The Writerly Habit

This blog is about my struggles to get into the habit of writing regularly.

Journaling: Day 10 (Mandala)

Creating Mandalas

I am a couple of days late, but I did my exercises for week two. The first was to draw a mandala, however I wanted. Then I had to write a story about it. I have to admit, at first I was sceptical. It seemed silly and I didn't want to do it...but I did. I ended up drawing a frosted donut with sprinkles, then I began to write inside of it. I realized that I was very angry with myself, with the way I eat. That realization made the writing exercise very easy.

I also started using my timer for the exercises and journal writing. It really does help keep me on track. I found out that the stainless steel looking ones at Wal-mart are noiseless, problem is the alarm often scares me.

I Prefer Not To....

I was reading an interesting article from the LA Times on The Lost Art of Reading. In it, author David Ulin talks about how he has trouble focusing or actually sitting down to read anymore. Amid the distractions of the modern age, who really has time or (of those who do) who can cut through all the muck and focus? Ulin is a book editor at The Times for goodness sakes. If he can't read, what hope is there for the rest of us? Let alone writing.

Ah well, I guess it just takes a force of will. We are losing our abilities to concentrate because of the way we are training our brains. We no longer read but scan and this makes it harder for us to focus when we actually sit down to read. Check out this article from the Atlantic Is Google Making Us Stupid?. Of course I think it would've been funnier if it was titled Is Google Making Us Stoopid, but a minor point. So, what hope is there for us? How do we get back in touch with that inner book lover once again? How do we dust of our collection of fine leather bound books and stop using the writings of Benjamin Franklin to hold up the sagging middle of our cheap couch (wait TMI there)?

I think the best way to begin reading again is to start slowly. Start with a fun piece of literature that you can just plow through (such as genre fiction). You've got to build your reading self confidence back up slowly. Just diving in headfirst to War and Peace or Mutiny on the Bounty will only crush that carefully kindled reading spark. Check out free audiobooks on iTunes (there are tons) and listen to them in the car or when waiting in line/at the dr's office/on your lunch break, wherever.

I guess what I'm really saying is let's get off our lazy butts and read. I know it is easier to pull a Bartleby and say "I prefer not to" but the literacy and academic level of our society is at stake. Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now.

Journaling: Day 5

Alright so I did my journaling last night. I was in a pretty foul mood yet, as I was writing I seemed to feel better. I started out with stream of consciousness and that led me to my lack of a novel idea. I had a short story idea but had no idea how to work it into a full length novel. Then it hit me, as I wrote, I would write it as a collage. Different time periods in my character's life. Aha! I felt so pumped I ran out and bought a nice little timer ($4.97 for a stainless steel one, $3 for white plastic) at Wal-mart. Tonight I will be writing out my writing action plan (from the aforementioned Time to Write) and then, starting on Thursday I will dedicate 30 minutes a night to my novel. I got one of the old fashioned egg timers that tic, which will make me push more. It feels great to be excited about a project again, I just needed to journal to tap into my creativity. This is something I will continue. Toodles!

Journaling: Day 4

Ok, so I didn't journal last night. I know, I know. I had the opportunity but didn't take it. Instead, I fell asleep while reading Time to Write: Professional writers reveal how to fit writing into your busy life. It's a pretty good book, very similar to The Write Type: Discover Your True Writer's Identity and Create a Customized Writing Plan which was published a few months earlier. In Time to Write, the author states that you must have a burning desire to write. Is that really true because, if so, I have a problem. I don't really have the burning desire that why I find it so difficult to develop a habit or am I merely moody and lazy? Who knows. I'm hoping to become a little more inspired on the later chapters, one is titled "how to write when you don't feel like it." Yes sir, that sounds like one for me!

On the plus side, I got myself a new spiral (Trapper Keeper ftw) and more of my favorite writing pens. If you must know, they are Pilot brand Precise V5, extra fine in black. They write really smoothly. Not that I'm a pen snob or anything....cough cough. Anyhow, I hope to get more work done today and perhaps do some free writing.

Journaling: Day 2 & 3

So I didn't update last night, don't worry I'm not crapping out. My internet was down so I couldn't post. It is interesting journaling on the computer. Although gnote is proving more useful, I miss the connection of pen and paper. There's a sense of pouring yourself out onto the written page that just doesn't happen with a computer. Maybe I'm old fashioned in that way. I've always written better longhand. I love typewriters, but they are so slow. I'm not sure yet how this is going to help. I haven't been journaling long enough to realized the benefits (which I only normally see after I have quit).

Anyway, here's a great article on Keeping a Journal. This is also where I found the above photo, lovely isn't it?

Journaling: Day 1

So I started journaling again today. I'm trying it on the computer so we'll see how that goes. I've been searching the net but haven't found any software I like. I want it to have the look of a paper journal AND be affordable. Is that too much to ask? Anyone, I'm working on gnote so we'll see how that goes. So far I don't like it, I can't figure out how to see all of my notes at once. Tonight's exercise was to journal for ten minutes and I managed to get that done. Anyway, I'm going to go get something to eat.

One Year to a Writing Life: A New Plan

As I begin my final semester at the community college and prepare to move to university (in January), I realized that it is time to get my writing in gear. My ability to produce has been halted and for a long time I couldn't figure out why. Tonight, I started reading One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft by Susan Tiberghien and I realized what it was. Journaling. No really, journaling. For some reason, if I am actively journaling, I find it easier to write. Probably because it develops a habit and it allows me to get a lot of the junk out of my head (that usually keeps me from writing).

For the next year, I will be using the book to see if I actually develop a writing life. Each chapter has a different focus. The first chapter/month is journaling. Each chapter has a list of recommended books. I plan to read at least one of these in the corresponding month. So, wish me luck. We'll see how it goes. Feel free to follow along. :)