Friday Speak Out!: Keep The Pen Moving, Guest Post by Jan Marquart

Friday, July 08, 2011
Keep The Pen Moving

by Jan Marquart

When I was eight years old, I wrote my first story. I wanted my father to read it but he didn’t, so I stopped writing. That sometimes happens to new writers. Lucky for me, I was encouraged to pick up a pen again when I was in college. I had a friend named Tammy who told me to buy a journal and write so I could become my own best friend. I haven’t looked back since. I’ve written almost every day since 1972 and completed 88 journals in the process. By writing every day, my writing life expanded over the years and I have now published over a dozen articles and eight books.

Writing is healing for me. It keeps me on my emotional toes. After studying philosophy at UCSC and reading book after book about the men and women who wanted to understand the human mind and soul, I wanted to make my life matter by doing the same. Writing allows me to speak from a deep internal place that nothing else gets close to.

My writing started out with tea in the morning and progressed to carrying my journal in my purse. I found that writing out the ideas, feelings and events of my day helped me to stay mindful and focused. Needless to say, my purses got bigger to accommodate my journals. Then I found that if I wrote before I went to bed it helped me to sleep better. Before I knew it, I was writing several times a day.

Writing is not for sissies. It takes repeated action. But just 10 minutes a day helps your writing grow on its own so that all you have to do is follow the pen. I’m not saying that what you write about will always be easy. Pens feel good in the hand and when I’m unable to come up with a topic on my own I look out the window and write about the weather. We have weather every day and the weather is different from day to day so it always presents a good model for the pen. I don’t use the computer when I write in my journals because I like the feel of the pen and the texture of the paper in my hand.

Write at all costs, no matter what. Find a path that works for you. Just keep the pen moving.

* * *

 Jan Marquart’s latest release is Voices from the Land, a historical novel about settlers who form a new town in the Southwest after the Emancipation Proclamation. Visit Jan at and join her fans on Facebook.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



Sioux Roslawski said...

Thanks for sharing, Jan. I know a writer who "warms up" by journal writing. They write about their daily musings to get their brain warmed up for their short story writing.

Jan Marquart said...

Hi Sioux,
Yes, journal writing is a great warm up. I do it everyday. It stimulates the muse and she loves being stimulated. Do you write?

LAFF said...

Jan, as always, I find your insights on the writing process compelling and eternally useful. Thanks!

Deborah Owen said...

I've founded two writing schools and I didn't keep a journal on the process. I regret that so much, and yet I teach my students to journal. I think yo
u just jolted me back into journaling, girl! :-) Thanks.

Deborah Owen
Creative Writing Institute

Juliann Wetz said...

Thanks for this affirmation that as writers, we should strive to write every day. I just came to that re-realization myself. It's important to do. Thanks for reminding us of that.

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top