It’s been a while since my last Blog, so please forgive me – some keyboard troubles; a grandson’s wedding and some summer inertia, but I seem to have recovered now!
When I was a child, and just dicovering the beauty of words, I kept something I called “My Beauty Book”. I would go to Melbourne’s Public Library at weekends, and go to the Poetry section and copy out all kinds of poems, some in translation, that spoke to me. And every time at school I came across a quotation I loved, it would be copied into this exercise book, plus my first few attempts at writing verse.
Diaries, journals, notebooks – they are gold! When someone asked Virginia Woolf what sort of diary she would like, she said: Something loose-knit but not slovenly; so elastic that it will embrace anything solemn, slight or beautiful that comes into my mind….”
Every writer should keep some kind of a journal or diary. I don’t know what happened to my childhood entries, but when I was 19, I lived a few years in London – a great city for a potential author.I searched for creative lives and found them in diaries of Franz Kafka and Virgina Woolf, who discussed the writing process in their internal conversations.
No matter how incomplete, journals are the missing link in creative life. They help beginners trigger new work and sustain inspiration. Virginia Woolf invented herself as a writer in her journal, from aged 17 to her death at 60, she moved from family sketches to memoir to novels.Joan Didion always used details from her notebooks in her wonderful writings. Putting your memories into words can break the dry spell in your writing life.
We only store in our memory images of value. When you write about your life, you live it twice, and the second time is both spiritual and historical, was an observation made by journal-keeper Patricia Hampl. Writing down random events and thoughts is advice I have always given to my students. You might not know what you are going to do with them at the time, but re-reading them later can be the spark that ignites many, many ideas to use in your stories that will be all the more realistic because you once thought them worthy of jotting down.
If you would like any of my 13 books , contact me at the addresses above in “About Me” . I welcome your comments, and you can ask me about any writing problems you may be having.
Until next time ….