Journal Your Way to Success
‘I did some World War 2 research this morning, then had about two hours of frustration, trying to start writing the damned thing. I’m so scared I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, that I haven’t got what it takes to be a historical novelist. And I’m so f***ing sick at being stuck inside these walls, not allowed to leave, not able to travel, not even allowed to f***ing hug people! It’s impossible to focus.’ Journal extract, April 2020
‘With no more traffic, all I can hear are the birds. I still have my hopes and dreams. I still have my beloved writing. This too shall pass.‘ Journal extract, May 2020
‘All of the BLM stuff erupting all over the world is lighting a fire inside of me. This is how Florence will feel too; the burning desire to bring about change. A steely resolve will kick in. She will become tunnel-visioned in her desire to defeat the Nazis. Ruthless.’ Journal extract, June 2020
‘I should finish the first draft of my book today. I WILL finish it today! What an experience it has been. So hard, yet so rewarding. And of course I have no clue if it actually works… I’m really happy with the messages that come through – of Love triumphing over hate. And it was so interesting to let the plot unfold naturally, as if I was channelling something just waiting to be written.’ Journal extract, August 2020
The above quotes are extracts from my journal about writing my novel, An American in Paris.
It might sound kind of weird but pouring your inner most hopes and fears about your writing, or other creative or business project into the pages of a journal can be so therapeutic – thoughts become untangled and clarity emerges.
When I journal about my writing I don’t just use it as an outlet for my fears, I also use it to brainstorm ideas for character and plot, as if I’m having a conversation with myself on the page. Something like this…
Maybe Florence should leave Paris at some point – check this would be factually possible – she could join the SOE?’
The trick is to not be self conscious – free-write every idea on to the page. I don’t know what it is about physically writing, rather than just thinking but it’s so much more effective.
So, if you want a fun challenge this weekend, go out and buy yourself a new journal, and start writing to yourself about your writing. – or other creative or business idea.
I loved looking back at my journal extracts this morning and reading my initial doubts and how the lockdowns and other events of last year influenced my writing. An American in Paris went on to become a best-seller – something I NEVER would have believed when I wrote that first extract – and I owe so much to my battered old journal for keeping me focused and sane.
An American in Paris is a Deal of the Day today on Amazon Kindle UK. You can get a copy here for just 99p,