1. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Do you keep a [insert term of choice]?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Crazy Ivan, Oct 21, 2008.

    Journals, diaries, and (for you modern hipsters) blogs- whatever you want to call them, many writers have advised them as a helpful way of collecting thoughts, practicing writing, and finding your own voice and tone. I was just wondering if anyone here actually adhered to this advice, or strongly agreed, or disagreed, or probably agreed but never got the time to actually keep a daily journal. I know that many people keep blogs here on this forum (I tried it, but it never worked for me)- if you do that, how often do you do it, what do you think of it, and do you journal outside of that?

    I myself recently went on a vacation where I expected to get cracking on the new novel that I'd been planning, but instead I wound up writing a daily diary of the things I did (which were pretty cool, I have to admit). I felt, though, that I had somehow gotten more good practice with my writing then I would have if I had just kept working on my little novel thing. I've never done this before- I never thought I had time- but I'd like to see how long it lasts (probably three days).

    So. I kind of think it's a pretty fascinating subject when talking about writing development, and there's obviously a lot of ways to take this conversation.

    Anyone?
     
  2. Scarlett_156
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    Scarlett_156 Active Member

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    I do keep a journal: It's called "the internet". I hope this was helpful. yours in Chaos, Scarlett
     
  3. Vertz
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    Vertz Member

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    I've kept a journal on and off since around 2004. Writing in it has become much more important to me lately -- I used to skip months, but now rarely skip more than a few days. It's a good way to get out stress and think through the day gone by -- and find some learning in that experience. It's a little weird, but I've been thinking lately about who I'm writing it for. Sometimes, it feels like I'm addressing someone else when I write in my journal. I don't know -- maybe I'm just crazy.

    In terms of writing and finding a voice, it helps me get ideas down at first. I'm starting to keep separate journals, too: one for life, and one for writing projects. Granted, I'm working on one project at the moment, so I have exactly one writing journal, but still. There is some overlap in the life journal, since I tend to write ideas down as they come to me. I can always transfer over later.
     
  4. Vertz
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    Vertz Member

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    I've kept a journal on and off since around 2004. Writing in it has become much more important to me lately -- I used to skip months, but now rarely skip more than a few days. It's a good way to get out stress and think through the day gone by -- and find some learning in that experience. It's a little weird, but I've been thinking lately about who I'm writing it for. Sometimes, it feels like I'm addressing someone else when I write in my journal. I don't know -- maybe I'm just crazy.

    In terms of writing and finding a voice, it helps me get ideas down at first. I'm starting to keep separate journals, too: one for life, and one for writing projects. Granted, I'm working on one project at the moment, so I have exactly one writing journal, but still. There is some overlap in the life journal, since I tend to write ideas down as they come to me. I can always transfer over later.
     
  5. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have in the past, and I should be doing it now, but I've just never been able to stick to it very well.
     
  6. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    I'm a compulsive blogger and diarist. Entries up for public view, I try to polish as much as I can. While I'm often grateful for keeping a manual record of ideas, though, I think the only thing that regular journaling has improved by way of executing those ideas is my typing speed and penmanship. :p

    Writing in white heat, I devolve to adjectives and passive voice, fragments and run-ons, all sorts of bad habits. I've been journaling compulsively for more than a decade and still can't manage to inculcate the Rules --which I've learned by listening to English teachers and reading about writing, not enlightenment coming spontaneously from the practice of journal-writing. So, I don't think it helps with finding voice.

    I strongly disagree that it gets people to "think deeper" too, but, I feel like I need to get things written out in order to think at all sometimes. I'd be listening to people and tracing letters with my finger on the table or my arm, just to understand them (and save paper.)
     
  7. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I've kept journals now and then, but never in connection with my writing. To me, fiction writing and personal journaling are as different as writing novels and writing poetry, and the two don't really connect. (Except in terms of me sometimes journaling ABOUT my writing.) I used to journal often but not so much nowadays (certainly not daily--the entries would boil down to, "Feel lousy, didn't do anything interesting today"), seeing as I haven't much time nor much to say that isn't terribly depressing. Anyway, writing a journal entry has no bearing on helping me improve my fiction writing since the two are completely different issues. The way I write a journal entry is not the way I write fiction, and vice-versa. And I already understand grammar and spelling and how to string a sentence or a story together.

    Granted, I was writing fiction long before I ever bothered writing anything resembling a personal journal, so that might be the explanation. I never kept a real diary growing up. I came to journaling extensively rather late in life, only AFTER I've become used to writing fiction, so by now, I don't need much help in figuring out how to do it aside from just writing the story.

    I'd like to journal more often, including offline privately, but like I said, I don't have much to say without perpetually mulling over how depressed and anxious I always am, and that makes for lousy journaling.
     
  8. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    I'd second the "journals aren't the same as fiction" opinion.

    I've tried several times to keep a journal. I'd like to be the sort of person who has long, thoughtful pieces about life and that sort of thing. The problem is, when I try to keep a daily record, I run out of things to say. *I* know what I'm thinking, after all, and it's hard for me to step far enough back to write it down in a way that would be coherent to someone else. I have a hard time writing something that no one else will read or understand; it seems fundamentally pointless to me.

    It probably doesn't help that my sense of time is absolutely abysmal; one day or another, it doesn't make much difference. I just remember impressions, images, in no particular order. It makes it hard to keep a chronological journal. I get bored, and then I start forgetting, and then I drop it entirely.
     
  9. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    A few years ago I tried keeping a diary/journal, but I could never commit the time to it and do it consistently.

    I do, however, blog semi-regularly, though the blogs are topical blogs and not related to my own personal life. I do think it has helped my writing ability in general, though it has primarily aided my non-fiction writing style rather than much that relates to fiction.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I've tried with little success. Life tends to get in the way of keeping anything on a regular basis. The blogs I've posted here are about the most successful representation of any kind of diary or journal I've very kept. Like Daniel, my blogs tend to be topical and less about my own life.
     
  11. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes. I have one important daily log.

    I love BBQ! I grill lots of stuff every weekend and store it in zip lock bags for consumption later in the week. There's a log attached to my refrigerator which I update every time I remove some of the goodies -- that way I always know what's left. That's about the only "journaling" I do. LOL
     
  12. Only Sissies Write
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    Only Sissies Write Member

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    I should try out the idea of writing in a journal every day. It would probably help me be able to express what I want to say more fluidly, so that's a plus. I would keep it to myself, though. I wouldn't put it online and advertise it. That's just me, though.
     
  13. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I have a notebook that I scribble ideas and small pieces of writing in when I can't get to my computer to actually type it out. Its a great way to make sure you remember all of your ideas. I think alot when I laying down and going to sleep, so its a good way to make sure I don't forget them when I go to sleep.
     
  14. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I keep a journal filled with very bad poetry and all the negative emotional crap that gets in the way of serious writing.

    My spousal unit is charged with the task of burning the journals without opening them after my death. No one needs to see that junk.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no... and never have... though i do sometimes jot down stuff i might want to use later... in my old write-for-money life, i kept such stuff in file folders... but i can't say i ever used much of it, since i next to never had to go looking for ideas...
     
  16. Only Sissies Write
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    Only Sissies Write Member

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    I started writing in a notebook a few weeks ago. I keep forgetting about it: instead of every day, I have two entries in, but I think it's a good idea and recommend it. What I do is try to write a page about a certain topic. I suppose I'll also use it to write down the beginnings of first drafts or ideas for something. Just writing about stuff brings out many thoughts and ideas that aren't obvious when you're just thinking about a topic.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no... not on paper, internt, or hard drive... only in my biological data bank...
     
  18. traffic101
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    traffic101 Member

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    I so keep blogs. In fact I have two going right now. They are my hobby when I can't escape to my writing world, I am still practicing the craft.

    I also kept a diary when I was young, so I've always loved creative outlets.
     
  19. Honeybun
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    Honeybun Active Member

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    I've had a journal for like ten years now, and it's been great help, though not where my fiction writing is concerned. Going through my notebooks, of which i have three- nearly starting a fourth, I noticed an outstanding change and improvement in my style of writing, in terms of grammar, paragraphing, punctuation and things of the sort.
    It made me more confident in writing throughout the years.

    Having a journal is a great source you can go back to so I pretty advise those who are interested in writing to start one. It doesn't neccessarily have to be a matter of writing on a daily basis, just leave to whenever you feel like it, and most importantly, whenever something major happens to you ;). You'll notice the difference, trust me.

    Keep it up ;)
     
  20. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I can't live without my journal. My mom gave me one for Christmas when I was in fourth grade. I never really used it. I would write in it maybe once a month up until 8th grade. Then it seemed like I was writing every day. I could never go four days without writing at least once. There was a ton of drama between my friends and my journal was my therapy, I used it to vent onto when I needed it. People say that they can't keep one up. I couldn't until writing was my life and I was dependent on it. One of my favorite parts about it is that it is the one place where my writing is literally my brain on paper. It's my big book of thoughts for the most part.

    I guess you could say that I have one for writing too, but it's not a journal. It's just a little notebook that I write down everything that comes to mind, or anything that I hear/read and really like...anything that inspires me. Anything that I probably shouldn't forget. I really like it too. Everything is there, it's my writing brain on paper.
     

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