I was in the graduate lounge the other day, the place of the infamous Apple logo exchange, where I got a good amount of internet browsing done, surrounded by stacks of literary journals and other MFA program detritus.

At one point, I spotted a “Writers Ask” newsletter from Glimmertrain on the coffee table. Seeing as how I had forty minutes to kill–enough to sit comfortably somewhere and read email, blogs, and a newsletter, but not long enough to write any meaningful fiction, I picked it up.

On the first page was a Q&A with Charles Johnson. (There were Q&As with various other writers, too–but his caught my eye because firstly, it was the leading interview, and secondly, the topic at hand).

Glimmertrain asked, “When you were twelve years old, your mother gave you a journal and told you to write. Did she have any idea what she started?”

And Johnson’s answer, after first addressing the journal at hand, segued into a general philosophy of a writer’s diary/journal:

“I tell my students that it’s difficult to write sometimes, just to get to the writing, to sit down and finish a story. But if you write each day, even just a paragraph in your journal, you’re never outside the creative process. When I write fiction, I hardly touch my journal.”

Ah–so maybe there is a use to blogging after all.



Filed under Writing

7 responses to “everyday

  1. I had that newsletter issue, too, and coincidentally, that quote is the one I chose to put up on my creative writing class website.
    Have you read Middle Passage? It’s one of my favorite all-time books.

  2. hyunjini

    I missed reading your blog for the last 12 days while I traveled abroad. Catching up on your blog has been, so far, the best remedy for jet lag.

  3. writinggb

    Yes, this makes sense to me. I’ve been having trouble getting back into my big project, but blogging made me feel like I was at least somewhat engaged. Haven’t blogged for a while. Been away, and, like hyunjini, I’m jetlagged!

    Keep writin’

  4. maybe blogging for me is also hindering my writing process. sometimes i think that i should be spending more time developing my writing instead of writing blog posts. i have changed the purpose of my blog over the years to be less “journal” and more “writing” so that i could be true to what i want to write. but then, lately, i have been thinking whether i should just take this blogging time to just hunker down and write a story. i don’t know, we shall see…

  5. lucette: I have not read Middle Passage! I will have to check it out!

    hyunjini: Happy Chuseok, and welcome home! I’m glad I was part of the welcome bandwagon.

    writinggb: sometimes, a blog post can get you through the day. 🙂

    no milk: I agree–sometimes I do think that blogging interferes with my writing process…but then there are these dry spells where my fiction isn’t going well, and I have to do SOME writing, and then my blog saves me (case in point: those first few months after the stroke). Then I’m ever so grateful. It’s like the old adage: The thing you love most about a person is the thing that’ll drive you apart. Except of course, adapt it to writing and blogging. 😛

  6. Just curious, but is blogging the same as writing in a journal? Blogging has a public element that makes me self-conscious enough to censor my thoughts. When I write in a journal, I feel more freedom from wandering web viewers. However, I don’t feel as disciplined in crafting thoughts and observations into anything more than statements.

    Does this make any sense? I guess I don’t know if blogging helps my writing.

  7. I’m not sure–I do see blogging as very similar to writing in a journal, at least the way I try to go about it. I’m anonymous here (for the most part), and so I feel a bit freer to write. I know I have an audience, so I keep that in mind, make sure that there’s structure and a story to each post.

    With my diary, I also try to keep in mind that I’ve got an audience, some secret imaginary confidante. Of course, I’m lazier with my diary, not explaining things fully, and often not even fully describing things.

    But I think the bottomline is this: to keep writing. It doesn’t matter what you write or how you write, only that you DO write. And that is why journaling is so helpful–you don’t go a single day without writing SOMETHING down.

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