Saturday, January 5, 2013

A New Year's Resolution, 2013: Making My Writing More Immediate and Relevant

Jan. 1: 12:30 PM

Okay.  So once again, we have a new year, and a new journal, and I yet have a fairly new job.  And since the new year is a time of new resolutions, here’s one that’s been on my mind for months:  It’s time to revamp how I write these journals.  Back in 1991, when I started writing in a journal, I was writing every day about everything.  At the end of 1998, I decided to revise how I write them.  My feeling, and it was an authentic one, was that I was merely blabbering on about anything and everything, and my journals were starting to become boring.  They didn’t hold much meaning.  They were merely logs about the things I was doing and the food we ate.  Hardly deep!  So I switched to a monthly wrap up, and I liked this concept enough that I’ve been writing in this fashion for well over a decade now (14 years, to be exact).  This style of writing, however, has definite limitations.  I just finished writing about Dancing with the Stars in my November 2012 write-up on the television I’m watching, and I wrote that mere days ago, at the end of December.  It means that, as I start this new journal, I shall also have to write about December of 2012, so I spend my time always looking back, upset because I am always behind.  Not only that, but as I learned while reading Stephen King’s On Writing, if you don’t capture the moment right away, it leaves.  Imagine, for instance, if I wrote this very same paragraph sometime in February.  The immediacy is gone, and the thoughts flooding my brain being almost vomited out on the keyboard would be gone, and I’d be struggling for the words I wanted to say NOW, only they wouldn’t be there THEN.  This is the one major problem I’ve had with this journal over the last 14 years:  Looking at a blank screen, wondering what to write.  In fact, when I write about December of 2012, which I will have to do over the course of this month, and perhaps other future months, I will struggle with what to write about everything I experienced that month.  The immediacy is lost.  But for right now, I’m not at a loss.  In fact, I’m struggling to keep up with all the thoughts flooding through my brain.  Just what was it I wanted to say about my November write-up on Dancing with the Stars that has relevancy here?  With all the thoughts flooding my brain, I’m starting to lose bits and pieces of it even now!  Imagine what it would be like in a month!  And imagine, in one month from now, as I begin writing about February, I won’t have to go back and write about January, because it will already have been written!  That’s a much better, and easier, and more relevant, and immediate way to write a journal, I would think.
     I imagine that this style of writing will make for a thicker journal, but it may be something more interesting to read after all.  It’s New Year’s Day, I still have the entire month, and yet look at all that I’ve already written, and what I’m about to write.  That’s because it’s on my mind right now, and I don’t now have to try to capture this lightening in a bottle twice.
     Plus, I blog now.  I want my blog to have more propinquity as well, and to be relevant.  I don’t want to write in my journal and share in my blog about that horrible school shooting in Connecticut almost a month after it happened, after so much has already been said.  It makes me feel like Beetlebomb, the horse in that old novelty Spike Jones song (linked here) that was always lagging behind all the other horses.  I don’t want to be the one who’s always looking at the past and lagging behind!
     And so I start this new year, this new journal, with a renewed sense of purpose.  I shall still divide it up into sections: Me and Family, Work, God, News, and Pop Culture discussing movies, television, music, books and magazines, the internet and other media, and role models and the people I look up to for various reasons.  I shall try to meld, or keep the remnants of, both the styles of writing I used in the past, and hope they can bring my writing to life in these new journals, and make my journal writing something I actually want to do and enjoy once again, and share, and perhaps something more interesting to read.
     I don’t expect I’ll write as much in one day as I have written, and am about to write in other sections of my journal.  My original idea for this new journal was just to write something every day, even if it was just something small, or try to catch up on my past journals.  Perhaps I may only do this on this very first day (and since I wrote so much on this very first day, I might give myself a break over the next couple of days).  But it is what it is, and it’s been welling up within me. 

Jan 4: 11:23 PM

Another thing I was thinking about this new style of writing is how this is not going to be like my previous journals.  If there’s a night I don’t feel like writing anything, or writing much of anything, I don’t have to.  This journal doesn’t have to BE anything!  Actually, neither did the others; I had simply made them into what they became.  Tonight for instance, I don’t feel like writing a whole lot – it’s late, I’m tired, I have a headache – so I won’t.  It will be just this blurb, then a shower and bed.
     I still have December of 2012 to write about, but the great thing is, when February rolls round, I won’t have to add January of 2013 to that, because I will have already written everything I wanted to write.  And anything before 2013 that isn’t finished – well – I have the rest of my life to clean it up!  I’m sure I’ll write about it eventually.


  1. I loved Stephen King's "On Writing." Very inspirational to me. I journal a lot now, and I always try to write the new things I've learned and the emotional spikes that I've had. It's difficult to decide what's going to be worth re-reading, isn't it?

  2. ...or posting on a blog from a journal. By the same token, don't give up. I've read some of your writings Hanny, and I like it.