Every writer I’ve ever had the pleasure to study has said the same thing: “You’re not a writer unless you write every day” or variations of this.
A couple of wise people I know recently asked if I was journaling. Yes, I said, but not every day. Not every day. I felt no judgment from these individuals, but my inner critic, that hideous shrew who takes delight in tormenting me whenever I flex (or don’t flex) my creative muscles, pointed out that I was being lazy and uncommitted to my craft.
Oh, shut up, you old bat.
So last night in an attempt to become motivated, I troweled through the layers of this blog and found a post I wrote last year about how I force myself to write in my creative journal when I don’t really feel like it. Here’s the gist of that post:
“1) Carry a journal and pen or an electronic device with a note-taking program with you AT ALL TIMES;
2) once a day in the journal or on the device, write one sentence that is an observation of something around you or in your life. Just one sentence. It can even be one word;
3) then try for a second sentence;
4) and then a third;
5) and keep writing sentences until no more come.
6) You will end up with at least one sentence a day. Add them all up and you will have at least 365 sentences. You will probably end up with a lot more. It is exponential once you are on a roll.” (3/6/2017)
That being noted and taken to heart, here is what I jotted in my journal last night. It is not much. Just words, not even sentences. But I wrote nevertheless:
“Hot, steamy, my clothes stick to me. I feel debilitated. Cold water sliding down my raw, painful throat. The smoke from the fires.”
So what can be derived from this entry? First, it has historic or autobiographical purposes: we’re having a hot summer plagued with wild fires. Secondly, it is cathartic: I felt like crap yesterday and I wanted to express that. Thirdly, and most importantly, there is a lot of fodder here for a creative piece: an essay on global climate change, the opening words of a love scene in a novel, or perhaps a haibun about summer. If I expanded in any of these directions, then no doubt more ideas would flow.
So, if you consider yourself a writer, let me ask you this: what did you write today? Nothing? Then get yourself forthwith to the local dollar store, pick up a composition book and a cheap pen, and get to it.
ljgloyd (c) 2018
Postscript: I found this video with some good advice on using a journal for your creative writing:
Daily Addictions Prompt: Practice