Journaling exercise: confronting whatever is keeping you from writing, in writing

So, as I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve got some personal issues going on at the moment that held up my writing for a while. Basically, I wrote no new fiction for three weeks, and very little of anything else printable, which for some people sounds like nothing, but for me was pretty traumatic. About half the time, my brain felt like mush. The other part of the time, I felt anxious and stressed-out — which is not a state in which I can be very creative. I spent inordinate amounts of time alternating between staring at blank Word Docs and spacing out in front of article after article instead of writing anything of my own.

Anyway, one day last week, I was feeling particularly stressed out and recalled something I’d read about before about “writing away stress.” Continue reading

Still need more Chanukah book recommendations?

Lisa Silverman wrote a fabulous piece in the Jewish Journal with 5 more reviews of Jewish books that have recently come out. The books she reviewed were Jeremy’s Dreidel, Maccabee Meals, Room for Baby, How Do Dinasaurs Say Happy Chanukah, and Barry Deutch’s follow-up to HerevilleRoom for Baby and How Do Dinasaurs Say Happy Chanukah were recent PJ Library selections, and my kids enjoyed both (especially the latter. They also liked another PJ Library selection, A Horse for Hanukkah), but I’m really, really excited about How Mirka Met a Meteorite! I’ve already added it to my Goodreads To-Read list and if anyone wants to get me a Chanukah present…

Bram Stoker’s journals to be published

(photo by Paul Capewell on Flickr)

Here’s a reminder to jot down all your brilliant and not-so-brilliant ideas into a notebook and then to keep your notebooks around long after you’ve filled them:

Relatives of the Irish author Bram Stoker recently discovered his first journal, kept while he was a university student. While the quality of the writing it contains shows nowhere near the professional skill of Dracula or Stoker’s many short stories, it does reveal that in later life, he went back to the snippets he jotted down in early adulthood to include in his writing. Even if he couldn’t use the material immediately, this journal laid a foundation for future success.
A lot of people walk up to me and say, “I have this really great idea, but I don’t have the time to follow up on it right now.” Or they say, “I had this thing happen to me, but I don’t think I can write about it.”
My answer: JUST JOT DOWN A FEW WORDS. Or draw a picture. Or paste in a magazine clipping or family photo that will jolt your memory at a later date. A journal, notebook, or planner works because these formats are less likely to get lost than the back of an envelope and keep everything together.
Maybe right now you don’t have the skills or time to write your masterpiece. That’s okay if you save the ideas for later in a concrete format. (For foodie types: it’s like keeping a crock of sourdough starter around so you can eventually bake bread.)
For the complete article about Bram Stoker’s journal, follow this link.