10 Years of a Writer’s Journal

10 years ago today, I started keeping a writer’s journal — it’s a series of notebooks I call A Forest of Thought (FT for short) and I’m on my 9th volume.

It’s where I keep random ideas, names, and dialog, as well as plotting about my various books, and musings about the writing life. There’s something magical about writing out thoughts by hand with real ink, even when typing is faster (and more searchable) these days.

The first couple of years I was very sporadic with it, but I slowly developed the habit of writing down things that came to mind, before I could forget them. (Because you know you will, even if you tell yourself you’ll remember it!)

It took three years to fill the first volume, but these days I start a new journal each January 1st.

Now, I write something in it — even if it’s just a name I don’t want to forget or a line of random dialog or a quick jot about my writing status — every week, and have kept up that streak for two or three years now; not because I feel I have to, but because it’s a habit.

So, it just goes to show, even if it takes eight or ten years, you CAN develop habits and they CAN change your life — writing-related or otherwise.

It’s been an invaluable resource and a beautiful journey so far. They’ve been with me through so much and recorded so many thoughts from the forest of my mind as I travel the road of a writer.

Happy birthday, my FT journals! We’ve come through a whole decade together, and you’ve helped my writing in ways you could never know.

Onward to new horizons! ❤

(P.S. NaNo is going well and I hope to have an update post on that soon!)

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Million Dollar Writer Tag

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This one was a tag from Sarah @ Light and Shadows, the If I Had a Million Dollars: Writer Edition Tag! Which . . . er . . . rather explains itself, methinks.

Rules:

  • Post the picture
  • Link back to the person who tagged you
  • List 10 things you’d buy or do if you had a million dollars (preferably writing-related, but whatever works)
  • Tag some other writers

Ten Things

(Keep in mind this is for fun, so if I ACTUALLY suddenly got a million dollars, I’d probably do things a lot differently, for actual life things and for others, etc., but still. This is focusing on writerly things…)

  1. Get a new laptop after mine is gone. I love my current one but it’s turning 5 years old next month and the wear and tear is beginning to get to it… (Battery lasts like 3 minutes, overheats, cable is bent, mouse clicker is loose, the “A” key has a tendency to fall off, etc…) It’s working surprisingly well though, those little things aside, and I’m so thankful for that! I so hope it will last a long time…
  2. Books. Looots of books.
  3. More bookshelves. To hold the lots of books.
  4. …A new house to hold the bookshelves. Preferably a lovely piece of forested land somewheres. *nods* There would be a whole room at least devoted to being a library…
  5. I would also give SO many books of various kinds to friends. It would be absolutely lovely.
  6. Go to a few writer’s conferences. (You thought I was going to get totally distracted by bookish things and forget the writing part, right? XD)
  7. DASH AROUND THE COUNTRY AND VISIT ALL MY WRITER FRIENDS!! That would totally be inspirational, and just downright fun. ❤
  8. Travel to the British Isles. I’d spend several months exploring Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, England, the Isle of Man…
  9. Open a bookstore probably. Because why not. And it would have comfy nooks for reading, and sell coffee and snacks (probably snacks from books) and have a meeting room in the back for writer meetings, and…
  10. Publishing. Possibly self-publish my books if I could afford to get the word out and do everything right as far as covers/editing/marketing etc.? (Or maybe I could just be so well off that I meet the right higher-ups people in some big publishing company, which would be awesome too. *shrug*)

Bonus — 11: Start a writer/bookish conference of my own somewhere near where I live and entice all my writer/bookish friends to come see me there! …Actually I should seriously do this one. *nods* CALLING ALL TEXAN AUTHORS/WRITERS/BLOGGERS/BOOKWORMS — WANNA MEET IN THE MIDDLE SOMEWHERE? 😛

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How about you? Any dreams if you suddenly had a million dollars? XD You are officially tagged if you wish to do it! ^_^

A Writer’s Allegiance

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A Writer’s Allegiance
by
Deborah O’Carroll

Oh, hear now, my pencil, I’ll sing you a song
You may not be short and you may not be long
Unlovely and stubby
All scratched up and grubby
Unsure if you’re square, round, fat, thin, right or wrong

Yet you are my pencil, and you I will use
Whenever a story does come from my muse
So true on the page
In good humor or rage
Yes you are the pencil I always will use

Yes pencil—oh wait now, I see something there
I see what it is and I can’t help but stare
A pen, smooth and black
I will be right back
As soon as I’ve looked at the pen, oh so fair

O pen, you could be very useful to me
And while you are with me the world you’ll see
As I write about mountains
And sweet silver fountains
To write with you always contented I’ll be

O beautiful pen, did I not speak quite true?
And happy together, me, paper and you
We get on so well
That nobody could tell
That our good companionship is very new

Pen, we’ll stick together—hold on, what is that?
A computer, you say, and that is a rat?
No, no, it’s a mouse
And it’s here in my house
A keyboard as well—and with that down I sat

Computer, how strange that we never did meet
I laughed as I typed and typed, such a great feat
You are my best friend
And you’ll be to the end
As all of my records together we’ll beat

Against a computer no thing can compare
A writing companion that truly is rare
So lovely are you
It is certainly true
Though you take up much room I never will care

Yes—oh, sorry, a moment, just give me a sec
From behind my ear, something fell on my neck
Why, you I do know
Could it really be so?
My pencil returned now, it’s vengeance to wreak

Apologies, pencil, to you I return
To stay with you always I promise I’ll learn
In fact I’ll show you
How much I do know you
For to me you are as the dirt to the fern

Oh, hear now, my pencil, I’ll sing you a song . . .

(repeat)

ohearnowmypencil

#WritersLife Tag: NaNo Edition

I wasn’t specifically tagged for this, but writerly stuff is pressing on my mind what with NaNo coming in less than a month (EXCUSE ME? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??), and Cait did say to consider yourself tagged if you’re a writer, and she stole this herself, so… Yes. I’m just going to do this tag because I want to. 😉 So I’m stealing it from Cait @ Paper Fury and using it for my own purposes. *devious laughter*

I’m NaNo-theming this #WritersLife tag because NaNo is coming sooner than any of us are going to be ready for it.

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WRITE FUEL:

WHAT DO YOU EAT/DRINK WHILE WRITING?

I actually don’t usually, because food is messy around laptops (ask my character Baz about the properties of Devious Mustard…) and I’m not really a snacker… I will sometimes drink hot tea or something during NaNo while I’m writing because, let’s face it, November can be cold sometimes, and if I’m going to be writing for like three hours in a day, I might want to drink something warm.

WRITE SOUNDS:

WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILE WRITING?

Generally instrumental music like soundtracks or Celtic music I have around… During NaNo it either has to be inspirational (i.e. sound gorgeous or epic) or it has to be REALLY fast for ideal typing speeds. I’ll listen to stuff with lyrics if I really like it and if it won’t distract me. I haven’t yet decided what my music of choice is going to be this NaNo, but last year when I was word-warring myself against a timer, I listened basically non-stop to this song which is stupendous for fast typing.

WRITE VICE:

WHAT’S YOUR MOST DEBILITATING DISTRACTION?

During NaNo, every. single. thing. that I can come up with. I’m a horrible procrastinator. But probably the internet. I know, that’s sooo surprising. But it only takes a minute to check email, the NaNo forums, Goodreads, etc., right? …Right? *hours later* “Oops, I should have been writing, now it’s bedtime.” #fail This year I’m going to have to set some serious rules about internet (even though I have super-good excuses like being an ML who should be keeping track of stuff. But I must write too!).

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WRITE HORROR:

WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE WRITING?

When I lose some writing because I was stupid and didn’t back it up. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened TOO often… During NaNo, it’s being behind and feeling completely and utterly stuck, writers-blocked, and despairing. That’s generic, though. The worst thing that HAS happened is probably my first year of NaNo, when the final day dawned and I still had 8k left to write, absolutely no plot figured out, and no inspiration. (I overcame it though! Nearly five years later, I’m still amazed I managed to write 8k of utterly pantsed NaNo novel that day.)

WRITE JOY:

WHAT’S THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED WHILE WRITING OR HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE SMALL VICTORIES?

The best thing is when you finish something. That never, ever gets old. But, during NaNo, it’s easily hitting the wordcount goal for the day and being super inspired/on a roll and ahead of schedule. Fabulous feelings! I don’t celebrate much, usually, other than being excited and maybe shouting it through the house or posting somewhere online to squeal about accomplishments. For big things, I might reward myself with some chocolate or reading a Diana Wynne Jones book or playing on Pinterest.

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WRITE CREW:

WHO DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH OR NOT COMMUNICATE WITH WHILE WRITING?

My sister gets the main load of writing complaints and excitements. My lovely braintwin/writing buddy Christine, too, gets a lot of that. And during NaNo, there’s a wealth of forum places on the NaNo site to celebrate and commiserate, especially with people in your age-range, or genre, or region. So some of that goes on.

WRITE SECRET:

WHAT’S YOUR WRITING SECRET TO SUCCESS OR HIDDEN FLAW?

Secret to success during NaNo is setting a timer and word-warring against it to really fast music. It works. I only survived last NaNo (on a road trip) because of that. Because, wonder of wonders, if you actually start writing and write for 5 or 10 or 15 minutes, at the end of that, you WILL have words. And that’s going to add up. Who knew, right?

Hidden flaw? I’m a procrastinator, a perfectionist, and I don’t actually sit down and START writing during NaNo. …Not that those are all that hidden. *cough*

WRITE-SPIRATION:

WHAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU PRODUCTIVE?

I want to repeat the above writing secret. NaNo wordwars, either with yourself or someone else, are super productive-inducing.

WRITE PEEVE:

WHAT’S ONE THING WRITERS DO (OR YOU DO) THAT’S ANNOYING?

It’s really annoying when I don’t write. Like, when I say I’m going to write and I don’t. Or anytime during NaNo when I SHOULD be writing and am not…

(Thanks, Mal. I needed that…)

WRITE WORDS:

SHARE ONE SENTENCE FROM A PROJECT, PAST OR PRESENT.

Well, since I haven’t started my NaNo yet (obviously) I can’t NaNo-theme this answer…

R&RA line from The Rose and the Raven, my current Sleeping Beauty retelling project:

Whatever it was, it wrapped around his heart—the feeling of an almost insubstantial web . . . the shadow of a black cloak, a whisper’s echo, a ripple in a midnight pool; an invisible spiderweb, greyed with ashes, clinging to him somewhere that he could not shake off.

I’m not tagging anyone, since I did after all “steal” this, but if you’d like to do it on your blog, feel free to take it as well, NaNo-themed or otherwise!