Monday, February 25, 2013

A New Place to Write

By Stacy S. Jensen

A writing journal seems like a logical tool for a writer, but I’ve had a mixed relationship with them over the years.

Several blank ones sit in my office. Friends and family gave them “to inspire” me. Instead, writers block arrived.

Anyone else feel intimidated by a pretty, bound book? It’s the ultimate blank page. It feels permanent or so I thought.

I began my memoir manuscript in a leather bound journal 12 years ago. I knew I needed something sturdy to write my thoughts down after my late husband had a catastrophic stroke.

With a new journal, I've found a new
writing place. I still like my cheap spiral
notebooks, too.
I found comfort in the journal as I wrote my thoughts, the details, and the trivial aspects of my life during this period. It stayed with me for 38 days in that recliner; traveled to multiple hospitals and nursing homes; and spanned four years including near death, life, and death. When I began writing the memoir — not straight from the journal, of course — I used the journal entries to verify quotes and fact-check my memory.

I stayed away from journals for almost seven years. I created stories and jotted down ideas on the computer, on an iPhone, and in cheap notebooks. That changed last Christmas.

Now remarried and a mother of a toddler, my husband gave me a beautiful, brown leather journal. With heavy, lined pages inside, it’s ready for doodles and words written by the toddler or me.

Whether it’s due to my age, experience, or just the presence of a little boy, I don’t feel pressure to make the journal perfect. Toddlers have a way of helping one accept that life can be messy.

I’m putting that philosophy to work in my journal this year. I’ve written notes and the beginning of a short story in the journal. I’ve scratched through words and paragraphs I don’t want to use. My son has scribbled on the pages, too. Revisions are unkempt, but I like the look of them here. Both writing and life can be messy, but it’s always fun to see where it goes.

Writing in this journal is both a fun and serious venture for me. When I fill up the pages, I can add more. This journal is a place for me to write and I like that.

Where do you write — a journal, a notebook or the computer? 

About the Author: Stacy S. Jensen worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades. Today, she writes picture books and revises a memoir manuscript. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and toddler.
Blog: Twitter: @StacySJensen