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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Blogging as a Form of Journaling

Blogging as a Form of Journaling

I was feeling pretty low this weekend, uninspired and uncreative. I’m working on a first draft of something, and it’s really rough. I also didn’t feel like blogging. So I decided to cheat and look back in my files for something I could recycle. I opened up a folder of blog posts from 2010 and stumbled across something that was just what I needed to read.

I don’t keep a diary or journal. Never have. Or, at least that’s what I thought. But it occurs to me that this blog is a sort of journal. Old entries can be a comfort in difficult times. Like this one, from June of 2010, when I was also struggling with a first draft …

***

Decision PointI have one more chapter to write in my WIP – maybe two – before I run out of planned material and take a leap into the unknown. 

Okay, maybe it’s not as dire a decision as the one indicated on this sign (which my husband photographed on a recent business trip to Aspen.) I mean, I don’t *think* death can result from writing a novel without an outline … 

I have a story idea – a mystery, a romance, and a little history.  I think I know how it will end.  I have the various nuts and bolts: two caged graves, clues in a diary, lost treasure, a swamp, legends of the undead, poison, and war.  I probably have more than I need, and when I’m done, I fully expect to find some unused parts laying around.

Because I don’t really have the plot hammered out yet.  And I’m not sure I can plan it out too far in advance, because my characters have their own ideas.  I have found that if I give them the space and time to develop, my characters may lead me down unexpected paths. (Hopefully not that path marked with the skull and crossbones, though.)

Writing a new story is an adventure, a leap into the unknown.  And as a writer, I should be prepared to take some false paths and maybe even discover that the story I planned is not the story I’m going to write. This is good, because creation = chaos.

***

Of course, the story I was working on was The Caged Graves, now a published novel. I’m glad I have these “journal entries” to re-visit. They help me remember that I’ve been in this place before. I’m sure I’ll be in it again. Writing is a roller-coaster, and sometimes you feel the high of writing perfect words … and sometimes you plunge into the depths of insecurity. It’s all part of the process, and it’s a good thing I’ve recorded it.

14 Responses to Blogging as a Form of Journaling

  1. Hilary says:

    Hi Dianne – love the sign … brilliant hubby captured it for you … and am glad you’ve realised finished novels appear .. but the soup is required first .. cheers and here’s to more creativity – Hilary

  2. Tiana Smith says:

    I love the idea of blogging being like a journal. I wish we could really talk about ALL aspects of the journey, but alas, some things are better kept in private 🙂

  3. All those doubts, and the story came together anyway.
    I have to know – what was past that sign in the photo?

  4. I commented earlier, but it didn’t take…
    All those doubts and the story turned out great anyway.
    And what’s beyond that sign in the photo? A den of bears?

    • DianneSalerni says:

      Hubs says that from that point, skiers can take a marked trail down the mountain OR ski through the woods on a ridiculously steep incline with no trail to guide the way.

      Huh. That does sound like writing a first draft without an outline, doesn’t it?

  5. DL Hammons says:

    I’ve always considered my blog as a pseudo-journal — chronicling my writing journey. I regularly look back at my old post. It provides a sense of motion. 🙂

  6. It’s nice to know that no matter how hard it is, you know you’ve done it before, and can do it again. And might I say, all those bits and pieces came together beautifully! =)

  7. That’s such a cool post. And look where you are now. I know you’ll figure it out.

  8. It’s always such a risk, isn’t it? I mean all that time you’re going to invest, and if it turns to be rubbish, then what? Also how do you know it’s rubbish? We’re our own worst critics.

    I just went through a horrid experience with a manuscript. I thought I’d never make it work. I’m still not sure it viable, but I have some severe critics who will be letting me know.

  9. mshatch says:

    “Writing a new story is an adventure, a leap into the unknown. And as a writer, I should be prepared to take some false paths and maybe even discover that the story I planned is not the story I’m going to write. This is good, because creation = chaos.”

    I love this! Especially the bit about those false paths. I can’t count how many I’ve gone down…lol.

  10. Julie Dao says:

    I think about that a lot too, Dianne. Our blogs really are snapshots of our writing lives! It’s fun to go back and read entries where we struggled with (and overcame) whatever we’re going through now. You’ll get through this draft, no problem! You’ve done it before!

  11. Cynthia says:

    How nice that you have these little blasts from the past to inspire you. Someday I’d like to revisit the earlier parts of my writing journey too, but I can’t right now, because I am currently in the “early phase” in my writing.

    You’re right- writing is like leaping into the unknown. As I’m writing/ revising my WIP, it’s becoming really different from the draft it was when it first began.

  12. Joshua David Bellin says:

    I love this quote from the post: “I’m not sure I can plan it out too far in advance, because my characters have their own ideas. I have found that if I give them the space and time to develop, my characters may lead me down unexpected paths.” Totally true, and it’s why we need to trust our characters when we hit rough spots. They’ll find the way out.

  13. ChemistKen says:

    Sorry you weren’t feeling inspired this last weekend. Hopefully things will improve soon. BTW, that picture your husband took looks like it good be the seed for a good story.