One of the most common pieces of writing advice I've read, is this:
Keep a Journal.
For most writers, it's a great way to expel their thoughts and ideas onto paper.
That's why I do it... mostly. Other times, I just question my mental health over and over again, and whine about why my novels aren't writing all by themselves.
If you'd also care to question my mental well-being, here's some entries from 2010/2011 that I felt acceptable to share with you all.
*WARNING: POTTY MOUTH AHEAD.* *Sorry Mum.*
20th August, 2010: I believe writing a truly good book takes craft and skill, and I'm going to learn it if it kills me (although I'm sure it wont).
27th July, 2011: I just wrote the penultimate entry into my wee purple diary, and totally squashed up the last page and rushed the ending, to save enough space for when I go back to it, in whatever time it takes to make a success of myself. I feel quite sad. It's like finding out your best friend is moving to Australia the next day. We didn't get a proper goodbye.
31st July 2011: Please note it is 6:19 on a Sunday morning and I am awake, writing this entry. Please let this be an encouraging sign that I'm ready to write like a motherfucker.
20th August, 2011: (On Nancy Mitford's “The Pursuit of Love”) I thought Uncle Matthew was a big arsehole: violent, aggressive and vile. But the teeniest glimpse of him softening (the small edge of the wedge) made me instantly adore him. But that says more about me than the book. Give me an inch and I will call you master, unfortunately.
15th September, 2011: Colin explained Scottish Football to me this morning, and I despair. It's like the more I learn about something, be it the government, the country's history, football associations and politics, the more I wish I didn't know. Does the privilege of knowledge come at a cost of personal contentment? I envy the blissfully ignorant.
And lastly, on what I learned from NaNoWriMo, written on the day I completed it:
I can't sit and do 1667 words a day. I work better when I do clumps of 5-6k words every 2,3 or even 4 days.
I can try and plot and outline and create spreadsheets all I want, but at the end of the day, I'll probably not use it. From now on, I'll just be writing the stories, then focusing on the craft later.
Sometimes, I write until I get to a certain restless point. It comes to me through no choice of my own and trying to battle through it is about as effective as a chocolate teapot. My little mind is stubborn. If I try to force myself to think about something, it will rebel. So, I go for a bath. I watch a cookery program. I do the dishes. I always end up drifting off into the land of my novel, thinking about my characters and writing the story in my head. THEN I'll go back to writing it.
I've learned that I have to treat my writing like a good marinade or stew. Sometimes, it's better to be left to develop. Perhaps for a few hours, even better overnight. Too long, though, and it'll go off.
I've learned that I'm at my happiest when writing, or thinking about writing, or watching my characters coming to life. Even the nasty, vindictive ones. I love them too.
I've also come to suspect that I may be quite mentally ill. I mean, who can come up with some of the sinister shite I have in my novel? Troubled soul? Or too many Virginia Andrews books in my lifetime? I hasten to prefer the latter.
Honestly, I have about three years worth of this (and counting). Anyone want to buy it as a book? No? OK then...
Do you write a journal? Do you think it helps you with your writing?
Today's J music video, is Jefferson Airplane, with Embryonic Journey. It reminds me of my twinny :)