Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Jane Austen blank writing journal, at Amazon


I like to constantly do projects so that my life does not only focus around work and housekeeping, and not just around fun things like friends and family. I like to do some things just for myself, too. In summer it's difficult to drag myself in from the outdoors, so I do most of my projects during cold dark winter nights.

Enjoy writing? One possible project you might enjoy this winter is journaling.

Journaling can take many forms - diaries, letters, writing exercises, fan fiction, recording dreams, and travelogues.

It can serve many purposes, as well - spiritual discovery, memoir development, writing improvement, grief recovery, healing, catharsis, life planning, record of cooking experiments, creative stimulation, or confession.

Your journal can be in an old notebook, a beautiful hardbound leather blank book, a blank journal you've creatively decorated, or it can even be on Livejournal or Blogger.

Or just write using your word processor or the old fashioned way: a paper college ruled notebook.

I am very bad at remembering to journal every day. I tried techniques like keeping a hardbound journal next to the bed or in my purse. Neither worked, so now I've given myself permission to write only when I feel like it. I've found if I have a fun project to write about, I'm extremely more likely to actually write in one of my journals than if I just sit around waiting for inspiration.

If you don't want to record the banalities of your daily life, diary-style, try something more creative. For example:

  • Write a fake diary pretending to be a celebrity, then write about your fictional experiences on the set of a nonexistent movie.

  • Write an "Edward and Bella" Twilight fan fiction story, starring your teenage niece, and send it to her. She'll be embarrassed, maybe; but she also might get a kick out of it.

  • Develop a travelogue to somewhere you've never been (Use the Web for research to make it more accurate). Write a journal from the viewpoint of a time traveler, sharing your wild experiences as you visit different eras. You could write a journal as though you're an employee at a fancy hotel in Paris (even though you really aren't) making up stories about all the weird rich people that stay there overnight.

  • Write a pretend letter from one fictional character to another. Or from one historical figure to another. It's fun to mix and match people who couldn't actually have known each other: Have Neil Armstrong write to H.G. Wells, for example.

  • Write a diary from the perspective of Snow White's stepmother, or Cinderella's stepsister, if you like fairy tales.

The idea isn't to lie to or defraud your readers (if you choose to share your journal). Rather, it's to have a little fun and be creative. I never understand why people get so riled up over fake celebrity weblogs - they're obviously works of fiction and fan fiction. If you're writing a diary pretending to be Paris Hilton, you're not trying to trick anyone, you're essentially writing a series of fictional short stories in the first person perspective.

If you enjoy writing, make time for yourself to write in your journal as often as you feel like it. Treat that time as sacred, and make it known to family members how important it is to you to have that fifteen to twenty minutes to yourself uninterrupted. You might have to actually remove yourself from the house once a week to a coffee shop to get your writing time in, if you can arrange your absence.

Related Links:

15 Places to Find Writing Prompts Online (Nouveau Writer)

Scribetime's Journal Writing Prompts

Women's Memoirs.com

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