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The Working Girl’s Guide to Journaling

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by Heather Harris Brady

One can’t knock the idea of journaling, as such. However, if you’re like me, scraping tiny tidbits of time out of a day to write journaling seems to be asking a bit much. Once you’ve got the kids on the bus, you’ve put in a full day at work and cleaned after the dinner that you cooked, I mean really. Get serious.

Then I read a blog post somewhere, and I’m sorry I forgot to write down the place, about a writer who does long mystery series. She keeps a short daily journal of notes to stay on track. Here’s how:

1) Each morning she starts with the date, perhaps a short bit on her mood.

2) Add any ideas that cropped up overnight.

3) Play with a problem scene or the one you’re on if you feel you need it.  Explore those bizarre veins of thought that might not be worthy of going into the text right now.

I do via a document in Dropbox and I add to it every morning. It doesn’t take very long and it has helped me immensely. Before, I would be constructing amazing snippets of dialogue in my head while I brushed my teeth or drove to work, but by the time I could write – ten or so hours later – they were gone.

But no more! I take a few minutes and get them down. Better yet, the document is always waiting for me wherever I am, so if I have ideas at lunchtime I can add on. Maybe someday I’ll have time to journal the way a writer is supposed to do it, with some intense character navel-gazing, but for now this has made my writing life a lot better and I hope it helps you as well.

Photo source: Wikicommons