Writer’s Notebook: Using Journals


I love journals. I have many of them. I get mine mostly from Marshalls. I have notes scribbled in them. And lists. I know some of you probably have a journal for your blog and a journal for your novel and a journal for journaling. In my journal one page will include my thoughts on why people should practice forgiveness. The next will be a list of character traits for my script’s protagonist. Then are a list of blogs I want to read. Then maybe a playlist. I am random. But I love that my journal allows me that freedom. I also like to rewrite the same things over and over as a way of processing the information. So I then pull out my planner to organize my thoughts into sections. I use my DayTimer for this.  I have a Filofax (3, one’s at home). I haven’t decided which one I want for which.  

I love the freedom of writing on pen and paper. Sometimes the thoughts flow out of me and I love to grab my laptop and type away. But I can’t doodle on this laptop. I have to worry about formatting. That is particularly bothersome when I write my screenplays. For those I will often pull out the journal.

Usually I write the name of the character and a colon and whatever I want her to say. Then I skip a line and write the description and action usually ends up scribbled somewhere in between. I love doing it this way. It gives the paper movement. I am not worried about formatting as I type my script. I’m also not worried about a plug or distracted by the “ding” of my mail client. I can focus on my characters. They tend to have more to say about the scene. I tend to write dialogue and description and when I type I edit out a lot of dialogue and add action. 

Another advantage to writing scripts with pen and paper is I am not thinking about how many pages I have written. I already know things will look different typed. You have to account for handwriting size and formatting. But when you write on the computer your mind can focus on page counts. You may say, that’s too much black ink and try to edit yourself. If you are like me you seek and destroy those squiggly lines. (I just did that before writing that last sentence.) I don’t have squiggly lines bothering me when I write with pen and paper. I know I am no good at spelling. It doesn’t bother me when I write with my pen. But if I type and the computer can’t figure out what I’m trying to say I get a little bit irritated. It doesn’t last long, but it happens. If I can’t think of a word I will draw a line and keep writing. I know to come back to it later. I also never type things the same way as they are written. So I can edit then. 

If you find yourself distracted by formatting, bad grammar, or horrendous spelling when typing on your computer try using a journal. They don’t judge you the way Word does. 

Where are your favorite places to purchase journals? Do you have a favorite kind of pen? Please share.

Chat with me,



2 thoughts on “Writer’s Notebook: Using Journals

    1. I’ve always admired people who could keep a diary. I didn’t have an exciting childhood or teenage years so my mom would have nothing to read. But I’m glad you did! Thanks for commenting. Hope you enjoy the blog.

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