#Journaling for Peace of Mind and #Writing Success

There are moments in my life when I have so much clutter in my brain that it’s hard to think straight. Then there are other times a recent event reminds me of a fond memory, and I want to capture it. That’s when the mighty paper and pen come in handy.

Journaling has a variety of benefits:

  • Helps clear the mind
  • Serves as a visual reminder of things accomplished/lessons learned
  • Strengthens the brain
  • Keepsake for family members after we’re long gone

In Ruth Folit’s article Why Good Writers Keep Journals, journaling helps writers find their voice.  It opens a world through introspection and insight to people and things around them.  This peek into life can be beneficial for creating realistic characters and storylines.

The piece below from Writer’s Relief expounds on the above concepts in more detail, and provides a guide for effective journaling.

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Many of us keep journals to reduce stress or to record life’s events for posterity, and writers especially should make use of this creative outlet. Journaling can be a great tool for writers—the journal becomes a repository for fresh ideas and a safe place to write. Whether it’s a spiral notebook or a leather-bound book with a beautiful cover, a writer’s journal should be a source of inspiration.

There is an endless variety of journals to choose from. Select something that inspires you, that makes you eager to crack your journal open and turn to a fresh page. A beautiful diary with fun pockets or an elegant cover will make writing a pleasure. Invest in a fun or really fancy pen to use just for your journaling. Then, you are always ready to write!

Keep your journal handy for jotting down those whimsical ideas or brilliant first sentences that pop into your head at the oddest moments. If your journal is large or bulky, keep a spiral-bound pocket-sized notebook around. You can then transfer your ideas to the larger journal.

Write regularly and on a schedule. Get into the habit of writing each day, and you’ll be perfecting your craft at the same time.

A journal is meant for no one’s eyes but your own, so let those ideas flow unfettered. A little stream of consciousness is good for the soul, and no one will be looking over your shoulder, judging you on punctuation issues or your choice of simile. Sometimes when we let ourselves go and just write, we gain priceless personal insights—and these insights can help us to be better writers.

Later on, you can use your journal entries to write a memoir of your life before you became a famous writer!

If the ideas aren’t flowing, try some writing prompts and power your way through writer’s block. Sometimes the very act of writing will clear the path for new ideas and recharge your sagging muse. A Poet’s Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux includes writing prompts applicable to either prose or poetry at the end of many chapters.

Some writers add newspaper clippings, sketches, or magazine articles to their journals—anything that inspires them. Others keep pictures or make lists. That’s the beauty of a journal—there are no rules, and this freedom is the catalyst that can unleash your creativity.

We can also go paper-free and buy journaling software, keeping a record of our thoughts and ideas on our personal computers. These programs have the standard word-processing capabilities, and most allow the user to add graphics, sound bites, and charts. If you’re thinking of buying, try the 30-day free trial period available with most of the software. If a trial period is not available, make the most of user-review sites like www.epinions.com. A few to check out:

Alpha Journal (www.alpharealms.com/journal/index.htm)

Digital Diary (www.ajebe.com)

The Journal (www.davidrm.com)

This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.</span?

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6 Tips for Making a Workspace Conducive to Writing From the Pen of Jade Anderson

I didn’t realize how important it was to delegate a space or the use of natural light for writing until a few years ago. Both make a very important difference in how well the creativity flows.

For example, there’s a park I like around the corner from my house. Being outdoors and in the space that’s comfortable gave me such inspiration. It’s where I wrote Comfortable in My Own Skin which is still one of my top reviewed posts.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Jade Anderson | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookThis is a guest post by Jade Anderson is an experienced In-house Editor at Upskilled. With a background in online marketing, Jade runs some successful websites of her own. Her passion for the education industry and content is displayed through the quality of work she offers.

6 Tips for Making a Workspace Conducive to Writing

Workspace | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book Image: Pixabay

No matter what type of content you’re writing, whether it’s fiction, investigative journalism, feature pieces or academic articles, the environment that you write in has a big impact on how well you put that piece together. Writing takes skill, for sure, but where you write can affect how you write because if there are distractions in your workplace, your writing is likely to reflect that. As a writer, your workspace should be inspiring and comfortable in equal measure. It should be somewhere you can focus and reflect. Here are five tips for creating…

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Don Draper’s Guide to Fantastic Writing

When it comes to successful creativity and slogans that might-have-been, look no further than AMC’s Mad Men.  During it’s original run from 2007-2015, I missed out on the thought-provoking, artisty, dry wit, and shenanigans of the fictional advertising staff of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  But I’m lucky!  I’m able to catch the reruns.

It’s interesting to watch Don’s take on an idea, sometimes stumbling upon a great ad campaign along the way.  For example SnoBall.  He took the concept of “a snowball’s chance in hell” and turned it into something consumers would find humorous and memorable.  Now that’s good writing!

How To Find Short #Story #Ideas In Your Own Life

Is your short story idea well running dry? Fear not! New short story ideas might be closer than you think! Your life is full of ideas for fiction—you’ve just got to know where to look. Start with our suggestions.

5 Ways To Find Ideas For Short Stories Based On Your Own Life

1. Order up a slice of life. Many writers come up empty when trying to think of story ideas because they’re focusing on traditional story arcs. The fact is, life rarely offers neat little narrative packages that are gift-wrapped with easy conflict resolutions and clearly rendered characters. Fortunately, every short story doesn’t have to have a neat, traditional ending. You can write a short exploration of a scene, idea, or character—as opposed to a whole story. Slice-of-life vignettes are trending right now with lit mag editors; find out more about how to write good slice-of-life stories.

2. Make a scene. Physical places are rife with inherent conflict and problems that are just waiting to appear. You might discover a good story idea in your own backyard, the local park, or the mall—maybe even at the neighborhood senior housing center or hospital. Trees fall. So does rain. So do people. All of this has consequences for your characters, your setting, and your town. Learn more about scene and craft.

3. What a character! Think of the colorful people you know. Readers (including literary magazine editors and agents) love larger-than-life characters. Uncle Joe, who claims he was abducted by aliens. Aunt Dee, who talks more to her parrot than to her neighbors. Great stories often start with great characters.

4. Be afraid. Be very afraid. What are you afraid of? What’s the worst thing that could happen to you right now? What would stop you from reaching your goals? Your answers will reveal great story ideas, full of realistic conflict and emotional authenticity. Don’t be afraid to exploit your own fears. Learn how to write with fearful bravery!

5. Listen up. With every conversation, people are telling you stories. If you’ve watched the latest reboot of Sherlock (courtesy of the BBC), then you’ve seen how the titular detective can look over a person and deduce intimate secrets of that person’s life based on the smallest physical cues (a dog hair on the cuff of black pants, cracked nails, etc.). As a writer, you can do the same. Study the people you talk to. And remember—what you can’t glean, you can always invent.

One Last Warning: The Paradox Of “But It Really Happened”

Often, when a new writer hears a critique group member complain, “This doesn’t feel like it could really happen,” the author might reply, “But it did!” Here’s the problem with that logic: Whether or not a story feels true is actually more important than if it is true. Even if Uncle Joe really was abducted by aliens or Aunt Dee’s parrot truly can hold sophisticated conversations about classic literature, your story will fail if readers don’t buy into the truth of it. Listen carefully to readers’ reactions. And remember: there’s always more where that idea came from—your real life is replete with inspiration for fiction.
 

This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, an author’s submission 
service that has been helping creative writers make submissions since 1994.  Their work is 
highly recommended in the writing community, and there are TONS of freebies, publishing 
leads, and writers resources on their website. Check it out!

Anne R. Allen’s Blog: 25 Must-Read #Tips on Plotting from Top #Authors and #Editors

I’ve gone through old blog posts and found gems that slipped my mind.  This post from Anne R. Allen is certainly one of them.  Great advice and wonderful insight for every writer to consider.  Enjoy!

Photo: Deposit Photos

Melanie V. Logan

I love Anne R. Allen’s blog.  She provides a wealth of information helpful to writers and bloggers.  If you haven’t checked her out, stop what you’re doing and run right over. 🙂

This week’s tip comes from Anne R. Allen’s Blog: 25 Must-Read Tips on Plotting from Top Authors and Editors. These tips and quotes have been helpful for me while I write my first book.  What may have made sense in my head about moving from one scene to another or situation to another, it may not translate to the reader.

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To #Show Don’t Tell or Not to Show Don’t #Tell, That is the Question

An oldie, but a goody. Which side of the fence are you on?

Melanie V. Logan

In the course of honing my writing skills, I have come across a number of posts and articles on “show don’t tell” like this. Most support the idea, but there are some that don’t. For someone new to writing or trying to improve, this can send a confusing signal – like it did me. But in researching and trying some exercises, I have a better understanding on each and their purpose in a story.

I finally got a chance to dig into my second draft. Going back over a couple of chapters, I could clearly see that I was doing a lot of telling with little showing. What I wrote got

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The Future of #Writing: Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Humans in Deciding the Fate of Manuscript Submissions?

This quote from Georgina Cromarty’s post about writing and artificial intelligence practically blew my mind.

“Some writers will see AI manuscript evaluations as a blessing since it takes the subjective human out the loop.

…And some may see it as a threat.”

Yes, I’ve worked in the IT field for 20+ years.  Yes, I understand what the ones and zeros are all about, and the inner workings of software and hardware.  Yes, I know technology brings about modern convenience, and can spout an answer to the hardest equations with speed and ease.  But with all of that, do I trust it wholly?  No!  Here’s why.

Mankind believes computers are smart.  The reality is that technology is only as great as the humans that make it.  And of course we know that humans are bound to mistakes.  So, technology is too.  Nothing is perfect.

So when I think about artificial intelligence playing a role in evaluating manuscripts, a smile crosses my face because it means the process of submitting and getting a response will be shortened.  But then my smile fades, and my head cocks to one side like a questioning puppy.  What algorithm is used to decide what’s publish-worthy and what’s not?  How often is the artificial intelligence maintained and updated for optimal performance?

I get it from a productivity perspective. There’s a lot of reading and publishers want to watch their bottom line.  Technology can help, but in the end will it really?  When people read, they have the ability to experience feeling and emotion.  Can technology do that?  Of course not.  It can only do what it is told (and even then it’s not the real thing). So an award-winning manuscript may never see the light of day because it didn’t meet the criteria of a computer.   Not sure I like that.  What are your thoughts?

Check out the rest of  Georgina Cromarty’s post on other interesting takes on artificial intelligence and it’s place in various industries.