I started my writing journal because it was recommended when I was studying at Uni. Up until that point I’d always carried a notebook around with me but very rarely written in it. I think that’s because I believed, as a writer, I ought to be keeping notes about amazing surroundings, or snippets of interesting conversations overheard, inspired sentences plucked out of thin air. It never happened for me. Nothing I ever wrote in a notebook has been useful.
However the journal I began at Uni was more about where I was at with my writing – what demons were nagging me, how uninspired I felt, or that I’d managed a good word count that day and was totally chuffed with myself. Gradually over the last six years this journal has developed. It’s a record of the highs and lows of a writing life. It includes inspiring stories or quotes from other writers, a paragraph or two about how physical writing can be – tapping into all those emotions can literally make you smile or cry, your shoulders tighten, your jaw clench. I write how meditation helps to clear space in my head for the words to flow, what books I’m reading that help my own processes, a film that stimulated something in me, vague sketches of faces or monsters that lurk in my subconscious, even deadlines and the disciplines (and chain of stickers on my yearly wall planner) that help me achieve these.
So for me a writing journal is a useful support rather than a place to record notes that I will actually use in writing.
Does anyone else keep a writing journal? I’d love to hear from you.