11.4.13

Journaling

J is for Journaling 



I've got a confession to make. 

I've got to be the worst journaler in the world. 

Writing in a journal is something I really struggle with. For some reason, it takes an extraordinary amount of discipline for me to journal every day. (And if I don't do it every day, there's no way I'm going to do it every week or month or whenever. Honestly, if I don't make it a point to journal every day, I don't journal at all.)

I wish I were better at it—I used to be. In fact, before I actively started writing novels, I journaled a lot, simply about my day. When I go on vacation overseas, I journal because I don't want to forget a thing. Having a record of what I did comes in handy if I scrapbook the pictures. However, for my day-to-day life, I struggle with being consistent in journaling. I think I can manage to write every day I'm on vacation is because I usually end up taking a break from novel writing during that time, and journaling becomes my only writing outlet.

To get myself motivated, I've purchased a number of expensive journals, sometimes even new pens. And I cannot, for the life of me, stick with it. There's always something else that clamors for my attention. That unfinished first draft. Coffee. That WIP which needs more editing. Snack. That writing circle's critique I need to finish. Lunch. Exhaustion. Coffee. Dinner. Distraction. Snack.

It's all a distraction, I admit. I'm convinced of it. There's nothing which should keep me from journaling. I have no excuse. I can do it when I set my mind to it. But I don't.

Currently my journal technique is something I read about in a book called Finding Your Writer's Voice: A Guide to Creative Fiction by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall. This was a great book, and not just about voice. In fact, one gem I picked up was to daily journal by picking a single memory that stands out to you from that day. Take that moment of the day and embellish it. Write about whatever you remember from that instant, the smells, the sights, the feelings you had. Whatever made it so real to you, like the rush of the traffic as you bustle down the street, the rain pouring from the sky. The fact that you forgot your umbrella and ended up all wet for your meeting. Don't worry about it being smooth and entertaining, this is more like freewriting.

Even approaching journaling this way—all it takes is five minutes!—I struggle to commit myself to it daily. I put it in my calendar, and like all things I'm not fully committed to, I move it around as I forget and do other things. Then at nine o'clock at night, when I'm wasted from the day and there's nothing more for me to give, my phone kindly reminds me to journal. And I promptly delete the reminder with a small pinprick of guilt.

Sigh.

Am I alone in my inability to be a consistent journaler? What are some tips you have found to be consistent in journaling?

~I.E.