WHAT JOURNALING WILL DO

It’s a coincidence that I wrote the last entry in my journal on February 28 at the same time I finished my book. Well, my book is not finished-finished but it’s getting its final editing—by a professional content editor—as I compose this post.

journalI have been using a 5-subject wide-rule notebook every morning to put down whatever wanders into my head ever since I decided two years ago I would FINISH THIS BOOK! Daily notations first thing in the morning, something akin to morning pages suggested by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way, have kept me primed to write.ARTIST'S WAY

And it’s a coincidence that when I started this particular journal on April 4, 2013 I had just received feedback from four beta-readers. In between the first and last journal entry, I have incorporated the changes they suggested and made edits based on feedback from two more beta readers and, later yet, made changes suggested by another two readers. Whee!

Besides acting on feedback from beta-readers, I spent time in May at a writers-in-residence at Weymouth Center Weymouthand attended a writers’ retreat at Wild Acres in September and, of course, kept my pen moving on the pages of my journal each morning.

wild acres -

Get yourself a notebook and begin to journal daily. Who knows what you will accomplish!

WRITER IN RESIDENCE

Weymouth Center
Weymouth Center

I spent part of last week at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines, North Carolina working on my memoir.

There was a sign on the door, DO NOT ENTER, WRITER IN RESIDENCE, which led to the hallway where I and another writer had accommodations. My room was the Paul Green room and the second was the Thomas Wolfe. None of the other quarters had plaques on the door or I would’ve searched for a female author designation. Virginia Woolf where were you?

At Weymouth I felt like a writer. I worked like a writer.

Typical day:

Breakfast* on the veranda. I watched birds dart by and listened to a deep guttural sound, more like an improperly functioning piece of heavy equipment, which I imagined might have been a frog. The sound came from a stagnant pond nearby. I didn’t feel the need to investigate.DSCN0737

Back to my room to write.

Paul Green room
Paul Green room

Lunch in the small kitchen solely for use by writers-in-residence.

In the afternoon, I worked until I got hungry.

Dinner at my desk.

After dinner I wandered into the library to connect to the Internet and check and send emails—okay, I did glance at emails on my I-phone while I worked. Hard habit to break.

North Carolina Hall of Fame James Brody Library
North Carolina Hall of Fame
James Brody Library

In the evening, with a glass of Merlot, I sat on the balcony, writing in my journal and watching the sky turn crimson and transform to a deep blue. When it grew too dark to see my notebook, I ambled back to my room to reenergize my gray cells with a New York Times fiction bestseller.

*I went grocery shopping on my first day, stocking the refrigerator in the writer’s kitchen with salads, soups, yogurt, granola, carrot slices, hummus and a bottle of red wine.

And what did I accomplish? I did address the issues raised by my beta-readers. I dropped the slow, plodding first chapters and incorporated sections as flashbacks throughout the book. And a fast paced chapter, which served as my first chapter a few revisions ago, became my first chapter once again. I came home with a new outline, clear areas for expansion and a goal to complete this version of my manuscript to give to my second round of readers by the middle of this month.

Thank you Weymouth Center.Weymouth Center

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