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I like to think many authors have journaled in their lifetime, or currently journal. Personal or professional journaling, it doesn’t matter, but journaling nonetheless. Just to keep up with the daily writing habit.

I have kept a journal since I was a small child, maybe the early years of grade school. I remember picking out a pink journal with a teddy bear on it at a book fair in grade school and then going home to write in it every day. Each day was sectioned out by a pink line, with two lines on a page totaling three days per page. I would write about my day and what I did, mostly nonsense. This daily habit continued throughout the years.

By the time Jr. High rolled around , I had graduated from the daily “Dear Diary” entry to writing multiple times a day in a notebook or store bought journal. During this time and into High School I gradually switched from sticker decorated notebooks to store bought journals, feeling the non-notebooks had a more “sophisticated” factor to them.

Once college rolled around I wanted to chronicle every day, every class, and every moment outside of and in between, but unfortunately, my daily writing habit waned and my journaling suffered while my school work took place.

Side note: for those of you who don’t know, I was an English major in college so reading and writing were essentially my life in college.

So now, current day, I’m trying to pick up the habit again to write in my journal on a daily basis. I think it will be helpful for me to create the daily writing habit while I’m writing the daily blog posts as well. I’m not anticipating writing multiple times a day like I used to “back in the day” but I at least want to do a paragraph at the end of each day to reinforce the habit.

I’m starting today and seeing how many days I can do in a row. Wish me luck!

Happy long weekend!

For the Sake of Writing

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What do you do when you don’t know what to write? Do you stop or keep going and write whatever comes out? This is what I’m struggling with right at this moment. For the sake of creating a daily writing habit I’m here typing out a blog post on nothing specific, but to just write.

I have a few writing exercise books that I could put to use here, write random fiction or non-fiction just to keep up the habit in the future. I think I’ve only used the books a few times so it’d be nice to put them to use.

But this isn’t a blog for fiction/non-fiction writing excerpts, it’s to get myself out there as a writer and hopefully establish some sort of online presence in the writing world. All the while writing my story. So I’ll try to keep those to a minimum.

I almost didn’t sit down to write this. I thought to myself, I don’t have anything to write about so why write? Then I second guessed myself and said, yes, I need to do it in order to kick the habit of NOT doing it.

So, I think I can say that day 4 of writing daily is complete!

Characters Need to Exercise Too

Day 3 of writing in a row. I just go back from class maybe a half hour ago, it’s about 9:30pm right now, so I feel pretty lucky I’m awake to finish this up! Actually, I started on this post last night knowing that I might not have time today to dedicate my full attention to it.

Character development is something I’m focusing on right now more than the actual writing part of my story. This got me thinking, what can I do to develop my character other than thinking about her in my head at random times? I know I need to have something concrete written down about her other than pent up thoughts.

Side note: I talk about my “story” here a lot, it’s the main one I’m working on now and I think it’s a novel but I’m not sure yet. Right now, it’s just a story I want to write, that’s all. I want to write it because I think it’ll be fun and challenging and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid. I do have one rule however, and that is I don’t like telling anything about my story that would give away what it’s about UNTIL I have a first draft. Not even my husband knows. Well, I told him about my story idea ONCE. In one sentence. But he doesn’t remember things sometimes so I’m pretty sure he’s forgotten about it. We were drinking. Per usual.

Anyway, I want to develop my character a little more before I start writing again, I think it will help move my story along.

I tried looking on the internet to find some prompts to help get me started, but didn’t really like any of the ones I came across. A lot of them were specific to creating situations for your character based on a question or a prompted scenario. This can work, but not quite what I had in mind.

So I gave up on that and started to think about WHAT makes a person? Because really, at the end of the day, the characters we write about are people, right? So they have to have people qualities like you and I do. It makes sense to me that in order for them to feel alive and “come off the page” (as so many writing magazines and books and articles have said), they need to have the same types of life experiences that people do. Things like growing up a teenager, a childhood, young adulthood, death in their life at some point, a home, a bedroom, firsts, favorites, dislikes, etc. So I came up with the list below to get me started:

Facebook profile
Text conversations with friends/family
Email exchanges with friends
Journal entries from childhood
Box of keepsakes
Internal thoughts on commute to work
Current daily routine
Routine as a child/teenager/college student
First day of college
Last day of college
First day of first job after college
Conversations with her dog
First date with boyfriend
Breakup conversation with boyfriend
Thoughts while drunk
Items in her purse/bag
Background on phone/laptop
List of books on her bookshelf (if any)
Typical holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s)
Typical weekend story
Out of the ordinary weekend story
Internal monologue of her life story
How she would answer therapy questions
Conversation with parents that made her angry
Conversation with parents that made her sad
Conversation with parents that made her happy
Performance review from her boss
First funeral experience
First wedding experience
When she met her dog
First kiss
First time having sex
First breakup
First online dating experience
Conversation with best friend
Fight with best friend

Now, I definitely don’t think I’m done with this list yet, but it’s a good place for me to start and it’s a long list of things for me to work on randomly when I want to in between writing. Some of them are just descriptions of things, some are dialogues, and some are full scenes and might be able to use snippets in my story.

Please excuse any typos today as I’m sleepy eyed writing/editing this.

The purpose of this post is to really just get into the habit of writing something daily, even if it’s something not related to my story or other shorter stories/other writing. I definitely THINK about stories and my story more than I actually write it down. Maybe I should call that daydreaming about my story rather than thinking. Or better yet: character development in my head.

Does making notes in random places count though as writing?

I always carry a small notebook with me and if a good idea pops into my head I don’t want to forget I write it down. So in a way, I’m always sort of writing, just not in the traditional sense that we normally think of a writer sitting down in front of their computer (or notebook with a pen in my case).

It’s funny, the only reason I’ve been able to get out these last two posts is because I’ve been taking the bus to work this week. When I come home, it’s go go go. So I’ve resorted to typing out short posts on the bus. I wanted to get some writing done, but I totally forgot my notebook at home today and not sure how writing in a notebook would go on a bus. Too bumpy I think. My writing would look more like a 2nd grader’s art project it than a 28 year old’s first draft of a novel.

Damn that commute, it really puts a dent in my day. I always realize this when I take the bus because the bus is great and I try to convince everyone at work to take it. I literally get 2 HOURS back in my day to do whatever I want! It’s great. I can read, write, listen to music, sleep, listen to other people’s conversations/drama in their life…. Which makes for great writing material bytheway.

Alright enough about the bus. I think the point of this post is over, I’m all set now, don’t want to make this too long.

If you’re new to following please share with your writerly friends! Or share with anyone you think would be interested in reading about writing as I learn about it.

Did the Story Come Before the Character?

Alright, I realize I haven’t been present since the beginning of the year, but for good reason: I’ve been writing!

Well, more like a jumble of writerly things along with school work and normal day to day things, and there’s been busy times where I’ve worked at home more often than I have in the past. But the important thing that’s been happening is that I’ve been writing and developing my character.

I haven’t been working on the same story since January, I started one, then flipped to another idea, but when that one didn’t hold my interest I decided to go back to the first one and that’s where I’m at. I’ve been developing the main character more than writing the story, which is something I’ve struggled with what to do first:

Did the character come before the story? Or the story come before the character?

One can’t exist without the other, but it’s essential to have a story in order for the character to survive and thrive in, but it’s also essential to have a character somewhat developed in order for a story to be present.

I’ve always struggled with what to do first, should I thoroughly develop my character before even starting the story at all, despite the fact I have an idea, or should I just dive into my idea for a story and let the character develop out of that?

I started to just develop the character, which got me nowhere – hence the non-writing for so long – and so I decided to start writing. But then I realized shortly after even starting to write, I couldn’t go too far in because I didn’t know my character well enough. So I went back to character development.

Side note: this story I’m working on, I’ve had this idea in my head for over 2 years, so it’s come a long way and I need to get it out!

So right now I think I’m doing a bit of character development along with writing the story itself instead of doing one before the other. I know some writers do one before the other, and that may work for them, but I’m finding out it might not work for me.

Up next time: a look at my progress?