Writer’s Corner: Story Journaling

Admittedly, I have some weird fetishes.

One of them happens to be a deep-seated love of the office section of most retail stores. You know the aisle — it’s full of pens, pencils, notebooks, markers, etc., and so forth. When I happen upon one of these aisles I turn goofy stupid and must try to touch and buy all the things. I give a special squee when they have those bound blank books for journaling. Those are PERFECT for keeping story journals.

WTF is a story journal and why should I keep one?

How many times have you been out and about, had a fantastic idea, but when you finally got somewhere to record the idea it just kinda…poofs. Can’t remember a damn thing. It was such a good idea, too. I find the easiest thing to do to ease the burden of this horrible thing that happens to people all the time is carrying around one of those little books and a writing utensil so I can avoid it at all costs. A phone/tablet/smartwatch might run out of power. A pen and a piece of paper hardly ever need a reboot.

Well, what do I put in a story journal then?

We’ve already established what goes in a story journal…your ideas. While I can’t define what you should keep in your story journals, as everyone is unique, I can give a few suggestions.

  • Dialogue 
    • I sometimes have conversations with the characters in my head as I drive places. Do you think that means I need to see a doctor? HA! Trick’s on you because I’m already seeing a doctor and, also, there’s nothing wrong with talking to the voices in your head when you’re a writer. It’s one of the key fringe benefits of a being a writer. I like waiting rooms now because that’s where I write down dialogue that I’ve created. It gives the mind something to do and is beneficial to the story as well.
  • Setting
    • How many times have you been somewhere and thought it would be an awesome setting for a scene in your story? Attempting to write down a description of the setting will invariably make you a better writer. Describe the smells, the feel of the surface of something, the noises. It’s really best if you have some time and can sit down in the area. I like restaurants, malls, and bars for this purpose.
  • Plot
    • Your story’s plot is essential. Maybe you just came up with what could be an essential piece of the story down the road. It’d be super convenient to have something to write that down on so you don’t forget the effin’ thing.
  • Character Building
    • I also like to use my journals to record character history as I come up with things. I tell snippets of their past, over time, as I piece together who the main characters must be to move the story forward so I can focus on them.

I find journaling to also be an effective cure for writer’s block.

Everyone gets stuck from time to time, as we’ve discussed before. I’ve found that this particular writing technique is useful to break the block. In addition, it keeps you writing. You may not think you’re writing anything useful sometimes. Whatever you put in there is up to you. You’d be truly amazed at what you can come up with and use if you just write all those crazy ideas down.

BONUS: When people find these story journals after you’re dead, it’ll weird them out.

Summing it all up…

I think some of you may find that story journaling can be a very effective tool for your daily writing. Again, probably won’t work for everyone. Just sayin’. You should still give it a shot because you never know what may work.

See ya next week. Fly safe! o7


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