Find the Right Fit Writing or Journaling

Saturday, January 13, 2018
I have to admit that I’m not certain why I read the blog post about journaling. Horrified fascination maybe? I am noteworthy in my journaling failure. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve failed at journaling, I could take my husband to a full price movie.

The post that got my attention was by Jennifer Mattern. In it she wrote about keeping a bulleted journal. If you’ve never seen a bulleted journal, I’ve included a photo. Nope, that’s not mine. I’m still getting the hang of it and mine isn’t all that attractive. Give me a month to get the hang of it.

A bulleted journal is a like a series of lists. If there is anything on this earth that I’m good at, besides exaggeration and eating, it is making lists. There’s a chore list, the weekly menu, the grocery list and the “other” shopping list in the kitchen. Then there is my work related to-do list and my five-minute list (various things that I’m challenging myself to do five minutes a day) in my office. By the end of church every Sunday, my bulletin includes a list of things I need to remember to do.

In a bulleted journal, you keep track of a wide variety of tasks that you accomplish thus it is a lot like my to-do list. It can be as creative or simple as I want. Calligraphy or simple script. Stickers, stamps and photos. I can do it one way one week and then change my mind the next. Creativity and flexibility rule.

Because of this, I’m also changing up how I record things. There are lists: the books I’ve read this year; the movies I’ve watched; the handwork – knitting, crochet, etc. – that I’ve completed; and my list of story ideas. It also includes charts: my weekly to-do list; the tasks I need to accomplish to finish each book/project; my fitness efforts - yoga, walking and rowing; and the progress I’ve made excavating my office.

It doesn’t sound like much but unlike me horrible two page long to-do list, I look forward to getting this out every day. I’m having fun with it. And I’ve been at it for a week which is about four days longer than I’ve ever succeeded at keeping a journal. I’m already planning new pages and sections.

And one of them will include writing, like a regular journal. I’m going to free write things that might become essays. In the past, Angela has nudged me to write out these stories, and Anne Andersen, whose interview will go live on Tuesday, recently gave me an encouraging nudge.

I definitely think that I’ve found the journaling approach that works for me. If you find yourself struggling with your writing to the point that you no longer enjoy it, take a hard look at what you’re doing. Does your writing reflect your passions and skills?

If you are struggling to write contemporary fiction but you collect facts and love trivia, you might consider nonfiction.

If you are working in nonfiction but you love to play with dialog, maybe you should try writing a novel with multiple points of view.

The latest science innovations fascinate you? Consider science fiction.

Writing is a lot of work. Don’t make it more strenuous than it has to be. Find the type of writing that’s a good match for you. When you find something that clicks, you might just amaze yourself.


To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins January 8th, 2018.


Joanne said...

Very wise and for me personally, timely.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Sue--Finding something that works for you is so important. We need to take strategies and tools and transform them so they work for us.

I look forward to seeing a photo of YOUR journal in a post at some point ;)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Perhaps. Mine isn't nearly that pretty. I'm definitely a writer vs an artist. Right now it looks more like a series of grocery lists with headings some of which are much nicer than others.
We do each definitely need to find our own path. Fingers crossed that I keep making progress on this one.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Sue, this is a great, practical idea! I write a lot of lists, but they are all over the place. Some on an open Word doc, on my Google calendar, some on my phone, in an email, on post-it notes, etc. Keeping a journal dedicated to my To Do lists will help me become more organized. Thanks for this! :)

Ps. I look forward to your interview w/ Anne Tues!

Renee Roberson said...

I love the idea of a bulleted journal! I'm also a list-maker, especially when it comes to work-related items. I've journaled successfully a few times, like when I did The Artist's Way program with the morning pages, and have completed a few of Mari McCarthy's excellent journaling challenges (the weight loss one was great). But I don't do it as a daily practice and know I could benefit from more of it.

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