Since she mentions that she kept a journal for her high school years and used it when she was writing Perilous, I thought I would ask her to tell us about journaling.
I know I still have a diary from my high school days that has a few entries of major drivel on the mostly blank pages. I bet many of us do.
On Journal Writing
When I was 13, someone challenged me to keep a journal every day for a month. At that point in time, I kept a journal sporadically, as I imagine most kids do. But I took that challenge and ran with it.
It happens to be that I enjoy writing, and my journal writing began to be a way to tell my story. Every day became another scene, another chapter in my story. The month came and went, and I kept writing. I wrote about my friends, my crushes, my family, my schoolwork. I was dramatic, emotional, immature, and descriptive. It was fun! My friends always wanted to know what I wrote about them in my journal. I figured this was my legacy.
Someone at one point told me that a journal should be a factual, historical account of current events. I should include the price of gasoline and chronicle my schedule. I rejected that idea. That’s not to say that some people won’t write about those things, but I felt nobody should be told what they have to write about. For me, it was my life. I bared everything, leaving my naked soul on display for anyone who wanted to read it. And I wrote to be read. I shared my journals with my friends, boyfriends, roommates when I went to college.
I wrote in my journal every day for over ten years. I have twenty-seven full journals on a bookshelf. I’ll admit that after I got married and started having babies, it became much harder. Now I try to get it in a few times a week. But here are some things I’ve found that help me:
1) Make it a habit. Put the journal by your bed, your toothbrush, your couch, somewhere where you will see it. Set your timer. Do it every day at the same time.
2) Keep it simple. These days I find myself spending more time writing fiction than writing about my life. So I try to keep it under five minutes. Record the important events, something special, and I’m done.
3) Make it yours. At the end of every day, I write something funny that happened to me that day. It helps me to find the good, even on the bad days.
The benefits to keeping a journal? If you write down your day, you remember it better. Not only because you take a moment to go over each event, but because you can read it later. Journals make great stories to friends and eventually, your children. And life is full of inspiration for fiction. I often draw upon exact events and people when I write.
Try it for two weeks. Go ahead. You’ll probably be surprised how much you like it.
Thanks, Tamara, for sharing with us.
Check my review of Perilous on Jan. 6 to see what I thought.
I also have a copy of Perilous that I would like to give away to someone in the US or Canada. If you are interested in reading this book, please fill out the form.
The contest will end at midnight January 15 and the book will be sent out on Jan. 17 (unless that happens to be a US Postal holiday - which is might. Is that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?) or as soon as possible thereafter. The winner will be chosen using Random.org