Keeping a Journal

“The writer’s life is so oddly splintered/isolated and internal most of the time, with moments of intense self-exposure. I think of the journal as a witness, a repository, and a playground. It is where I begin things or bring thoughts to clarity.” – Dorothy Allison

Today’s topic for my 365 DoWD project was on keeping a journal, which is pretty crazy because just last week I revisited my own journal. I have kept one of some sort ever since I could write. It has always been the best form of therapy for me, and has always been my most trusted friend. Putting the feelings to paper (it has to be handwritten for me to feel the same catharsis) would set them free, almost as if I had just let them blow away in the wind. There is an immediate release, and I feel like I can face the world for another day.

Well, after my friend (brother) Noni died in December 2011, I stopped journaling simply because it was too painful to confront all of those emotions head-on. My beautiful, leather-bound journal collected dust until last week when I decided it was time to revisit.

I came to the realization that a great deal of the emotional overflow I’ve felt for the last few weeks has been because I wasn’t journaling anymore. Without that release, I had become emotionally constipated, if you will. All of the negativity, pain, and even joy that I would have normally given to the pages had nowhere to go, so it all backed up and created an overflow.

The morning I returned to journaling, I had spent the entire night tossing, turning, and thinking over so many painful things. I was beginning to become suicidal (yay, bipolar), so I remembered my old friend. I reopened my journal, wrote until my hand couldn’t take it anymore, and sure enough, I felt the familiar release and was cleansed. I’m still struggling, but every time I start to feel overwhelmed I’ve returned to the pages, and I’ve been able to continue on.

I guess the point of this post is that whether or not you identify as a writer, keeping a journal is a wonderful thing. Whether you write every hour, every day, or once a week. I think it’s not only a way to be able to reflect on your own life, but it gives perspective and sets you free. 🙂

Keeping a Journal

“The writer’s life is so oddly splintered/isolated and internal most of the time, with moments of intense self-exposure. I think of the journal as a witness, a repository, and a playground. It is where I begin things or bring thoughts to clarity.” – Dorothy Allison

Today’s topic for my 365 DoWD project was on keeping a journal, which is pretty crazy because just last week I revisited my own journal. I have kept one of some sort ever since I could write. It has always been the best form of therapy for me, and has always been my most trusted friend. Putting the feelings to paper (it has to be handwritten for me to feel the same catharsis) would set them free, almost as if I had just let them blow away in the wind. There is an immediate release, and I feel like I can face the world for another day.

Well, after my friend (brother) Noni died in December 2011, I stopped journaling simply because it was too painful to confront all of those emotions head-on. My beautiful, leather-bound journal collected dust until last week when I decided it was time to revisit.

I came to the realization that a great deal of the emotional overflow I’ve felt for the last few weeks has been because I wasn’t journaling anymore. Without that release, I had become emotionally constipated, if you will. All of the negativity, pain, and even joy that I would have normally given to the pages had nowhere to go, so it all backed up and created an overflow.

The morning I returned to journaling, I had spent the entire night tossing, turning, and thinking over so many painful things. I was beginning to become suicidal (yay, bipolar), so I remembered my old friend. I reopened my journal, wrote until my hand couldn’t take it anymore, and sure enough, I felt the familiar release and was cleansed. I’m still struggling, but every time I start to feel overwhelmed I’ve returned to the pages, and I’ve been able to continue on.

I guess the point of this post is that whether or not you identify as a writer, keeping a journal is a wonderful thing. Whether you write every hour, every day, or once a week. I think it’s not only a way to be able to reflect on your own life, but it gives perspective and sets you free. 🙂

In an effort to both practice my art and take a break from the writing war going on inside my head, I decided to work on my pencil drawing. It is not my strong suit at all, but if I wanna progress as an artist (especially a self-taught one), I figure I’d better get better.

And isn’t drawing fruit what you do when you’re learning art?! 😉

In an effort to both practice my art and take a break from the writing war going on inside my head, I decided to work on my pencil drawing. It is not my strong suit at all, but if I wanna progress as an artist (especially a self-taught one), I figure I’d better get better.

And isn’t drawing fruit what you do when you’re learning art?! 😉

Jinxed.

I’m afraid I may have jinxed myself with my last (writing) post. I’ve had a hell of a time writing the last four nights. Tonight, I think it’s mostly because I have pushed myself too hard to overcome whatever has me stuck, so my brain is just completely exhausted. I feel exhausted in my bones.

I’m not sure why I’m stuck. I have several ideas for stories (both for the POVs I’ve been working on and others), but I just can’t seem to get them to go anywhere. I am not typically an outliner, but I’ve been desperate, so I’ve sat down and outlined where I want each story to go. Aaaand, I can’t get beyond that point. 😦

This quote has also been nagging at the back of my mind:

“Writer’s block is my unconscious mind telling me that something I’ve just written is either unbelievable or unimportant to me, and I solve it by going back and reinventing some part of what I’ve already written so that when I write it again, it is believable and interesting to me. Then I can go on. Writer’s block is never solved by forcing oneself to “write through it,” because you haven’t solved the problem that caused your unconscious mind to rebel against the story, so it still won’t work – for you or for the reader.” – Orson Scott Card

Maybe there is something to that. Maybe there is something in my current WIP that isn’t sitting well with me, subconsciously, and I just haven’t figured it out yet. Tomorrow shall be dedicated to trying to figure out what that is, even if I have to go through each story, word for word, fifty times.

Maybe sleeping on my outlines will help clear the problem up. Maybe I need to give myself a couple of days to just forget about the work all together – kinda like when you can’t remember the name of something and as soon as you stop thinking about it you remember. Goodness knows I haven’t stopped thinking about the problem yet.

Please, tell me, what is your remedy for this problem in your own writing/artistic process?

Jinxed.

I’m afraid I may have jinxed myself with my last (writing) post. I’ve had a hell of a time writing the last four nights. Tonight, I think it’s mostly because I have pushed myself too hard to overcome whatever has me stuck, so my brain is just completely exhausted. I feel exhausted in my bones.

I’m not sure why I’m stuck. I have several ideas for stories (both for the POVs I’ve been working on and others), but I just can’t seem to get them to go anywhere. I am not typically an outliner, but I’ve been desperate, so I’ve sat down and outlined where I want each story to go. Aaaand, I can’t get beyond that point. 😦

This quote has also been nagging at the back of my mind:

“Writer’s block is my unconscious mind telling me that something I’ve just written is either unbelievable or unimportant to me, and I solve it by going back and reinventing some part of what I’ve already written so that when I write it again, it is believable and interesting to me. Then I can go on. Writer’s block is never solved by forcing oneself to “write through it,” because you haven’t solved the problem that caused your unconscious mind to rebel against the story, so it still won’t work – for you or for the reader.” – Orson Scott Card

Maybe there is something to that. Maybe there is something in my current WIP that isn’t sitting well with me, subconsciously, and I just haven’t figured it out yet. Tomorrow shall be dedicated to trying to figure out what that is, even if I have to go through each story, word for word, fifty times.

Maybe sleeping on my outlines will help clear the problem up. Maybe I need to give myself a couple of days to just forget about the work all together – kinda like when you can’t remember the name of something and as soon as you stop thinking about it you remember. Goodness knows I haven’t stopped thinking about the problem yet.

Please, tell me, what is your remedy for this problem in your own writing/artistic process?

If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.

Hilary Mantel

If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.

Hilary Mantel