Pulling in on the reigns of my characters via plotting is proving to be complex. Would I have found it easier to let my characters show me the way instead of me leading them? No, I don’t think so. As difficult as plotting can be, pantsing this WIP would probably have been more confusing and overwhelming. I would have been sitting here perplexed about what should be coming into the next scene. Although I still believe that writing is an art form, it don’t have the abandonment that the visual arts have.
Still, there are choices…
What is Journaling?
I had started a personal journal for the umpteenth time a few weeks ago. To my dismay, I just can’t get into the habit of keeping it up to date. Imagine, someone like me who lives for schedules and organization not being able to maintain a docket for such a simple activity. It’s baffling to me, to say the least.
First, the word, journal, can pertain to two different forms of writing. There’s the all out public form, which can also be called a newspaper, magazine, newsletter, or even a book (usually pertaining to academic journals). The second kind is a personal one that may be referred to as a diary (DO NOT confuse with dairy. The cow will not understand what you’re talking about.)
I’ve done both in the past. As a journalist, I written articles for a monthly newsletter put out by a regional branch of The March of Dimes. All of those articles gave information about disabilities and accommodations that the average person may not have heard about yet. If I was brilliant, I’d look into doing that again just so I’d make sure to keep abreast of new helps and procedures concerning my own disability. Does anyone have a bottle of brilliant pills I could buy?
I’ve done the latter too — many times, in fact. It started when I was ten. I received one of those little bound books with the lock and key for my birthday. Yes, my mom was pushing me back then to become a writer. You see, I was writing short essays, descriptions, and the rare short, short story as soon as I learned cursive in third grade. My writing wasn’t pretty like my mom’s but I was working on it. Lamentably, I couldn’t keep a diary up to date back then either. I would write in it for a few weeks until something more exciting to me caught my attention. It’s been that way ever since too. I’ll hit a card shop like Hallmark, or browse through the card section at someplace like Walmart and see colorful bound diaries. My next thought will be, “Maybe this one will inspire me to keep it up.” I buy it, bring it home, and start writing in it. A few weeks later I realize that I’ve missed five days of journaling. I try to keep it going again. Again, a few weeks later I remember that I should have written something in my diary eight days ago. At that point I don’t pull it out of the drawer. It happened this last time too despite the fact that it isn’t a physical book. I clicked into Word, created a template, and started typing away. I just cannot remember to write in it!
Yes, I’m disturbed by this. I can remember doctor appointments, people’s birthdays, to write something for my personal blog (without the help of a calendar, no less), and write on my WIP every day (yes, I have an alarm set for this one). Why can’t I remember to write exclusively personal stuff about myself and my emotions?
On top of all this, I find out that many successful writers keep a personal journal/diary. They track the progress they make on their projects. They note what’s working for them in their writing life and what isn’t. Ideas for new projects and adjustments for current projects come from these pages. The need for a personal written account becomes more important and this does include me.
Regardless, this past week I spent some time evaluating what kind of person I am, which is something I rarely do, I’m ashamed to say. What I want to say is I’m an introvert through and through — but I’m not. Oh yes, I am an introvert, liking the silence of the house after Hubby leaves for work, cursing every time I hear the phone ring, and shying away from crowds. Nevertheless, I do love having friends and family to have conversations with. The way I have found to do this, still keep my peace around me, enveloping me gently, is to converse online. I’d say I’m one of the active commenters in the blogosphere. And I do hope I keep people engaged with my blog posts.
While reflecting on all of this, I realized I’ve been more or less keeping a personal journal at my blog. Despite me being an introvert, somehow I don’t have any problem publicly journaling about my thoughts, about me in general. Sure, there’s a few things you out here in cyberspace don’t know about, but for the most part, my life is an open book to all.
Do I need that private secret diary? No, I don’t think so. At least I don’t need it at this point. Even later, I might go with a daily planner instead. Do you have a thought about this? Please speak up.
What I think I need now is feedback from others about what I think, do, and am. You, the readers provide that when you feel so inclined. It’s a fabulous give and take relationship we have without losing any of out peace and quiet.
Last Week’s Capers
- Exercise: I flubbed up. The only excuse I have is that I didn’t feel good for two days, but doing the math, I should have been able to get all four days in any way with one to spare. As it was, I got two days in.
- Searching for EBooks: I did find some, but I’m hesitant when it comes to buying any of them. I still have a couple of books about writing that I haven’t touched yet. As for fiction, I have four books sitting on a shelf waiting to be read. Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little on this.
- Getting Out: I wasn’t outside much this last week. If it wasn’t blazing hot, it was raining. I do wish the weather would be a little more cooperative with me.
- WIP: It’s amazing what a little planning can do. Some general plotting strategies seems to be what I’ve needed. This last week I managed to write 5,546 words. I’ve gone from 28,198 to 34,204 words for this project. The purpose of the larger word count isn’t for the numbers themselves. More words per writing session means better flow of ideas/thoughts.
This Next Week’s Antics
- Exercise: (I’m looking up into the universe.) Please let me get in four good sessions on the stationary bike.
- Get busy reading some of the EBooks on writing I’ve accumulated from writer’s blogs.
- Let’s hope that the weather will be more cooperative with me so I can get outside more.
- WIP: Revise the Setting Outline I got from Sherry Wilson so it’s more tailored for what I need. Try for another 5,000+ words again.
What are your plans for this next week? I know not all of the readers who grace my blog are writers. Don’t be shy. Tell me and the other readers what’s shaking.
A writer is dear and necessary for us only in the measure of which he reveals to us the inner workings of his very soul.
Count Leo Tolstoy