Friday, March 18, 2022

It Didn't Work (For Me)

The practice of keeping two journals I explored in my last post– one for personal writing, the other for works in progress – didn’t work for me. Two journals just created two problems.

First, I don’t want to carry two notebooks around with me. I usually carry a notebook stashed in backpack or purse wherever I go. Always when travelling, even cycling or backpacking. A recent trip to visit family in California and explore Joshua Tree National Park showed me the absolute flaw in my experiment. I travel light and rarely check luggage. An extra notebook was one too many.

The second problem, more important than a simple space issue, is that I am uncomfortable with what for me feels like a clumsy separation of personal and public writing. As a memoirist, and even when writing fiction or the infrequent poem, my mind and my pen flow freely between the personal and the current work-in-progress. I found having two notebooks stymied rather than supported my creative process. 

I’m currently working on a memoir of the COVID years. The working structure is in the form of letters to my grandson. As I write morning pages in a personal notebook, I may think of something I want to tell Jack, but I stop myself because I in the “wrong” notebook. By the time I get to the “right” notebook, I forget whatever it was I wanted to capture. The muse is gone.

But if I return to my one notebook protocol, what will I do with all those lovely, gifted notebooks I planned to use for my morning pages? Simple solution – I’ll use them for ALL my writing, mixed up and messy like it’s always been. I will set aside my compulsion for steno pads and use the wonderful variety of notebooks stashed away in that desk drawer.

And The Artist’s Way group with monthly zoom meetings led by an on-line writer friend? Unfortunately, the schedule doesn't work for me. The meetings are at a time when I’m giving Jack his afternoon snack or we’re heading out on an adventure – with a notebook tucked in my backpack just in case there’s a free moment to scribble.

What works best for you? Are you a multiple notebook or a one-at-a-time writer? 

No comments: