Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts, JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

This month's question is: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?


The only thing I've quit doing is journaling. I know, I know... as writers we're supposed to journal or keep a diary. I've journaled off and on throughout my life, but after a month or two I've always come back to the same set of questions. 

Why bother to journal? To preserve some aspect of my most exciting life? Who's going to read this crap and why would I want anyone to read it? And why would I want to leave it behind for someone else to have to deal with when it will probably be burned or thrown away when I'm dead and gone anyway? What's the point when even I don't reread what I've written? 

After years of struggling with these questions and doing the three morning pages suggested by Julia Cameron in her most excellent book, The Artist's Way, I finally gave it up for good. Don't get me wrong, I worked her whole book, faithfully doing those morning pages and it kick-started a long dry spell. But what did I end up with? Reams of hand written trash on college rule paper stuffed into an already over-stuffed four-drawer file cabinet. (I burned them all.)

Instead of journaling I much prefer spending my time on a new story. I like discovering the characters, world building, researching, taking notes, doing outlines, creating time-lines and then, the piece de resistance, writing the story. And that's what I keep, that's what fills my three ring binders and my file cabinet. I have stories, story ideas, snippets of stories, conversations, character descriptions, world descriptions/maps, lists of made up words/names, lists of titles, (etc. etc. etc.) that go all the way back to high school. And I do occasionally go through it because there are tons of possibilities for a NEW story -- my novel A Lizard's Tail came from these sources. 

That's my journaling, that's my diary. Within the binders and drawers is the history of my writing journey. From horrible angst-filled teenage poetry to philosophical/spiritual observations, it's all there. And whoever has to deal with it when I dead and gone can do with it what they will. 

So, the answer to the question is no, I've never said, "I quit."

What about you? Ever given up writing, quit and then found your way back?

33 comments:

  1. I think at some point I did give up, still finding my way back. Great thoughts indeed, and warm greetings.

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    1. One day at a time. Writing prompts are a good place start.

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  2. I don't think everyone has to write in a journal. I'm like you. I don't want to and I don't. I did it in high school, but that was it for me. Glad you write what you love instead.

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    1. I sometimes have wished I could be and elegant diary/journal writer like, Anais Nin or Virginia Wolf. And the world would be an emptier place without Anne Frank's words. But I am not one those...

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  3. I'm actually struggling with this right now, Bish. Not sure I have it in me to do another book.

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    1. And if that's the ultimate decision you come to, let it be okay. But sometimes, we (I do) just need a long rest. Who says we have to write every day? Or write to pump out a book every year? I don't see those rules carved into stone ANYwhere!

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  4. I avoid things I don't like doing (if it isn't a necessity). I do love buying journals, but they often remain empty :) Thanks for sharing. Great post.

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    1. Ha! Nicola... I'm also attracted to pretty journals, but I'm able to stop myself from buying them because I know the pages will remain empty, or get filled up with lists of things to do...

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  5. I used to journal and I've tried to get back into it again, but it just doesn't stick. I think there is a season for it.

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  6. LOL. I love journaling. It's not that I think my life is so epic it needs to be chronicled, but in recording the day's events, I often stumble across nuggets of truth I'd never have seen otherwise.

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    1. I'm glad it works for you. But like Diane said, it just doesn't stick for me. :)

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  7. "as writers we're supposed to journal or keep a diary." Well, no. Journaling is great to do, but not all writers must do it or are supposed to. I actually have a hard time journaling. I try and then I forget. Or get bored.

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    1. Yup. I forget and get bored too. I like playing with story ideas much better.

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  8. Someone will have fun going through your journals one day!
    I journaled a vacation once. That was about it.

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    1. At best they'll have a goldmine of ideas, at worst they'll have a junkyard!

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  9. I've never quit, but I've thrown some books across the room, screaming, "I quit!" As to journaling, I dabble in it when I'm feeling pathetic, so anyone reading my entries are going to think I should have sought counseling or some Prozac. Loved your post. It was refreshing to hear that you tried something, and then decided it didn't work for you.

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    1. Thanks,Lee. It's nice to know there others out there who don't journal.

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  10. I was obsessed with journaling in high school and college until I became a writer. Now, I mainly jot story ideas down. Journaling is long gone for me!

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    1. I much prefer playing with story ideas. It's like they lead to something.

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  11. I usually only journal when I feel the need to work out my thoughts and feelings on paper, when I'm going through a rough patch of some sort. I usually end up tossing most of the pages eventually, but they definitely help me in the moment. :)

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    1. If they work for you in the moment, that's a good thing!

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  12. I have never quit, even from my early growing years. Journals have been and are always important to me. Recently, upon moving, I found stack of journals over the years. Wow.

    Journaling helped me focus. Still does.

    When I fell and rec'd a concussion, that was the only time I could not keep up. Eyes. Co-ordination. etc.

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    1. I'm sometimes a bit envious of people who've journaled all their live. What a history! It's just never worked well for me.

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  13. During my grammar school days in the mid-1960s, I tried keeping a journal (I preferred "journal" to "diary" because "journal" seemed less "girly." Besides, in Dracula, which I'd already read by fourth grade, Jonathan Harker kept a journal!). As it happened, however, I discovered that my life was rather dull, so I started inventing more interesting experiences for myself. It made the whole idea of keeping a journal rather silly, I soon realized.

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    1. That's it for me! Inventing different lives, different world has always been more interesting to me as well.

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  14. I may move the other direction...journal via a blog and stop writing for publication. Time will tell...

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    1. Hmmm, interesting idea, though I don't think the world is interested in reading about what I did today like going for a massage, doing laundry, and finding nothing in the mail box. :)

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  15. Hi Bish - I'd love you to develop more stories along similar lines ... like you I can't see the value in writing irrelevancies ... my blogging has been an eye opener - and I'm so glad I left the subject content completely open-ended ... keeps me interested and using my brain ... 'rubbish' I would quit from! Cheers and good luck with more books ... Hilary

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  16. I too find journaling tedious and wonder what's the point. I did do it for a number of years, but gave it up long ago. I like your idea of binders filled with story ideas. I have notes and scraps in a file folder, that I go through often gleaning for ideas, but nothing compared to your binders.

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  17. Some people are journalers, and others--like me--are not. I have so many journals that have bits and pieces of my life and a lot of blank pages. I love to blog. My Monday Morning Musings are my substitute for journaling. Why do something you don't enjoy when writing stories or character sketches, etc. are more fun? Best wishes!

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  18. Journaling isn't for everyone (it's certainly not for me) and quitting the aspects you don't love, or that hamper you in other areas = Totally worth it.

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  19. I agree with you, Bish... I was never one for journaling. At times when I was hugely upset with life or with certain people I wrote down my feelings to vent. That was before I had a pc. Now I never do. I rant and rage instead. LOL....

    Great that you've kept all those ideas from times gone by and that they are still an incredible source for you writing!

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Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!