Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One Life, One Notebook

One of the things I have never been able to do as a writer is keep a separate "writing journal" - a notebook reserved just for writing ideas, inspirational quotes or notes, observations about life I think might come in handy as writing material someday, etc.  I do have a journal, and I do carry it around with me everywhere in case I want to record some fleeting thought or moment, but I also use this notebook to record prayers, lists, driving directions, and more.  Everything is all jumbled up and unorganized between its pages.

I have tried multiple times to set aside a special writing journal, or ones for certain genres of writing, or for other particular projects I've worked on, but it has never worked.  When I opened a reserved notebook, I would felt stifled by the expectation of writing a particular thing or style.  Another problem was that I didn't want to carry multiple notebooks around everywhere.  I never know when I might want to jot down an idea about one project or another, so I would have to carry all of the notebooks all the time, or carry one where I could jot down all the ideas and later transfer them to their respective notebooks later on - too complicated!  I felt conflicted between wanting to follow the advice of successful writers and wanting to find a way of organizing my thoughts and fostering my creative process that really worked for me.

Notebook collection
A collection of notebooks for keeping track of different kinds of ideas works for some but not for me!
Photo: Dvortygirl 

Ultimately, I think my "problem" has to do with the way I think about the way life and creativity work.  And now I have come to the conclusion that I don't have a problem at all!

I live one life.  I do many things within that life, including writing, but I also: study, do laundry, play board games, read (a lot), talk with friends and family, cook, laugh, make arts and crafts, clean the house, put gas in my car, etc.  All of these things make up my life, not just the parts that seem particularly creative.  In fact, if I didn't do the seemingly un-creative things, I would have nothing to create out of.

Whether or not art imitates life, it is certainly made out of the stuff of life.  Human creation is an act of abstraction from basic reality, and yet what is created also becomes part of that reality and affects it in its own turn.  (This will mess with your head if you think it through far enough - welcome to my life as a Communication major.)

I can't isolate my thoughts about writing or any sort of creativity from my thoughts about the rest of life without feeling stifled because creative thought and everyday life are inextricably linked.  They influence and create one another.  I have one life, and I write about it in one notebook.

If you're a writer or artist, what is your strategy for keeping track of ideas and inspirations?  Has it been a struggle to find the method that works best for you and your creative process?  Share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment below!  

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