The best day

About a week ago we had a string of days with unseasonably warm temperatures in the upper 70s and hovering at 80 which transformed our usually sparsely populated winter beach back into a spring beach, covered with bikini-clad college students and families with young kids.

That all changed last Thursday afternoon, as a front passed through dropping temps back into their normal winter range. But before the front arrived, we had one last May-like morning to walk along Jax Beach, which was dotted with a fair number of sunbathers and families, walkers, joggers, and fishermen all enjoying the last bit of extra warmth before winter weather returned.

IMG_6885As I followed the shoreline south, I noticed a young family ahead of me. The mother and father were talking and taking pictures of their young daughter who was running into the surf, squealing when the cool water crashed into her, running back toward her parents giggling, and then turning around and repeating the entire sequence over again.

She was on her fourth or fifth cycle when I came even with them, and just as I passed a wave crashed into the little girl, who appeared to be about four or five. Instead of squealing and running back, this time she turned around to face her parents, raised both arms in a “ta da” pose, and shrieked “This is the best day of my life!”

When I met back up with my husband toward the end of my walk, I told him about the little girl. Later that day I repeated the story to our adult son and daughter and posted it on my personal Facebook page, sharing it with as many friends and family as possible. And now I’m sharing it with you here, not only because it relates a delightful moment of one little girl’s joy, but because of what witnessing it has revealed to me.

My first thought upon hearing her proclamation was to be grateful that I get to walk on the beach almost every day. My second thought was to hope that at her age she was merely experiencing the best day she’d had so far, and that she would have many more to come as she made her way through her life. But then I came to what has stuck with me since that moment, the question of what makes any particular day a best day.

Best days, like beauty, are ultimately in the eye of the beholder, or the heart of the experiencer maybe. For me, the best days of my life don’t depend on temperature or latitude, although warm sunny beach days certainly don’t hurt. My best days are the ones I share at least part of with friends, family and loved ones, and, as most of those people know, the days I spend writing. Creating something seemingly from nothing, but of course built on inspiration and experience, whether it’s a few words or dozens of pages, makes a day great in my book.

What makes a day great for you?

Out there somewhere?

IMG_6700

 Are you out there Mary Lee?

Cue the Jaws theme music…

Local news has been excitedly giving shark play by play for the past week. Two female great white sharks tagged by Ocearch near Cape Cod last September have been pinging just east of Jacksonville. The smaller shark, 14 ft long Genie, has stayed well off shore, passing her time along the Gulf Stream. But the big girl, Mary Lee, who is 16 feet long and weighs more than 3000 pounds, has been hanging out much closer to shore, actually pinging within the surf late in the day on January 7th. That’s when Ocearch notified local police and Mary Lee became the topic of conversation around town, almost as if she were the first shark ever to visit our shore.

That’s also when I became addicted to the Ocearch tracking website. Imagine how thrilled I was to discover that when Mary Lee pinged closest, she was just off shore from where I typically access Jax Beach! If only I’d been walking then I might have seen…well nothing actually, because it was dark when she was that close.

I’ve seen a lot of interesting things in the water as I’ve walked the beaches here over the past year. I’ve seen dozens of dolphins, feeding and playing in the surf, and scaring uninformed people who can’t tell the difference between a dolphin fin and a shark fin. I’ve seen what must have been a good sized sea turtle but I was too far away and it was too dark to be sure. And one especially wonderful evening during high tide I watched a couple of manta rays feeding just a few feet away from where I and several other beach lovers were gathered at the water’s edge, oohing and ahhing and reassuring some idiots walking by that no, really, those were not sharks.

I know a lot of people have a strong fear of sharks, and I’m not interested in a close encounter with one myself, but they are not every unidentified swimming creature in the sea, or the only ones to avoid. Jellyfish, for example, can be very unpleasant, but there aren’t near as many movies about them and I don’t hear a lot of people pointing and yelling “jellyfish” when they see something in the water.

Sharks are clearly made out to be the bogeymen of the sea, but the sea is their natural habitat and they are doing what sharks were born to do–swim and eat. They are merely one more type of ocean and coastal life to observe, no different than the dolphins, sea turtles, pelicans, gulls and osprey.

There are plenty of sharks out there that we don’t see or hear about, many more than the two great whites that Ocearch recently named and tagged. Local surfers complain about a bull shark that frequents the area near and just south of the pier. We also have black tip sharks in these waters, but for the most part, this apparently isn’t a place where a lot of shark encounters occur. It may be a long time, and a lot of walks, before I get a glimpse of a shark in local waters.

That’s ok. I don’t mind waiting. They’re out there, somewhere, along with their untagged friends. The great thing about Mary Lee pinging near the Jax Beach shore is the reminder that just under the surface, just out of range of our everyday experience, is a world we cannot see without effort, risk, or technology.

Beneath those beautiful breakers there is a world of life that carries on without our observance or assistance. It is the same with creativity, be it any type of art, music, or creative writing. Behind those layers of paint, that sculpted curve in clay, that delicate note, and that well-turned phrase, is a combination of observation and imagination, born of the knowledge that things aren’t always as they seem, and the courage to explore and express what is found.

 

In with the new

Well it’s started. The great redesign project is underway here at thebeachwriter.com. We have a new front porch to welcome guests and provide directions to a couple of new destination pages…one for blog posts and another with a brief summary of, and contact information for, Janda Writing and Consulting. The foundation is complete. Now the much longer and slower phase of building can begin. That is going to stretch out over the coming months so, if you’re curious, you might want to stop by every so often and have a look around. I’ll post blog entries noting significant additions along the way but in between those there will be plenty of little tweaks and add ons.

For those of you who like hints and spoilers, in the coming year I’ll be adding business details, along with articles, guides, and webinars that provide more in-depth and detailed information on a variety of writing topics. My goal is to get this information out of my head and off of notes (both handwritten and electronic) and into a format that will benefit others. Personally, I’m hoping that clearing out some of the information I keep in my brain will free up storage space for other, non-writing but terribly important information, like what I am supposed to buy at the grocery store, or the names of people I’ve just met, or anything involving numbers.

For those of you who visit for my beach pics, rest assured there’ll be plenty for you to enjoy in the upcoming months as well. I have plans for a gallery or two, as well as continued posts and pics of what I see and think and feel when my feet are in the sand. In fact, as I continue to make adjustments to the layout of various pages, I’ll be adding more pics from my local beaches, especially Jax, Atlantic, Neptune, and Hanna Beaches. To kick the year off right, here’s one of Jax Beach taken January 1st.

Jax Beach, sunset, January 1, 2013

Jax Beach, sunset, January 1, 2013

I’d love your input. Please let me know what you think of the changes as they happen, and feel free to suggest topics you like to see discussed in the future, either by commenting below or contacting me directly.

 

 

 

Out with the old

Reviewing, reflecting, analyzing and revising are familiar activities for writers and artists. Have we created what we intended? What changes could we make? Should we revise? And if so, what needs to be added or removed to transform what we’ve created into what we believe it can or should be?

Answering those questions may be easy or difficult, simple or complicated, but it’s always a personal, individual experience. Feedback from others is important, but unless we are writing or creating art for a particular client or customer, we make the final decision. Even so, we keep our audience in mind. What do our readers want? What do our customers and clients need?

Ideally, the finished product bridges the gap between what the writer/artist wants to give and want the reader/customer/client wants to receive.

As 2012 winds down I have been reviewing the past year of blogging as The Beach Writer. When I started, I wasn’t sure what I wanted the blog to be. I began writing and creating without a clear picture of what I wanted to produce. I spent most of the past year blogging in a fog as thick as the one blanketing Jax Beach a few weeks ago.

Gulls in fog

Jax Beach, December 8, 2012

I’m not saying I’m unhappy with what I’ve posted this past year. On the contrary, I’m pleased with my return to the realm of public writing after many years of keeping my words to myself. But each time I sat down to write a new entry, I was creating without a clear plan for how each entry would relate to the ones that came before or after, and that was ok for 2012. But for the new year I want to make some changes to align The Beach Writer blog with my longer term professional and personal writing goals.

Some of the changes I’ve planned will occur quickly. Others will build over time. First I’ll be redesigning this site to accommodate both The Beach Writer blog and my business, Janda Writing and Consulting. Those of you who’ve followed my writing and career over the years know that I’ve gone through periods when my personal and business writing lives have overlapped as well as times when they’ve been kept separate. That was ok when I was working for someone else, but it’s increasingly difficult when I answer only to myself and clients. Since there is only one of me, I believe my life will be simpler (although not necessarily easier) if I merge the two as much as possible.

What I won’t change is the blog itself. I’ll still post pictures, observations and opinions about the beach, writing, and the nature of creativity. All of you who stop by for a dose of that can rest assured that The Beach Writer will remain as is. But in addition to that, I’ll be providing more detailed information, tips, and advice for writers and clients.

I’m excited about these changes and I hope you will be too. I am looking forward to a bright 2013 filled with sun, sand, water, and words.

sun, sand, water

Sun, sand, water

Happy New Year!

…the more things stay the same

It’s a beautiful North Florida fall day with plenty of sunshine, highs in the upper 60s, and the threat (promise?) of lows in the upper 30s tonight. My local weather alert text this morning urged everyone to “bundle up.” If I had ventured out today, I would no doubt have seen people taking that advice, wearing actual coats of the sort that northerners (and former northerners) reserve for December-March weather in the upper Midwest.

As a transplant from up north marking my first full year down here, I put on a long-sleeved shirt, opened the windows, and turned off the air conditioner that has run continuously since March. To me, the weather is perfect for a day of digging my desk out from under a mound of paperwork and catching up on my To Do list.

Item #1 – write a blog post.

Sigh.

So much to write…so little time. Fall is anniversary season for me. September held the anniversary of our relocation to our new home here. October featured my wedding anniversary and the first anniversary of the founding of my consulting company. And November 15th will mark one year of The Beach Writer blog.

I’ve learned quite a bit about blogging this past 12 months. Mostly I’ve learned that I blog more often in winter than in summer, or at least that’s how it seems at first glance. More accurate, I think, is that I blog more often when I only have a couple of projects going simultaneously, and fairly infrequently when I have completely overextended myself. This has been the case for me throughout my entire writing and publishing life. As much as I think I would like to change that, I can recognize that it’s unlikely.

What is more likely is that I slow down every once in a while to figure out where I am, reflect on what I’ve accomplished and encountered, and plot a course for where I think I want to go (always subject to change, of course).

I combined one of those slow down and think sessions with a beach walk shortly after Labor Day and realized something wonderfully comforting and, I think, amazing, about the beach. After a year of observation, through all four seasons, Nor’easters, tropical storms, seaweed invasions, and a seemingly endless string of sunny days packed with people, I realized that I was looking at a shoreline essentially the same as when I first saw it.

How could that be?

I could understand how it would look basically the same following sand erosion during storms. The sand diminishes and shifts, sure, but the basic slope from an upper level near the dunes that led steadily but gently to the waves remained the same. But something happened at the start of the summer that significantly altered the landscape, the Great Seaweed Event of 2012.

Just before the solstice in June, right as beach attendance was ramping up, I arrived at the beach to walk and found it covered in seaweed. Blanketed in seaweed. Carpeted, actually. Overnight, the sea had coughed up a thick layer of smelly vegetation that spanned the width of the beach nearly from the dunes to low tide line and stretching north and south as far as I could see. Local news ran stories and aired interviews with beach visitors put off by the smell and the sight, and beach caretakers trying to explain that they couldn’t remove the seaweed and wouldn’t even be able to move it until it dried out some.

The Great Seaweed Event, Jax Beach, 6/20/2012

Walking was a little difficult that day, and for the better part of the next week, but what happened next was fascinating. As soon as it had arrived it was gone, buried beneath a fresh layer of sand, and in its place was a ridge of sand running parallel to the shore. For most of the summer that ridge held, creating a multi-level beach. From the dunes to the high tide line was the upper level, and from there to roughly the midline between high and low tides, was a new middle level shelf. Then a sharp drop occurred to the low tide level below.

Jax Beach, July 2012, with new mid level hump from seaweed dump

That’s how the beach remained June through August. But shortly after Labor Day, as I walked and thought about the culmination of our first year living here, I realized that things had changed. The ridge was gone and once more the beach was a steady and gradual slope from dunes to sea. In fact, it looked almost exactly like it did when I first saw it, before the storm erosion and the seaweed explosion made their subtractions and additions.

Time had smoothed out the extremes.

Doesn’t it always?

A lot has changed for me over the past year. I relocated to a new region of the country, with a new climate. I started a business. I began and have nearly finished a book and have another one waiting for its turn. I started this blog and posted regularly and semi-regularly as life allowed.

And yet for the most part, my landscape and the ebb and flow of my days remain the same. I walk, I write, and I work among the sun, sand, water and words.

The more things change, the more they truly do stay the same, at least for me.

Jax Beach, fall, 2012

The more things change…

Since my last post, the Summer Olympics came and went and each political party held their convention. There are many writing lessons to be gleaned from each of those events such as the importance of perseverance, training, practice, organizing/outlining to ensure a coherent presentation of your thoughts, and my personal favorite–the importance of comparing a changed document with the previous version before publication.

Without taking sides in the current nasty U.S. political climate, I think we can all agree on the fact that words were omitted when two sections of the Democratic Party Platform document were updated for 2012. Looking at this purely from a business writing or publication viewpoint, it seems that the person(s) involved with preparing the platform failed what I believe is the most critical step when revising anything written. They failed to compare the old and the new versions, side by side, word for word.

Now that takes awhile with anything over a few pages long. It’s tempting to just run spell check and have the new version proofed, reviewed, and authorized while leaving the old for dead. But without comparing the old and new side by side, word for word, the odds are high that something important could be unintentionally left out. Perhaps more than one something important will be left out. And if the new version is published or widely distributed, such omissions can quickly become a great embarrassment, or worse.

What if the document is an instruction manual and the omission is a critical step that skipping causes an unintended result? What if the document is a procedure that must be followed exactly and the omission causes a violation of regulations? These are two quick technical writing examples, but omissions during the revision of a recipe or a book on just about anything can be similarly serious.

Do yourself a favor and remember that a quick proofread to ensure correct spelling and grammar and that the material “sounds good” isn’t enough when you’re dealing with a revision of a previously published document. Compare the old and new one last time, before your readers do.

Back to work

Well it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? More than a month, to be exact, since my last blog entry. Definitely a serious flouting of the rules of blogging!

And it was just what I needed.

I’ve had a very busy 2012, starting a business, trying to finish one manuscript and start another, blogging. Something had to give and so, toward the end of June, I decided to take a vacation from everything that I could and give myself a chance to recharge.

I couldn’t actually take a “real” vacation because I’m in the middle of long-term project with deadlines throughout this summer and fall. So for the past month I took a vacation from everything else. When I wasn’t working I did nothing at all. Nothing writing-wise that is. To be exact, I took a staycation, because I stayed right here at home, and even worked in my office, but just not on anything I wasn’t contractually obligated to create.

Obviously, I didn’t blog. But I also didn’t write a word on my nearly finished manuscript or the one I started at the end of May. No essays. No snippets. No notes. I journaled, but that’s it.

Typical vacation day, Jax Beach, FL

What did I do with my time instead? I read a lot. I walked the beach. I took a lot of photos. I spent extra time with family. I allowed my mind to wander wherever it wanted.

But most of all, I refused to feel guilty about not writing, which is a first for me.

The result has been fantastic. By focusing only on work  I was able to be extra productive in that area. By refusing to write anything else, I pushed all thoughts on other projects to the back of my mind where they were free to bounce around unattended and come up with new perspectives and combinations of their own.

That’s a wonderful thing, but as happens with all vacations or staycations, the time has come to get back to my regular writing life again.

On the road paved with good intentions

Whenever I travel for business I plan to write while I’m away. I’ll have time on my hands at the hotel without the distractions of home, I tell myself. I’ll crank out a serious word count and return home feeling extra productive.

It doesn’t happen that way. Ever.

What happens is that whatever work has prompted my travel consumes my brain. When I’m not with the client, I’m thinking nonstop about whatever we are working on or the next meeting, workshop, seminar. All of my creativity is channeled toward the client’s project and there’s nothing left for anything else.

At the end of each travel day I return to the hotel wanting to completely unplug and recharge so that I can do it all again the next day. Before I know it I am home again without so much as a single word counted toward the personal writing I’d planned. Worse yet, back at home I usually find myself drained and needing a serious recharge.

That’s what happened last week and I’m still working to recharge and get back on track creatively. But it doesn’t hurt that the walk I took to clear my head this morning offered this view…

20120620-145720.jpg

Second pass changes

My beach walks consist of parking the car, crossing over the dunes and heading straight for the water, and then walking along the shore for a couple of miles, turning around, and walking back. I almost wrote “retracing my steps” instead of “walking back,” but that would have been inaccurate. My steps seem to disappear almost as quickly as I make them in the ever shifting sand.

Although I have been taking these walks nearly daily for more than half a year, I continue to be surprised by how much changes in the time it takes me to cover the same ground twice. Whether the tide is coming in or rolling out, whether the wind is blowing sand or not, whether the beach is crowded or nearly empty, change is constant along my route.

In those early walking days I often made the mistake of procrastinating. If I saw something interesting to take a photo of, or investigate, or maybe a shell to pick up, I would hesitate and tell myself I’d do that on the way back. But I quickly learned that putting it off usually meant losing the opportunity. Maybe whatever it was washed out to sea before I returned. Maybe someone else picked up that shell. Maybe a gull carried something shiny away. Whatever the case, waiting until my second pass meant missing the moment.

During a walk last week I started thinking how much this is and isn’t like the process of converting a first draft of a piece of writing into a second draft.

Sometimes a second draft is such a considerable change from the first rough attempt that it is nearly unrecognizable. Shiny things and beautiful landscape from the rough draft are discarded or at the very least altered enough so as to appear new. Sometimes a second draft nearly obliterates the first one, taking the raw material and rearranging it as severely as a gust of wind or strong wave rearrange sand and sweep baubles away.

The difference lies in who or what controls the change.

With the coast, nature is absolutely in charge. Wind, waves, and rain sculpt the sand and deposit goodies on the shore. Yes, humans are part of that nature, but I am not directly in charge of the creation at large. I’m just an observer.

When taking a second pass at a writing project, however, I am the creator. I decide what stays and what goes. I mold the raw materials into the shapes that I imagine. Even so, I sometimes find myself surprised by the differences of the second pass.

Of course there are exceptions. On this morning’s walk I noticed a shell with friends attached to it at the water’s edge. I was only about half a mile into my walk, just hitting my stride, and decided not to stop to take a picture. I told myself I’d snap a pic on the way back if the shell was still there. As I passed it a wave covered the shell and my feet and I figured the shell would be long gone when the water receded.

Thirty minutes later it was right where I left it, waves still lapping at it occasionally. The lighting was less than ideal and I didn’t take a great pic but here it is…

Similarly, when I opened the file for the rough draft of this post, I found it already said most of what I was thinking. I just needed to add an ending.

Today was one of those days when the second pass didn’t change that much after all.

Journal your journey

Jax Beach, 5-21-2012, part of my writing journey today and mentioned in today’s writing journal entry as “sparkly.”

A common tip given to writers is to keep a journal. This tip is usually followed either by silence (as if just saying the word journal is enough) or a list of suggestions that feel a lot more like rules. This tip is often met either with an almost fanatical enthusiasm or varying degrees of disdain.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Journaling is good advice, that I have received and given throughout my writing life. It’s also a lesson in writing as a habit and way of life that I have learned and relearned, hopefully for the final time (fingers crossed).

Over the years, as I have given this advice to fellow writers and writing students, I have found that the same questions are asked. Here are the ones I’ve been asked most often, with my answer/opinion, of course.

Do I really have to journal?
No, of course not. But why don’t you want to?

My experience as a writing teacher/mentor, and as a writer, has been that resistance to keeping a journal usually comes from thinking that there is a certain way that a journal should be written and kept, and finding that way unappealing.

There is no one right way or wrong way to journal. Don’t google journaling tips and think that what you read is a blueprint you must follow exactly. You are free to incorporate any ideas that appeal to you and change your mind at any time. The purpose of a journal is to make writing a habit and keep it that way. Writer’s write but few writers write something substantial every day, or every week, or sometimes every month or (gasp!) longer. Journaling keeps a writer writing between projects and ideas.

Should I keep a writer’s journal or a diary?
Yes.

Let’s start with a definition. A journal kept by a writer is a writer’s journal and each is unique to its master/mistress. Some writers keep journals that look like writing class homework notebooks, containing the results of various writing assignments, prompts, and projects. Some writers keep stream-of-consciousness journals with entries that tend to look like the author vomited words onto a page with no further thought or organization. Some writers journal their writing process, meaning they write about writing. Some writers keep diary style journals with entries detailing boring days butted up against story fragments, and an impromptu haiku. Some writers journal the first draft of any writing project so that they never face a blinking cursor on a white screen with no idea where to start.

Each one of these is a writer’s journal, even if when placed alongside each other they don’t even resemble the same species.

I have kept each of the types described above, and various hybrids. For the past seven years, my non-work writing projects have consisted almost exclusively of creative nonfiction–memoir and essays of various lengths. Writing creative nonfiction about my own life is much easier for time periods with diary-style entries, therefore I devote a portion of my daily journaling to those. But I also include ideas, thoughts, and snippets of writing projects. I have started essays in journal entries to avoid the blinking cursor. I do a little bit of everything except journal writing assignments/prompts. Typically those get their own writing files separate from my journal.

Should I keep my writer’s journal handwritten or electronic?
It just doesn’t matter. Do whatever you want. The point is to start and maintain a writer’s journal.

I used to keep handwritten journals, many with a favorite pen, some in moleskines. Others in generic notebooks. About two dozen in both hard and soft cover journals bought from local bookstores. Lined. Unlined. In 1996, grounded off of keyboards for three months due to a bout of carpal tunnel, I wrote an entire novel manuscript by hand in a couple of journals. But for the past few years my journals have gone exclusively electronic. Thanks Evernote!

Do I have to write in my journal every day?
No, of course not. There are no writer’s journal police. But writer’s write. Do you really want to go a day without writing?

I have been journaling full-time since 1994, almost twenty years now. Before then, my journaling was rather hit or miss. And over the past couple of decades there have been two or three long spans of time (one of more than a year) when I didn’t journal at all. Not coincidentally, during those times I also did not write anything else outside of the workplace. No books. No essays. No letters to the editor. Zip. Zero. Once I noticed that pattern I made journaling a priority and haven’t stopped since. I have some journal entries that essentially consist of “I got nothun.” But I have journal entries. Because I don’t really want to go a day without writing ever again.

Do I have to write properly in my journal (meaning with correct spelling, sentence structure and punctuation)?
Again, there are no writer’s journal police. But what is the appeal of writing “improperly?”

I have been referred to as a Grammar Queen and I insist on taking that as a compliment even when it’s not meant as one. I do believe it’s important to know the rules before breaking them. But I don’t think there’s much, if any, value to throwing them all out the window and insisting that’s art. If the point of keeping a journal is to write, and by doing so, improve as a writer, it would seem to me that writing properly would be desirable.

That being said, a writer’s journal is written by the author, for the author. It need not please anyone else.

What should I write about?
Whatever you want. I firmly believe that it does not matter.

I frequently journal about my beach walks. How far. How long. The weather. The waves. Who I shared the beach/my walk with. If I spoke to anyone. What I saw. I can easily tell you which days I’ve watched an osprey catch a fish or pelicans skim the waves in formation. I have logged what shells I found and what kinds of jellies I’ve had to step around. My attraction to and experiences along the coast are obviously an important part of my writing journey and naturally a part of my writer’s journal.

My journal also includes snippets of conversations I’ve had or overheard, topics we discussed as a family over dinner, detailed accounts of good, bad, and indifferent experiences I’ve had, and the fact that I made my taco salad upside down today. My journal is my place to write without self-censorship so if it pops into my mind while my journal is open, then there it is preserved on the page.

Is there a minimum amount I should write?
Nope. You may read or hear advice to write daily. You may encounter suggested word count minimums. You may disregard all of that. It’s your journal. Keep it when, how often, and in whatever length segments you want.

My journal entries over the years tend to be snowflakes. No two are the same. I write whatever and how much I feel like writing and I try not to allow lengthy gaps between entries since, as I noted above, for me, going without journaling coincides with going without writing. I now write something every day. Something. Every. Single. Day.

Should I share my journal with others?
That’s entirely up to you. Many writers journal through their public blogs, giving readers a window on their process and progress. Many more keep journals locked away or password protected hoping they are never read by anyone while they are alive or even after their death.

In our household, journals are nonnegotiably private, including between spouses. That doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally read aloud to each other if it’s relevant to a writing/literary/similarly artistic discussion. We are both writers, after all, and there are times when sharing a passage is the best way to communicate. But such sharing is rare and short-lived and the rest of what we journal is kept secret.

Keep your journal private. Make your journal public. Or strike a balance in between. It’s your choice.

Well there you have it. If you are or want to be a serious writer, and you don’t already keep a journal, give it a try. If you have any questions I haven’t answered, please ask. I’ll do my best to answer. Also, if you are primarily another type of artist, I’d love to hear if you have an equivalent to the writer’s journal. Something that provides a regular opportunity to practice or try out new ideas or just keep you artistically active between projects? Or is this just a writer thing?