Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Adventures in Journaling: An Individual Critique of a Writing Regimen

by Chase Stanley

I’ve never had a strict writing regimen, but that isn’t to suggest that I don’t have one. It consists mainly of leisurely scribbles in one of the dozens of notebooks I keep scattered about, under my bed, in my kinky drawer (a name I gave one of my drawers that I use mainly as a place for random things that I can’t find a more proper place for), my book bag and my back pocket. This is used for convenience whenever I hear a good quote or dialogue that usually happens during my frequent eavesdropping escapades performed on unsuspecting strangers. It also comes in handy when inspiration strikes or when I need a good vent, choosing then to journal my emotions privately instead of complaining via social network.
The vast majority of material captured within the confines of these literary binds are merely scribbles and brief ideas in which I write with the hope of one day turning them into the next bestseller or the movie of the year (I’ve had my acceptance speech memorized since I could talk). But they inevitably never live to see the light of a Word document. This is one thing I do hope to change in this coming semester as I am expected to get on a much more regular and habitual writing regimen.
The journal is a good place to start, serving as a convenient place to jot down the inner workings of the brain before the brain chooses to forget. But it’s easy to tell yourself you’ll come back to it. As time lives up to its natural tendency and speeds by, the emotional significance of whatever it is you wrote inevitable becomes invalid and thus useless to the ego of the writer. To reiterate, the journal is a good place to start but one must act quickly, utilizing the contents in the formation of what could hopefully be something grand. That is what I hope the teachings of novel writing will help me with. Acting quickly and developing a momentary brain spasm into a completed work I can take pride in.
I’ve had writing regimens before, but they’ve always been passed onto me by different writing instructors and only completed out of fear of a failing grade. The habitual act of constantly writing for the mere sake of writing comes and goes, though the process of utilizing a handy journal remains. I still develop scenes, focus on imagery (though at times a bit too abstract), jot pages full of nothing but conversational dialogue and developing events that serve to transition from scene to scene. This needs to be regular though, and extend beyond the classroom and after I graduate.
By forging the habit of frequent writing, I could hopefully, in theory, make inspiration a little more regular. I could make my details pop more and transform this moderately optimistic reality into that of cynical humor (dark comedy being my preferred area of focus). It is an experiment to be conducted. 

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