This week’s topic:
Journaling Your Writing
I wanted to share something I started doing as part of my writing routine that’s been helpful for me. Perhaps it will be helpful to other fellow writers as well! I’m calling it journaling because that’s pretty close to what it is. Here is what I include in my journaling:
- Today’s Date
- Brief Description of Where I Left Off in My Novel
- What Scenes I Know Are Coming Up Next
- Surprises While I Was Writing
- My Final Word Count For the Day
I don’t write a ton for each entry. A typical day looks like this:
I want to explain what each part does for me, and why this has been a useful tool:
- Today’s Date: Helps to hold me accountable for writing each day. And it’s useful in tracking my own productivity. I also give myself gold star stickers on a calendar for each 1k I write, and if I forget to “star myself” then I can go back here to check.
- Where I Left Off: I always begin my writing day by re-reading the last scene that I wrote. I usually try not to do any editing. Rereading gets me back in the zone and refreshes my memory. And then writing a brief blurb of that scene in my journaling helps me focus on what about that scene was important.
- What’s Next: Listing the scenes that are coming up next can serve as an outline, menu, or brainstorm session. Sometimes it’s a reminder of what’s on my agenda. Sometimes I can kind of pick from the menu based on what I think comes next organically. And sometimes I have no idea what comes next and I brainstorm some possibilities.
- Surprises: This is probably the part of my journaling I love most. Whenever I sit down to write, something will usually come out that I was not expecting. An unplanned plot point or an emotional burst from a character or a new quirky secondary character makes himself known. My favorite part of my writing day has become writing down the surprises, and often I want to explore that surprise more the next day. I also think it might be fun to share with readers someday… “This character came out of nowhere!” or “I was never planning to do that!”
- Word Count: This holds me accountable for my writing most of all. I try to write a 1,000 words a day… no matter what. It’s a high goal, but honestly, the hardest part is making the time to write and getting your butt in the chair. Once I’m started, I usually make it.
Not only has this journaling been helpful, but I also think that somewhere down the road, this is going to be a sentimental keepsake. Being able to look back and see how my story unfolded… I wish I’d done this from the very beginning.
Now I have a beautiful use for all those awesome journals/notebooks that people give me as gifts 🙂
Any other writers do some form of journaling? Anyone plan to give this a try?
Let me know if there is a “Behind the Story” topic you would like to see… Happy Writing!