Writers Abroad Blog
For Your Eyes Only
Posted by Jill Brown

For Your Eyes Only

Through my angst-ridden teen years and my idealistic early twenties, I kept a diary which I wrote almost every day. What I wrote was private. Purely for myself.

Some diaries were sold with locks on. Or zips. Not mine, but Id shudder at the thought of anyone else seeing their contents. I drew in them. I wrote long sentences with no time for punctuation, except a clutter of exclamation marks. I made confessions. I poured out my soul. Every emotion was exaggerated and tears often smudged the pages. Those tears were as secret as the thoughts and dreams Id laid bare. My diary was sacred, as important as my life.

From my earlier diaries I moved on to journals. They were much the same thing but sounded more grown-up and serious. The emotions were just as real but facts and descriptions were sometimes included as well. Then, one day I lit a bonfire in the garden and in an act of high drama burnt the lot.

After decades of keeping no private accounts of my life, a stressful period made me turn to this again and start a new journal. It helped on many levels, giving me the support I needed without seeking professional help.

Its the same thing in essence for serious or professional writers. If you wake up and write down whatever comes into your head, aware that none of this is for other eyes, there is no need for pretensions. If youre like me, its sometimes hard to share feelings in total honesty without self-censorship by word of mouth, or even by text or email or whatever digital medium I use. Nor do I wish to burden others with my negative moods. I can also be self-conscious or embarrassed about my flights of fancy. Writing in this stream-of-consciousness way is energising. Liberating. And fun!

Im trying to get into this on a daily basis, which I think some WA members already do. My preference is to write longhand in a notebook (by choice, still in bed and only semi-conscious!) Once filled, the book may go in the bin, or if Ive written on a PC, a tablet, or any other gizmo, I can delete it. I may flip or scroll through it first looking for anything interesting I can use in my fiction. The honesty of this material can have a way of connecting with the reader in a way perfectly planned material sometimes cant.

I find this practice lubricates the creative juices and puts me in the mood to write. Sometimes I write about writing, sometimes about something completely different. Other times I try my luck at our Monday Muse prompts. All can lead to something further. In this case, it led to this blog a positive start to my writing day.

And heres another writers take on it that you might want to check out: www.juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

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