Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Writer's Journal

When I was sixteen, a scary experience that ended up with someone sneaking into my private writings and exposing them (think teen crushes, angry moments, dreams, stuff like that) led me to throw away every private piece of writing I’d ever written or received. Diaries, letters from my aunt, short stories, you name it. And it’s why all these years later I still don’t keep a private journal. That’s about to change.

I’ve been learning how to improve my fiction writing by studying published authors. A common tool successful writers use: the writer’s journal. I’m gonna give it try. Besides, my deepest secret nowadays is where I hide my chocolate stash, not exactly earth shattering if someone finds out.


Here’s how I took a plain notebook and crafted it into my new writer’s journal.


1. I bought an inexpensive, 5.5 X 8.5 inch, kraft notebook.
A kraft cover is easier to decorate than a slick cover.

2. I decided on a white-and-kraft color scheme, and I thought a circular doodad on the front would be cool.
A mason jar acted as my circular template.

3. Now for the doodad. I fiddled around with different images and decided the word jot warped into the shape of the circle would be good.
Here I am fiddling with the jot image.

4. Now all I needed was carbon paper to transfer the outline of my word to the front of the notebook. Not having any carbon paper, I made a piece by scribbling on a piece of scrap paper with a pencil.
Scribble, scribble, scribble.

5. I taped the “carbon paper”, scribble side down, on the notebook, and I taped the jot image, right side up, on top of that. Then I traced my image.
I used a ball point pen instead of something softer so I could be sure the image would transfer.


6. My plan was to emboss the image, but first I colored it all in just in case the embossing process left gaps.
I was impressed with the quality of this opaque pen by Signo.

7. It’s a large image, so I used chunky embossing powder and embossed only a small part of the image at a time. I used the same white pen to adhere the power to the image. The result:
Done.

Hmm, next time I think I'll use a different medium. The jot image turned out kind of what I'd imagined, but up close it looks like . . . (wait for it) . . . WET ELMER'S GLUE, argh!

Is that wet Elmer's Glue or hardened embossing medium?

Overall, it was kind of a fail craft-wise, but I’m glad I tried it. Also, it’s a now a perfectly serviceable writer’s journal. I’ve already added a front matter page. (See how I did that? I snuck in a writerly term I recently learned. Front matter pages are for the stuff at the beginning of a book, like the title page and preface, but not the beginning of the story itself.)
This is the front matter page to my new writer's journal. I'm excited to start using it!

Make this day even better! Consider:


  • Check outside your home or work for unexpected beauty in an ordinary place, like an iridescent beetle on a brick wall or maybe a flower coming up through a sidewalk crack. I tried this yesterday and looked in the back yard. I ‘bout fell over when I saw a beautiful fawn, knock-kneed and fuzzy, still spotted up and down its sides. That’s what this post’s header image is. I didn’t get close enough to scare it (or get a good photo). Of course the pretty thing turned its tail toward me so you can’t see the spots, but the fawn is there, under the evergreen.

15 comments:

  1. You are so resourceful. I would have never thought of making a carbon paper substitute like you did.

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    1. Thanks, Nil. Coming from you with all your resourcefulness, that's a real compliment! I'm glad you stopped by.:-)

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  2. You are very creative. I do admire folks who keep a written journal. For myself, my brain is now hard wired to a key board. If I pick up a pen, I get writers block, and my hand get crampy, and the scratch outs are numerous, and the frustration just gets to be too much. With a keyboard - everything pours out of my brain - unfiltered! Ha - that can be a problem too, but there is no brain cramping. :-)

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    1. "Brain cramping," you made me laugh.:-)

      I am a little bit of a Luddite in that I still prefer paper calendars instead of using a digital calendar, and I write letters, and stuff like that. Gee, I should have tried a writer's journal years ago!

      Thanks for commenting!

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    2. I love that you share your failures, too. "Failure" only in that it did not turn out exactly as envisioned. Being an artist I deal with that quite frequently. It's always on to the next! 😁 tac

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    3. Oh, I prefer paper calendars too - never got the hang of digital ones. I guess I am a mix of digital and paper.

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  3. Dear Subscribers, I had trouble with Feedburner today. I don't exactly understand how it all works, but anyway, I updated and made adjustments on my feed, so if you get notification of this blog post more than once (like three times, say), it's my fault. HOPEFULLY, I didn't mess anything up. We'll see!

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  4. I like the cover art despite the wet Elmer's glue appearance. And I LOVE taking pictures of bugs, especially beetles with iridescent shells! It's awful that someone broke into your personal writing/journal when you were young. :-/

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    1. Thanks, it does feel kinda neat when I run my fingers over the "Elmer's Glue.":-)

      There's a greenish-turquoise beetle around this area that is so pretty I have to stop and stare at it every time I encounter one. Nature is SUCH the artist!

      I'm glad you stopped by.:-)

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  5. Very creative. Now all you have to do is fill it with words of wisdom. Er, it couldn't be that you've been procrastinating, could it?!

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    1. Of course it could be that I've been procrastinating. After all, I have waited until I'm older to start this whole writing thing.:-) Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I like your notebook! And hey, even if it didn't turn out how you wanted it to, you have a story to go along with it, and it still looks nice! ;) I try to have a writer's journal, to jot down story ideas and random phrases and whatnot, but I always end up with a million little scraps of paper that I then have to copy down into said notebook. :P

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    1. Your scraps remind me of someone . . . trying to remember . . . (looking up on the Internet) . . . oh yeah, it was the poet Wallace Stevens. He used to write his brilliant poems on scraps of paper while out going for walks. So you're in good company! Thank you for commenting, H.L.!

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  7. I love the work you put into designing your journal cover. That should definitely give you incentive to use it, rather than the plain cover. I love journals although I have a hard time filling them. Seriously, I have a lot of journals, mostly travel journals, that only get half filled. I keep them around though. I love the rush of memories when I read a journal from a trip I took decades ago. Have fun writing!

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    1. Thank you.:-) I can't believe how much I'm using it. It's half full already! I've found it very useful in writing thoughts down to remember them, like an idea for a crazy character for a future book, or the way my body reacts to an emotion and I try to capture the physical sensations in words. I'm glad you stopped by!

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