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

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

Writing

Faulkner’s Advice to Writers

Stumbled across this press conference featuring William Faulkner from May 20, 1957. You may listen to it or read the transcript at The University of Virginia.

Questions put to the author of As I Lay Dying include inquiries about advice to young writers. Though the question is about young writers,  Faulkner’s answer is to any writer, regardless of age.

Enjoy!

Unidentified participant: Mr. Faulkner, you may have touched on this previously, but could you give some advice to young writers? What advice would you give to young writers?

William Faulkner: At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that—that the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, train himself, in infinite patience, which is to—to try and to try and to try until it comes right. He must train himself in ruthless intolerance. That is, to throw away anything that is false no matter how much he might love that page or that paragraph. The most important thing is insight, that is, to be—to curiosity—to—to wonder, to mull, and to—to—to muse why it is that man does what he does. And if you have that, then I don’t think the talent makes much difference, whether you’ve got that or not.

Unidentified participant: How would you suggest that he get this insight? Through experience?

William Faulkner: Yes, and then the greatest part of experience is in the books, to read. To read and to read and to read and to read. To watch people, to have—to never judge people. To watch people, what they do, with—with—without intolerance. Simply to—to learn why it is they did what they did.

Faulkner’s advice to writers, summed up:

  1. Understand that talent matters little, it’s the practice that is important.
  2. Train yourself, practice writing.
  3. Practice infinite patience.
  4. Ruthlessly edit.
  5. The most important thing is developing insight and curiosity.
  6. Develop insight and curiosity through reading and observing people.

It’s great to know. What do you think?

Peace,

Deborah