost my dad over twenty years ago. Whenever I come across something he wrote down, I stop and pause. I remember him. And remembering him touches my heart. So in some ways having something in my dad’s handwriting makes me feel a connection to him, even after all these years.
Things have changed much over the years with email and texting. I feel like handwritten notes is a lost art with some people. My mother-in-law always writes a personal message in every card she sends. She also includes a trademark of sorts with an abbreviation LYMTYK in every card. My husband says she always did that even when he was a child. Love you more than you know. I’ve come to cherish her messages because her words come from her heart in her own writing.
I was recently looking for a blank journal for my next prayer journal and came across several different journal books in a drawer. One of them was a book created for me at my first baby shower nineteen years ago—“Advice to the new mom”. I skimmed through and came upon the page my mom wrote and I was blown away.
First, to see her handwriting. Personal, from her and something she physically touched.
Second to read her advice. Personal, from her and something she wanted to pass on to me.
My mom passed away this summer and so finding that was a little gift and a wonderful reminder for me to hold on to and cherish. My heart overflowed with gratitude to be holding on to this note from my mom. Kinda neat to see that I took my mom’s advice too.
Every once in a while I remember to write my boys a note. They may not appreciate it enough to keep it. But I believe the words sink in and by receiving a personal note from me, I’m sending them a little bit of love that I hope they will remember at times. In fact, I think I might go handwrite a note to each of them now.
I’d love to know if I’m the only one who loves handwritten notes. Mention in the comments section whether you keep any handwritten notes you receive or when a handwritten note has touched you in a special way.