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Archive for September, 2013

I’ve spoken to a few groups recently about the importance of journaling not only as a means to organizing thoughts, but as a family treasure. Several years ago, my sister-in-law passed away. One of the most cherished things she left behind was her journal. We all enjoyed flipping through the pages, seeing her handwriting and getting inside her head. It’s also like having a conversation with her.

Paper doesn’t forget.

writing pics 009

Journaling isn’t just about the ‘Dear Diary’ level of writing. Journaling is, on every level, a conversation. If you are interested in writing for your children and grandchildren, much like Graypay does in Unforgettable Roads, here are a few pointers:

1. Relax. It’s just a notebook and a pen.
2. Don’t over spend. It’s not because of the leather bound beauty of a $50.00 journal that it will be treasured. It’s all to do with the words within.
3. Relax. I sense your shoulders tensing.
4. Writing in a journal takes three things: Pen, Paper, and Commitment.
5. Keep the journal visible. You will be more likely to commit to writing if you see it.
6. Set a time each day (10 minutes is enough) to write.
7. You don’t have to be a writer to write in a journal. Begin with a prayer to be honest and just write how you talk. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. It’s the story, the memory and the lesson that are important.

What do you write about, you ask?

1. What’s the earliest memory you have?
2. Describe your parents.
3. What did your bedroom look like when you were 16?
4. Who was your best friend in second grade? In high school?
5. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did that happen?
6. How did you meet your spouse?
7. What did your parents think of your spouse the first time they met?
8. What was/is your favorite holiday tradition?
9. Did you have any pets growing up? If you have pictures of them, add it to your journal.
10. Looking back over your life, what was your best day? Can’t pick one? Write about them all over the next few days.
11. A little negative, but important: what was your worst day?
12. Did you play a musical instrument? If not, what did you want to learn to play?
13. What are the lyrics to your favorite song?
14. Who was the first person you ever danced with? (parents not included!)
15. First kiss?
16. Wedding day? When, where, what you wore…add a picture.
17. The first funeral you ever attended…who was it?
18. Share an embarrassing moment.
19. Write about a valuable lesson you learned the hard way.
20. What books have you read that you think other should read?
21. Favorite movies?
22. What stories do you wish you had from your parents? Write that version of your own life.

Years ago, I met a mom who had five sons. Instead of spending the evening in front of the TV, she, with the help of her family, recorded the day’s events in a journal. I thought that was a good idea. I’ll admit, even as a writer, I never made that a daily event and oh! how I regret that.

It’s not too late. Start writing now.

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What happens when you take an early winter walk with your children and they want to look for frogs?

A story is born!

Every writer remembers those moments when a story smacks them in the face. Sometimes it’s the full story, other times it’s a scene or just a theme. For Frog’s Winter Walk, it was a conversation with my youngest about why frog’s didn’t come out to play during the winter.

And now the story is ready! The words are polished, the illustrations are amazing, and the book is complete. Take a peek.

Click on the picture to Peek Inside!

Click on the picture to Peek Inside!

Amazon has lowered the price by 27%, so if you are looking for a picture book for less than $10.00, today is your day.

My day is fully blessed! I pray that your day is as well 🙂

Peace!

Jessica

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With one week left until the release, I’m doing my best to follow through with my marketing plan. It’s not easy, as I’m also potty training a three-year-old 🙂

Here’s the link to the Goodread’s Giveaway. While you’re there, look around at other giveaways. It’s a great way to find new authors, new stories, and old favorites. If you do win a copy, please do leave a review.

An Inquisitive Nature II_cleaned

Sarah Aman is an up-and-coming artist – watch out for her!

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Are you looking for something that will help you pass the time? Want to avoid overindulging in technology? Looking for a low-cost treasure to leave your family? Have too many thoughts in your head that if you don’t find a way to organize them you might actually explode?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any (or all) of these questions, then the answer to your troubles lies in journaling. It’s not a new concept, and it’s not even a lost art. With the onslaught of blogging (online journaling for the world to see), many people are writing.

But blogging is not the topic here. Hand writing in an actual journal filled with paper (lined, graph or blank) is the focus. Hand writing anything longer than a post-it note IS becoming a lost art. What once was an art form in calligraphy, is now being featured in museums as an ancient ritual. Okay, not quite, but our society is heading in that direction as more and more classrooms aren’t teaching cursive as computers are replacing handwriting. (That’s a topic for another blog and yes, I recognize the irony.)

writing pics 009

Here is what I know to be true about computers: they are fast, can store more information than I will learn and forget in my life time, and are more affordable every day. I write on my laptop. I edit and format and email and communicate on a computer. If the world ever loses the Internet, I will be one of the many who will (momentarily) feel like a part of me has died.

Here is what I know to be true about hand writing: It’s slow, I don’t always write neatly, I lose papers faster than I can type (and I type pretty darn fast).

However, when I take pen to paper, I’m not limited by the formatting of MS Word. I usually write on graph paper because…well, I’m not sure why, but I do. My brain pictures stories in graphic organizer-style, so hand writing my initial plans for a story is better because I can easily rearrange papers, spread them out on the living room floor until I have them in the right order.

When I begin a scene for a novel with pen and paper, the slowness of my writing allows me time to gain a better understanding of the vision of the scene. When I transfer that scene to the computer, I automatically edit it. The result of the two-step writing process is slower, but the result is a more finely tuned story.

That is the beauty of journaling – it’s slower, giving you more time to think about what you are writing. Because it’s in your handwriting, the slant, the cursive, the stroke of your pen tells just as much about you as your words do.

Journal is writing is so much a part of my day that I include it in many of my stories. Jack Elliott, a character from Unforgettable Roads</em>, uses journals to capture his memories before he loses them all to Alzheimer’s. Frog Pondswallow, an amphibian character in my upcoming children’s picture book, Frog’s Winter Walk, uses a journal to capture his thoughts as he foregoes hibernation and sees his first winter.

These journals are not your “Dear Diary” teen angst books. They are places for you to explore new ideas, draw pictures, work through problems, track your diet and exercise (or lack of). Your journal can capture trends in your thinking, expose strengths and weaknesses. The pages of a journal are a safe haven for expression, for exploration, for growth.

Jack Elliott uses cheap spiral notebooks. If he’s like me, he buys them by the case in the Back-to-school season when they are 10 cents apiece. I prefer hard cover, spiral journals with lined paper. I feel like a lottery winner when I find a hard cover, spiral, graph paper journal – and I buy two!

Tips for Journaling:

1. Take time either at the beginning of the day or the end of the day and make a few notes about what you experienced. You don’t need to re-hash it all on paper if you don’t want to. It can be a simple line, like this, “Such is the power of a humble heart when a manager confesses making a mistake and works side-by-side with employees to rectify the situation. My admiration for such people is great.” It’s clear by this statement that something extraordinary happened at work. You can add details or not, but the outcome is captured on paper. Humble hearts rule.

2. Carry your journal with you. I like purse-sized journals, but I usually buy purses to fit my larger notebooks. When I’m out and about and a story idea strikes, I’m always prepared. Not a writer?

3. Use a pen that is comfortable. With all the ergonomically correct things in the world, find a pen that suits your hand. It will be worth the purchase.

4. Need idea of what to journal about? A list is coming soon.

Happy Journaling!

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