After listening to Chris Jone’s podcast episode “Priming the Pump with Words”, I decided to challenge myself to journal every day for 100 days. As of this writing, I’m on day 10.
I used to be a prolific journal writer, but it got so I bogged myself down in my own doldrums, expounding on everything wrong with my life. I also felt like I was wasting time, but Chris got me to thinking about it a little differently. His thoughts on journaling reminded me that Swept Up came from journal entries that flowed from streams of consciousness into book writing prose.
I’ve been struggling to write more lately, mostly because of time. Because my window for writing is fairly small these days, I’ve felt I must put every minute toward working on my next book. Which, makes me feel squelched. I think as writers, we need space to move around and let all the words find homes, and those homes may not be in the current WIP (work in progress). Last year I was inspired by Toby Neal’s daily updates from her tour of Alaska. I saw her writing grow with each entry. They were magical. I got to thinking maybe this exercise will build my writing muscle as well, but I intimidated myself by saying I didn’t have time that kind of writing. I had to stay focused on the next book.
Chris’s version of the challenge calls for three hand written pages per day. I’m tweaking the rules a bit. I think much faster than I can write with a pen, and I really enjoy working on my laptop. So, I’ll be journaling in Evernote. I can insert pictures, and it’s with me wherever I go since it’s also installed on my iPhone (so no excuses for skipping a day). Some folks are inhibited with typing, but it doesn’t seem to hold back my creativity. In fact, I think it boosts it because I can keep up with my thoughts. My hope is some blog posts and and maybe book material will come from these sessions, and if they are already typed I will save time in not having to retype them. I do love copy and paste.
Chris talked about a cool journaling app called Day One, but the laptop version was almost $30 and the iPhone version was $5. I’m already a premium Evernote user, and can do pretty much everything I’d do in Day One in that space. And since I’m a hardcore Evernote fan, I’m pretty giddy to find another use for it. I also feel more secure in recording my thoughts digitally as I can password protect them. Someone can’t just pick my journal up off my desk and start reading it. As a result, I can be more transparent, which will benefit my work. Sometimes I hold back when I worry about someone seeing my uncensored feelings. The best writing can come from those deep, dark, hysterical places.
Since I won’t be measuring my sessions in handwritten pages, I’m just going to shoot for 5-10 minutes of journal writing per day at a minimum. I’m not setting too many hard and fast rules, or I’ll just get frustrated.
Okay, the time has come to choose a journaling approach that works for YOU! If it’s not convenient and comfortable, you won’t do it. Once the habit is established, you can start looking at pushing yourself. Experiment, play, have fun with this challenge. We will grow together!