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Creating a Writing Journal by Kidd Wadsworth

February 25, 2024 by in category Infused with Meaning by Kidd Wadsworth tagged as , , , ,
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Creating a Writing Journal

I wanted to stop forgetting appointments and lunches with friends. I wanted to keep track of events days, weeks, months and even years into the future. After 18 months of watching YouTube videos, I discovered a minimalist system that has worked well for me. I’ve been bullet journaling (called Bujo on YouTube) for two years now. It has revolutionized and simplified my life.

The must dos for creating a personal journal are fairly simple:

  1. The first one to three pages should be an index. It doesn’t have to be fancy. For example:
    p.6  January Brain Dump.
  2. Since I create my journal from a blank, spiral bound, notebook (dotted pages), I draw in my own calendars. Each of my journals lasts me about 6 months. Thus, I draw six monthly calendars. I use two facing pages for each month, so the calendars are large enough to hold important events such as dentist appointments or writing dates with my creative buds.
  3. Immediately following the monthly calendar pages, I use two facing pages to keep track of events that are scheduled more than 6 months out.
  4. For each month I also create a Brain Dump page. On this page I write all of things I want to remember as they come along. For example, replace the whole house water filter or order a book from interlibrary loan.
  5. Finally, every week on Saturday evening, I create a weekly spread. I use 4 pages divided length-wise to create space for Sunday-Monday, Tuesday-Wednesday, Thursday-Friday, Saturday-Tasks. On these pages I write down my to-do lists for that day. I use the Tasks section (the second half of the Saturday page) as a way of keeping track of what I want to do each week. The daily to-do lists are easy to create. I review the events scheduled for that week on the monthly calendar. I also refer back to the previous week and make sure that I reschedule any uncompleted tasks. Finally, I check the brain dump page. Are there tasks there that I need to schedule?

And that’s it. Short, simple, and most of all, in one place.

Last year I decided to also create a Writing Journal. When I first started my writing journal, I kept track of how many hours I wrote each day. I no longer do this. I write incessantly. However, if you find that your writing time is being co-oped by your day-job, your family obligations, etc., you may wish to add a time-tracker to help you prioritize and regain control of your time.

My must have pages are:

  1. Story Ideas – Story Ideas come at me so fast that if I don’t write them down, I’ll lose them. I try to write the story I’ve dreamed up as completely as possible, including characters names, what they look like, etc. Details are incredibly important. Specific snippets of dialogue I also record. I keep paper and a soft 6B pencil by my bed. When a story idea wakes me up at night, I write it down. I NEVER remember dreamed ideas in the morning.
  2. Great Words and Phrases – These gems provide endless inspiration. Consider: Braiding thoughts, glittering eyes, wobble-bobble, prattle.
  3. Books on Writing –  I write down the titles of books on writing recommended to me by friends and writing professionals. These can be books on craft or the business side of writing. Since I can’t afford to buy all of these books, writing them down helps me save the titles and use inter library loan to obtain a free copy to read. (Typically, these are not fiction books in my genre.)
  4. Great Quotes – I love great quotes because they often include unique word choices. I always write down the name of the author of the quote. That way I don’t confuse my own good quotes with those of others. Yes, I write down “by Kidd Wadsworth” if I’m quoting myself. And yes, I do keep track of my gems, too.
  5. Goals – I both set goals and track how long it takes me to actually complete them.  I’ve learned that I can write a novel in ~18 months. It usually takes a full day for me to send out a single query letter.
  6. Index – Unlike my daily journal, most of the pages in my writing journal are unscripted. I do not have monthly calendar pages, or daily to do lists. So an index is unbelievably important. I don’t worry that the items in my writing journal are not well organized. I write down stuff as it happens. I often use my writing journal for taking notes as I am writing, too. I use the Index to help me find everything later. And yes, the index is not well organized either. But it is usually no more than two pages long, so I can read through every line to find that one crucial item I need.

YouTube has proven to be a fantastic reference for me to begin journaling. But I had to disregard a lot of what I saw. I do not decorate my journals. I am not overly picky. If I make a mistake or draw a line in the wrong place, I fix it and move on. I am definitely not a perfectionist. Some of the journals on YouTube are best described as works of art. My journal is a tool. I do the minimum amount of work needed to make my journals useful, and then I get back to writing.

Happy Writing!


Read Kidd’s Stories in the Following Anthologies

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Chatting with Authors by Will Zeilinger & Janet Elizabeth Lynn

June 3, 2021 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , , ,

Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Janet has published seven mystery novels and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.

In 2020, Will and Janet created “Chatting With Authors.” This channel features informal interviews with authors of varied genres, produced via Zoom, and aired every Friday. Below are some of the chats from the past year.

Sheila Lowe, a real-life forensic handwriting expert, has appeared in countless forensic TV and radio shows, newspaper and magazine articles, and blogs. Her Amazon number one best-selling series, The Forensic Handwriting psychological suspense books, features Claudia Rose. Sheila’s new Beyond the Veil Series is paranormal suspense about a young woman who reluctantly communicates with dead people.

Listen to Judge Debra H. Goldstein, Author of the Sarah Blair Mystery series, Should Have Played Poker, and the IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. She’ll describe how her short stories and novels became finalists for several awards.

Fantasy readers will enjoy hearing from Christopher Ochs, author of Pindlebryth of Lenland. He tells about his collection of the mirthful macabre in If I Can’t Sleep, You Can’t Sleep. His short stories have been published in several anthologies and were finalists for several awards.

Carol L. Wright tells us how she escaped a career in law and academia to write Mysteries and More. She created the Gracie McIntyre Mysteries where justice always prevails. Her short stories have appeared in several literary journals and anthologies.

Hope you enjoyed these interviews. To hear more interviews go to Chatting with Authors.

The Skylar Drake Mystery Series


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