Random Inspirations

Welcome to my blog, full of fun inspirations and insights on writing, self-publishing, and more!

Journaling: The Easiest Way to Write What You Know

It’s been said that the best authors write what they know, and journaling is the simplest way to do just that. Journaling not only helps you to relieve stress, puzzle out life’s mysteries, and stay in touch with your innermost feelings, it’s just plain fun! Journaling also hones your writing skills, especially composition and observation…and a great writer is nothing if not observant. And finally, journaling is invaluable during the creative writing process, because some of the best story ideas come from real life.

I’ve been journaling since I was 7; my first journal was chock-full of cheesy elementary school humor and random anecdotes, mostly centering on school and playing outside. My journals followed me through my first big move, the dramas of middle and high school, the challenges and victories of college, and, now, the excitement of young adult life. Interestingly enough, all my journals have made it through four moves and twenty-odd years of experience. They’re hilarious to read, helpful during moments of introspective reflection, and, most importantly, inspirational when I’m writing for young adults.

While working out the plot of my first ebook, Unlucky 13, I pored over my seventh through tenth grade diaries. My nostalgic quest helped me to flesh out the storyline and spice up the thoughts and feelings of Jordyn, the heroine. I was pleasantly surprised by how many scintillating, action-packed, and just plain humorous scenes from my adolescent life had slipped my mind. One excerpt from my tenth grade diary was so funny that I just had to plagiarize my fifteen year-old self! I wove it into the story at a part when Jordyn was feeling especially torn between the two guys in her life. Jordyn says, “So there I was, feeling like the vertex of some insane love triangle. The only problem was, I was managing the triangle with about as much skill as I managed the shapes in geometry class…not too well. Yeah, I thought irritably, love triangles aren’t very much fun for the vertex—and I hate geometric figures anyway.”  This is just one example of how rediscovering my own voice as a young teen enabled me to more convincingly and colorfully create Jordyn’s.

So, people of the blogosphere, I leave you with this…whether you’re an aspiring writer, an experienced author, or just someone who wants to stay in touch with his or her life, definitely keep a journal! It truly is the easiest (and, arguably, the most entertaining) way to write what you know. And if you want a plethora of creative writing ideas, dig out your old journals! I’ve found that, especially when writing for kids and teens, being able to write what you know is as simple as rediscovering what you once knew.

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