The Artist’s Way

4 Reasons Why I Journal

WritingI never considered writing a daily journal until a few years ago. At the time I wanted to see how much I could write per day on a consistent basis. After a month I was surprised by how many words I could churn out. It gave me a baseline for how much I could expect to write daily, weekly and monthly. I even realized I could write most of a rough draft in thirty days – here I come NanoWriMo.

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But as I used a daily journal I discovered a few more reasons to continue. I’ve since read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and found that she emphasizes using “Daily Pages” (essentially a journal) to write three pages in the morning. I don’t always write that much since I’d rather spend as much time as possible on projects but the notion and reasons discussed in the book are great for gaining creative traction.

1. I could use it to prime the pump. You want to get started writing but how? Sometimes you need a warm-up and writing about anything can be just the trick to clear the mind. Also, I found that I could set the scene in my mind with a few notes on what I expected to accomplish and how dialogue might flow. I might even return to the journal to further nail down additional scenes depending on what I accomplish.
2. I can track what I need to do during the day. Yesterday I wrote about how I work with goals but I find that putting them in my journal keeps them in my sites throughout the day. I use the Strikethrough button in Word to mark off goals achieved. I can also easily “re-heat” goals that roll over to the next day for whatever reason.
Journal3. I also use a journal to create a loose, fluid schedule of what I’m doing – everything. This way I know how I’m progressing through goals and other activities throughout the day. Now you might wish to use a calendar for this function but I find using the journal is one less thing to update than a calendar. Besides, I find a calendar is better for reminders about events and appointments in advance.
4. A journal can also be used for project development. It’s a great place to explore creative ideas. Once you’ve written these concepts they are easily transferred into other apps or files you use for development such as Scrivener, Evernote, your blog or anything else.

What can you use to journal? I mainly use Word and update it during the day but I only keep a monthly file and transfer developmental ideas to other files and apps. You could use Evernote as a purely developmental journal and tack in links or pictures. You could also use Instagram as a visual journal. While Scrivener would not directly serve this purpose, research containers could be used as a developmental journal as well.

Do you journal? If so, what do you use? I love to receive comments so feel free to leave one. Also, please follow this blog by email using the form on this page. I’m on Twitter @ph_solomon or click the Facebook icon on the sidebar to like my page there.

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - Copy The Black Bag by P H Solomon

 

The Serendipity of Christmas Generosity

Christmas Present Wrapped in Gold and SilverI read an interesting post yesterday by Raymond Philippe entitled, Writing Goals And Objectives. Go Ahead – Dream! This article got me thinking about a mistake my father made several years ago that put me on a different path. Since it’s now the Christmas season I’ll go ahead and share this as I begin to write during this month about where I’ve been this year and where I’m going in 2015.

It may have been 2008 or 2009 but either way it was during the economic upheaval when most of us weren’t willing to spend much if anything. I was in the same situation as many – slim on money and worried about keeping a job. Christmas rolled around and it was rather thin on gifts but a good time with family.

However, my dad brought out gifts that were surprisingly nice given the state of the economy. I received a GPS which was very generous except for one thing – I already had purchased one a few years earlier when times were better and I had gotten a good raise with a change of position. I kept politely quiet and didn’t mention it at the moment but a return was in order.

A few days later, I explained the situation to my father and asked if he had the receipt. He didn’t have one but told me from which store chain he’d bought the GPS and was apologetic about his well-intended mistake. I called the local store and inquired about returns without a receipt and was informed I could get only an in-store credit without one. This was fine except I didn’t know what I’d spend the credit on as a good replacement for such a gift.

I went down to the store, made the return and got the credit without a hitch. I was still at a loss about how to use the money so I took a walk through the store and found laptops on after-Christmas sale. They even had rebates on them for extra cash back. I wanted one but had no immediate reason to purchase one. I went home and thought it through.

Santa Claus Using LaptopI hadn’t been writing much – if at all – for several years but I had an inclination to do so. The more I thought about it, the more a I realized I could use a laptop as a tool to jump-start my writing. I got on my old desktop computer and searched the store chain website for laptops that were still on-sale with a rebate. I found one of the least expensive ones but the credit would only cover almost half of the cost. However, with the rebate the cost would be minimal. I jumped on the deal, bought the laptop and sent in the rebate.

I later called my dad and let him know how things had turned out. I told him what I was going to do with the laptop and he was pleased. From that point, I began to explore writing in this digital age using that laptop. That eventually led to where I am now – my firm commitment this last year to my writing and being on the cusp of self-publishing my first full-length book.

It was an honest misake on my father’s part but that gift led me down a circuitous path toward publication. The laptop has since been retired with a failed screen after almost four years in service but I still have it and it runs with the help of an external monitor. My laptop serves as my desk and I do many tasks with it including a great deal of writing these days.

My father passed away in 2012. He knew that I was writing and even had a bit of publication success with a short story but I’m not quite sure he understood how much his mistake affected me. It was serendipity for my writing and I’m very grateful for the generosity. I think my dad was always frustrated that he couldn’t do more for those he loved but I think he did more than he understood.

In the book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron discusses launching out creatively. Her feeling is that when we reach out creatively we begin to encounter many happy accidents of serendipity that carry us along the our personal artistic path. I’ve found this notion to be true more than once and I’m sure I will again. It’s something I should consider more often as I work creatively.

This year I’ve dared to dream big with the beginning of my author platform and pushing to publish. Next year I will continue to dream even more by actually completing that project and – maybe – one or two others. During this week and the coming weeks, I’m going to share more about where I’ve come from and where I’m going as encouragement for other writers and artists who are either beginning their creative journey or those who may find themselves floundering with hesitation, doubt or some other creative block. It’s nothing special – just how I forged ahead with my plans through some ups and downs but I hope it helps someone along their own creative journey by sharing my own plans and ideas.

The Bow of DestinyWhat gave you a jump-start with your creative endeavors? What’s holding you back? What ideas for moving along in your journey can you share with others? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.