by Hannah Brown, jaBlog! Blogger
In English class today, while studying the history of the English language, I had an idea for a story about a young Puritan woman trying to write in a society that’s banned it (honestly, I get the strangest ideas in English class). I scribbled down the idea on my work itself because, regretfully, I had left my writing journal at home.
A writing journal can be anything you use to help keep your ideas fresh and in your mind: an actual journal you bought at the shop, a handmade notebook, even your mobile phone and the notes app. For me, I have a rather battered notebook which I bought cheaply and still use–not enough.
I used to be really good at taking my writing journal everywhere with me (and making sure that all the smaller handbags I bought would fit that and a pen), but over the past few months, I’ve been far more relaxed about it. I always think: “Oh I’ve got my phone,” or “I’ve got somewhere else to write it down;” but then when I write down my idea there, I always forget about it!
My writing journal might be a mess on both the outside and the inside, but it’s a secure place for me to write down what I’m thinking. If I’m sitting in a coffee shop, I can bring it out and start writing character sketches. I can carry it around, show it to other people if I want them to check out my ideas. I can draw in it, which is an added bonus! And once I’ve filled it up, I’ll be able to look back through and think about how far I’ve come since I first cracked the spine.
A writing journal isn’t just a place to record your ideas; it’s a place to advance your abilities, a place where you can think without being judged. There’s something very secure in the old-fashioned pen and paper technique, and even if you get frustrated it’s something you can throw at the wall (and then, of course, retrieve screaming, “I love you, really!”).
So, my writing friends, why not take the plunge with me? Commit yourself to a writing journal and let your ideas spark in throngs.
Writing Journal Tips
Are you an artistic person? Perhaps a blank notebook would be ideal for you! You can write whichever way you want (try plotting your story in a square, turning the page as you go!), and you can draw pictures as well.
Are you an organized person? Perhaps a notebook that you can add separators to, or a smaller planner with binder clips, where you can add in pages or take them out as you go along would be great for you! Likewise, if that’s too much, why not just a lined notebook? You could even make your own contents page and number the pages so you can flick to exactly where you want to go.
Are you the forgetful type, or always on the move? Maybe you could have a journal at home and keep a moving journal–like the notes app on your phone or a reporter’s notebook so you can transfer the notes when you’re back together with your original journal. You won’t forget any ideas, and you can still do all that you do!
Remember you can always change your journal around if it isn’t working for you at the start of your new writing adventure. Just try to pick a journal that you’ll find both useful and you’ll want to write in (there’s no point in picking a beautiful journal if you’re too scared to put pen to page!). Your journal is for you, so make it something you love, and I’m sure it’ll love you back.