Journals & Intuitions…

“To journal, or not to journal” is an age old writer’s debate, just like another one that rages today about “Write at/with a computer, or draft by hand first”…

Personally, I’ve always been conflicted by journals… I have always liked the idea of tracking thoughts and projects, but growing up there was always the bombardment of the stereotypical “Dear Diary” – which was so not me. Then there was “Doogie Howser, MD” which started to prod other ways of thinking about journaling… and interestingly enough those were often some of my favorite bits of the show. But consistency is the key to writing, and to keeping a journal… and that’s been my biggest issue.

Growing up, journals were usually treated as homework – given a prompt to write about (usually related to a story or issue being discussed in class), which became another reason to have issues with the form. There was no real explanation (or education) on expanding the creative potential. It was treated as, “Write at least 1/2 page on this.” All task, no real creative endeavors.

After getting to college, and getting into some writing classes, I would get more insight on journaling – suggestions how to, and reasons why we should journal. Since then, it’s been a casual affair – I would solidly make notes, then get sidetracked with other projects, or start other journals for other projects. I still love the idea of journals, and am finally grasping at the “write every day”… which is part of the inspirations.

The best part of a journal, for “creative writing”, is the well-spring of ideas – that we have already had! If it was something that moved us enough to write it down, it may prove to be useful at a later time. I had an instructor that said that he wrote various street signs and bumper stickers in his journal, and he later used them in a story. Neil Peart did the same thing with church signs when he was travelling and preparing Roadshow. Great stuff to ponder, that could have been even greater much, much earlier in life if it had been extended to us as kids.

Now here is where it all starts coming together… One of my projects that I (finally) started, was journalling here at work. Really interesting names, bastardized pronunciations, or interesting calls – just making basic notes on things that make me giggle (or shake my head and sigh) at the time of the call. They may never be used, or they could be useful items that add extra elements at some time down the road…

And the neat bow on top: If I’m travelling, or just in daily life, tend to draft (journal info) by hand. I’ll draft ideas, and sketch them out in a combination of (my) shorthand, and longhand, to type them up later when I start to expand and really work on things. When I’m at work (like now), I tend to type… or if I specifically set out to spend time working on a project (another vice of mine – avoidance/procrastination), I’ll probably type.

But one of the coolest things that I liked about Doogie’s journal, was that it was on the computer. Personally, I despise the idea of trying to have a running Word document for a journal… which may be why I like the blog format so much. It’s a computerized journal, that can be a very dynamic environment, and each new post starts from scratch – on a blank field. Each new entry can stand alone. Which, of course, I write and proof as I go (but rarely go back and edit – which is another value in keeping a journal)…

Now… where did I put my notes…?

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