Okay I admit I might have a problem – I’ve got enough journals to last a lifetime yet I can’t stop myself buying more!
I rarely use them as soon as I get them. I tuck them away on a shelf in my study until just the right purpose comes along. Each journal is different, you see. The size, the cover, the texture of the paper, the spacing of the lines…all these variables lend themselves to different contents.
Large pages with generous spacing between the lines seem to foster big thoughts and ideas. Whereas small, closely-lined pages are for more intimate, introspection. Glossy, slick paper is for writing fast as when brainstorming, freewriting or developing plot ideas.
Some of these journals have been on my shelf for ages, others have gotten a faster turnover. But sooner or later I’ll get to them all – I’m always looking for another excuse to start a new journal.
I keep a dedicated journal (or two or three) while writing each of my novels
I have a journal for recording my observations about my creative process in general
I have half a dozen notebooks full of story ideas
I have other workbooks where I explore those ideas, shaping them into possible plots
I have a journal called Notes To Self for recording insights – my own and from books I read – into ways to keep myself going when I’m feeling depressed or unmotivated
I have a notebook of ‘Beautiful Sentences’ containing passages from novels I’ve read that I found exquisitely written and from which I hope to learn.
I have a notebook for Words I Often Misspell (Oh boy, is that a big one!)
I have a notebook for stating my goals and my plans for reaching them
I have notebooks for reviewing the books I read – separate ones for novels, short stories, and non-fiction
I have a pocket-sized notebook I carry with me on my morning walks so I can jot down any thoughts that come to me
I have a journal I write in every day about anything that pops in my head
I have a notebook for recording advice on marketing
I have a notebook for recording funny incidents, things that have happened to me or others
I have a book of lists containing all the writing prompts I was ever given (Most Embarrassing Moments, Toys I Played With As A Kid, Pets I’ve had, etc, etc)
I have a journal of interesting characters – descriptions of people I know or encounter
I have a notebook listing my favorite novels, films and their various elements – my favorite heroes, heroines, villains, settings, scenes, relationships, etc.
I have a gratitude journal. A dieting journal. A notebook for recording facts about health. Another for my daily to-do check lists.
I have a dragon’s eye journal for recording my various Tarot readings.
I keep a small notebook in my bedside table for recording dreams I want to remember
Some are handmade and hugely expensive, others are cheap-oh back-to-school specials.
The thirteen leather journals I’ve filled over the years sit lined up on a table in my workroom that I think of as my writing ‘shrine’ – a tribute to all things writing related.
A sickness? Perhaps. I prefer to think of it as evidence of a passion for words and the desire to study all that goes into this fabulous craft. One thing I know – holding one of these treasures in my hands always gives my a moment a joy.
And in my defense here are some quotes from other authors on keeping journals:
“Paper has more patience than people.” Anne Frank
“Journaling both demands and creates stillness. It’s a break from the world.’ Ryan Holiday
“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters through your mind.” Jack London
“Journals aren’t for the reader, they’re for the writer. To slow the mind. To wage peace upon oneself.” Ryan Holiday
Leonardo da Vinci kept his notebook on him at all times.