Whether you are an avid journal writer or you’re starting because of a new year’s resolution…welcome! Every now and then it’s good to go back to the basics. These are in no means an ‘How to’ on journal writing- just more of a way to get you started or to hit refresh.
You don’t have to put pen to paper.
More of the traditional way of journaling is to keep a notebook and pen handy and simply write! But now there are so many more options. You can dedicate a notes section on your phone to journaling, a file on your computer, or you can download an app to use on your tablet! Whatever will feel more comfortable and will keep you journaling.
Keep realistic expectations.
The best way to start something new, or keep something going is to establish a routine. Set realistic expectations for when you want to journal. It is also easier when you link it to something you do everyday. For example, on the train ride commute to work, while you’re having your morning coffee, or when you’re getting ready for bed. Create a healthy habit for yourself.
Write about gratitude.
When in doubt write about gratitude. It can be life changing for mental health when you take the time to write about what you are grateful for. And you can start small with the things in front of you and go from there.
Try something new.
Go outside the box and make your journal personal and messy! Add pictures, or scraps that you have found throughout the day, like a good newspaper article for example. Re-read and write in the margins!
Write for you.
This may be the most important of the journaling basics. Remember why you started it, and write for yourself. No one has to read it and it will not be graded or criticized. Think about what goals you have for yourself and your journal and work towards that.
Sometimes my best ideas come to me around bed time- right before I fall asleep or right when I wake up. One thing that I have learned is if I do not write my idea down immediately, I forget it. So, I started keeping a notebook by my bed. If you do not do this, you should. An article in Psychology Today describes how you can put your mind to work before sleep. They suggest that you should think about the scenario you are trying to address before you fall asleep and ask your mind to solve the problem. I have tried this with mix results. Sometimes I am shocked I came up with a certain solution or idea and other times I don’t have that same success and find myself lying in bed most of the night thinking about it. You need to ask yourself if putting your mind to work is worth it (or you just need to make sure you have the skills to put yourself back to sleep).
In the meantime, if you are looking for something by your bed that is small to hold your notebook this is what I use:
From a marketing perspective, AI (artificial intelligence) is often driving the content you see. An article in Entrepreneur highlighted some value to market specific AI content creation. I am sure this is a game changer for the marketing industry, since the type of content they need to generate is quick and easily digestible. At what point are we going to see mass consumer acception of AI content creation in the publishing space and what would that even look like?
My thought is that eventually all content will be driven by the particular individual. Marketers will have enough data on any given individual from all the content that the individual utilizes (how this will be centralized… I am not smart enough to answer that) and then though AI or machine learning will create a book, an audio book, a cartoon, or a script in a matter of seconds that meets the individuals taste. But, what is the difference between all the content currently out there? What turns something into a box office smash hit or a best seller? Is that something AI can replicate? Or does it require human intervention? Or does it matter? If all content is specifically tailored, and all content is being consumed by that specific individual, does it matter whether there are best sellers or smash hits? I think so- if not for the social shared experience of a best seller then simply because people will always keep writing and creating. The thing the author is chasing may change. It may no longer be a human they are writing for, but, the writer will always keep chasing. In the end, we have nothing left to do but- keep writing!
I know we have talked numerous times about writer’s block, but I love reading everything I can about it because it is such a timeless issue with little to no immediate cure. This article published in Hendersonville Times-News feels longer than it actual is and, although there were some good nuggets of information, it was relatively similar to lots of the information I have blogged about or thought about in the past. But, it never hurts to revisit good advice. The article highlights some of the best ideas around writers block from some academics/writers who are well versed in the area, like Justin Arnold who is quoted from his book as saying:
“In many cases the reason for the block is a physiological one. If you haven’t slept well recently, or you haven’t eaten for a while, (or) . . . you’ve been worried about a family member in the hospital, then your mind is hardly going to be firing on all cylinders. There’s no doubt at all that writing demands concentration, and concentration demands energy. Without enough sleep, food, and drink you cannot expect to perform as well as you would like.
Rather than thinking about spending 30 minutes writing, try a target of 400 words. By having a manageable and achievable target which is based on the number of words . . . you are much more likely to find that you make productive progress. By having a daily word count target, you also can more accurately schedule how long it will take to complete your writing task.”
Another tip from Justin that is really my favorite- freely writing unhindered by constant editing is often a solution to writers block.
I think at the end of the day, we all know what we need to do, just keep writing! 😉
Recently, ABC news released the Top 10 audiobooks on Audible.com. We weren’t surprised to see Sarah A. Denzil’s THE HOUSEMAID on the list in the fiction section! It is a great book and an equally good listen.
One of the most anticipated romances of the year released today! Mimi Matthews wrote a highly praised historical romance called The Siren of Sussex. It is named an Editor’s Pick on Amazon. The book is based in Victorian London, need we say more?! Well, I am not going to tell you…. just read the book for yourself:
I love the ‘News’ app on Apple, I subscribe to it and use it as my main news source (the reason why I love it is because of all the magazine options). Naturally, they have a healthy dose of news sources dedicated to Apple. MacRumors reported on January 4, 2022 that Apple might be entering into the Audiobook space! What does that mean? Well, likely that you will just get all your media sources from Apple. What does that mean for Authors? I am not sure yet, but it is another example of a ‘giant’ trying to acquire as much content as possible. I would venture that in order to attract content and talent away from Amazon/ACX/Audible, Apple might offer better terms for authors. Amazon notoriously creates a very competitive landscape for authors and when working with Amazon’s subscription services, authors are often disappointed with the compensation. I am super excited that another big player is entering the space but I am interested to see what the terms look like for the authors. I wonder when and what Apple’s digital book subscription service will look like, will it be anything like Amazon’s? Check out Amazon’s below:
You do not need to be a “writer” to write. You don’t need to have some profound experience oe a certain educational or professional background to you. You don’t have to have what you might feel is writing talent- just write. Write as much as possible and you will surprise yourself with just how talented you actually are.
Just because you do write something does not mean it needs to be published by a publishing company or even through self publication, the act of writing is often an exercise and nothing more. This reminder as helped me a set new goal for myself this year- I am going to try to write more- here on this blog and just for myself too. Here is to you writing more and more as well!
One of the best ways to clear your head when you are trying to write is to work out! This is the time of the year everyone is thinking about working out, but you should do it for more then your body, do it for your mind as well. The endorphins generated from working out lead to a clearer mind and sharper recall, which ultimately can help you write better. If your stuck or not, all the data shows that working out, getting endorphins pumping can help! For more on this check out: https://www.apa.org/topics/exercise-fitness/stress
Let me give you some tips on what I like:
I like body weight exercises because they do not require equipment and you can do them right at your desk or where ever you work, I like push ups, squats and planks, I try to do as much as I can through out the day. Sometimes I add resistance with bands, here is a link to some easy bands which help me do more then just body weight.