JOURNALING · Writing

Digital Journal Vs. Paper Journal Debate, NaJoWriMo Founder Weighs In

Author and founder of the National Journal Writing Month, Bakari Chavanu, weighs in on the debate of digital journal vs. paper journal in his article, “10 Reasons I Prefer Digital Journal Writing Over Pen and Paper.”

My favorite of his reasons for using a digital journal over a paper one is that it is easily searchable. One of my greatest problems has been in finding a way easily to return to specific parts of my journals. Right now I use a table of contents. I’ve tried indexing, but it’s just too time-consuming.

I have used both. I more readily use the paper journal since it lends to a feeling of privacy even in a crowd. Sitting there, cradling your book, you are visiting an old friend, it seems. Currently, a digital journal requires lots of tapping and typing (or talk-to-text dictation), which my brain associates with work and not much that is personal. But that is a quirk.

It doesn’t have to be either/or. The best journal is the one that works for you. We have discussed before that  a journal is there to serve you and your needs. If a digital journal works for you, go for it.

In a way, this website serves as a kind of digital journal.  Many of the thoughts that I free write about on paper every day becomes fodder for this website.

Which do you prefer? Do you use both? Do you use someone other journaling method?

Sincerely,

Deborah

Writers to Inspire You Series · Writing

John Grisham, Erma Bombeck on Writing ~ Writers to Inspire You #2

Here are a couple of writers to inspire you.

John Grisham was recently in the New York Times with a brief list of suggestions for writing popular fiction. They are bits of advice that you may have read before, but reminders are good.

Some of the advice is great for non-fiction writers as well, including this:

“A common mistake by fledgling authors is using jaw-breaking vocabulary. It’s frustrating and phony.”

When I decided to relax and just be me on this website, the tech talk pretty much dropped. I’m not a techie; I’m just fascinated by what it does to culture. The content is now more true to who I am. Writing is fun again.

Check out the short Grisham column at the New York Times.


Erma Bombeck is a humor writer who gave me many laughs as a child. My favorite of her books is When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time to Go Home. The dinner roll observation- you know, the idea that the rolls are so similar on a guided tour that you begin to believe that the tour guide packs up the rolls you don’t eat at one hotel and serves them to you at the next one. Bombeck claims that she secretly carved the date in one of them to test the idea.

Here’s an early ’90s interview of Erma Bombeck, who discusses her writing process with the University of Dayton. Bombeck says,

” If you’re a professional writer, you write. You don’t sit there and wait for sweet inspiration to tap you on the shoulder and say now’s the time. We meet deadlines.”

This is something similar to what we discussed the other day about Roberto Blake and being prolific with your content and not allowing the idea of perfection stop you from writing. As you practice and tweak as you go, you will find that the writing improves, your ability to communicates something useful is more consistent.

 

Sincerely,

Deborah

P.S. Check out other inspiring writers

Poetry · SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) · Unchain Your Brain · Writing

SARK has an Inspiration Phone Line!

Y’all!

I know I’ve been talking about the author of Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper a lot lately – SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy)- but I just had to let you know. This author has what she calls an “Inspiration Line,” a phone number where you can call and be inspired by something that she says.

I was flipping through the book and there it was on page 87 under one of her writing prompts. The number is 415-546-3742, if you want to call it. That’s a San Francisco number; whatever your rates are to call it will apply.

It seems as if SARK changes the message monthly. Currently, it’s  3 minute 10 seconds which includes

  • An intro to who is SARK
  • Then a recitation of a poem by John Donahue called “For a New Beginning.”
  • She then wishes us all well.

I really love the last bit of Donahue’s poem:

Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

I’m speechless! What a lovely poem. And what a lovely thing  for SARK to do for people who need a quick mental pick-me-up.  She’s using every medium possible to be of use to people. I would never have thought of using a phone line for my business or personal development outreach.

Have you ever called the Inspiration Line? What did you think?

Sincerely,

Deborah

JOURNALING · Writing

What is Your Ideal Journal Writing Environment?

What is your ideal journal writing environment?

Journaling has been such a personal endeavor for me since childhood that I never considered that others might do it any different way than I did. I didn’t think too much about how anyone else would do it.

Since joining various journal writing groups online, I’ve found a variety of ways in which people journal and where they journal.

  • Some enjoy journaling in the same spot every time.
  • Some like to sit in a corn field, or up a tree, or near a river, or on the beach, or while looking a mountain.
  • Others would not dream of writing without a table.
  • Some prefer a coffee shop.
  • Others prefer the comfy coziness of home.
  • Some prefer to write while waiting for the oil to be changed in their automobile, or while the children are playing in the park.
  • There are joint journals where everyone can contribute to the book, so they keep it in a common area, like the living room.
  • Some write in the kitchen while the tea kettle is boiling.
  • Some cannot get started until they have a bouquet of colorful pens nearby.
  • Others refuse to write without a fountain pen.

I like to write anywhere and at anytime. My lap is my desk. If a thought strikes, I must record it in some fashion. Sometimes the most handy thing is the voice recorder on your phone. You say the thought aloud into the phone and later expand on it in the journal.

Sometimes, in childhood, I would journal in the closet with a flashlight until someone called my name for dinner.

Your environment must be conducive to how you like to write in your journal. Your instruments must be convenient to use or you are less likely to write.

Sometimes you cannot think straight enough to write until the dishes are washed and the house is tidy. At other times, the dishes can sit and soak while you pound out an idea before you forget it.

If you are just getting started journaling, perhaps your preferences are not yet set. Don’t worry; you’ll find the setting that is perfect for you if you don’t give up on it. Tweak and tweak and tweak. (And enjoy the process of tweaking.)

What is your ideal writing environment? What have you done to create it, to make it a reality? Perhaps you can journal about that.

Peace,

Deborah

P.S. If you’re have been procrastinating on journal writing, click for this article on how to think about procrastination and how overcome it.

P.P.S. This might be useful to you. Click for Journal Q and A, Part 1 which addresses 3 common fears which prevent many from starting or continuing journal writing.

Overcoming Obstacles · Writing

Your Words and Stories Are a Gift to the World (According to SARK)

I’m in the midst of reading SARK’s Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper. It’s one of those books about writing which causes you to pause and digest the meaning. Sometimes for days.

One of the sentences which stands out to me is this one on page 49:

All of our words and stories are gifts, to and from the world.

I paused and thought. Is that true?

Something in me recoiled. Is it true that ALL of our words are gifts? Some words cut like a knife. Some words make you feel as if someone has chopped of your right arm.

But then, searing words can be a gift too, if you search for the benefits of the situation. If nothing else, biting words coming your way suggest that perhaps you should remove yourself from the situation. After words come action, you see. So even biting words have their use- as a warning from those whose company you might not need to keep.

Still, I think I see what the author is saying.When the words are meant to be helpful, the fact that they are a gift to the world is more obvious.

For example, I recently suffered through a strong bout of IMPOSTER SYNDROME. It happened just as I planned to launch something that I have never had the guts to do before. So I asked my group if anyone can share a story of conquering Imposter Syndrome.

A story. I was asking for a story.

Why? Because I was hoping to follow in the footsteps of people just like me. I had hoped to make their story of success my story. There is something powerful in seeing or hearing someone else conquer what seems insurmountable for you.

I thought too of my own article here on this website – Why Your Blog is Necessary. To sum it up, I say in that article that your blog is necessary because the marketplace of ideas is bare without you. Someone might need to hear from you. You never know who can use your story right at that moment. So stick your neck out and say something.

I needed to take my own advice.

I ended up agreeing with SARK after all. Your words and stories can become a gift to the world.  Someone might need to see your shoe prints where they would like to tread. What’s your story?

Peace Be With You,

Deborah

P.S. This goes back to what we’ve discussed earlier – What is your primary gift to the world?  Your gift could be words.

BLOGGING · Writing

How Seth Godin Writes A Daily Blog

Stumbled across this Hubspot interview of Seth Godin – a bestselling author known for books and lectures on marketing. He’s also known for a daily blog which he has written since 2002. It’s the latter that interests me the most.

How does Godin find the time to write blog posts every day?

  1. His blog posts are of varying length. Sometimes a sentence, sometimes 700 words. [This suggests if he only has a sentence worth of thoughts to give, he does. He doesn’t wait to be inspired further.]
  2. He sticks to a subject that he thinks about a lot, and has thought about for a while. It seems to just flow.
  3. He doesn’t use images; it’s all about the words. [You do not necessarily need a big production or to make it complicated to be useful.]
  4. He uses spare time. 90 seconds, if necessary. [Use what you have.]
  5. He made the decision to do it and then committed to it. [The question then becomes not “Should I blog?,” but “How?”]

What I gathered is that it is the streamlined nature of how he blogs that helps him publish every day. After that, it’s habit. Check out the interview. See what you think.

Sincerely,

Deborah

Writing

An Archeologist’s Blog about Burying Books

Book lovers! Here’s an odd little blog to read – Burying Books. It’s all about stories of people who placed books in the ground and covered them up, sometimes retrieving them.

Motives vary – neglect, artistic drama, hiding it, penance for allowing their writing to take them away from loved ones.

The blog, which has not been updated since 2015, is purportedly run by archeologist Gabriel Moshenka of The University College London. He writes,

“This blog is for one of my many research interests: buried books.  I love books and I own an awful lot of them.  The idea of burying books in the ground seems rather odd and interesting.”

A fun little, slightly morbid past time, especially when the books are buried with people. Of course, you’ll find the story of a recent discovery – The Faddan More Psalter,  a book dating to the year 800 which was found in a bog in 2006- as well as stories from the past,  like Dante Rossetti’s retrieval of poems  that he regretted not publishing.

Head on over and see what you think.

Sincerely,

Deborah