Of Course, More Books About Writing…

Photograph of one of Ronald Skirth's journals.

Photograph of one of Ronald Skirth’s journals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my great loves above writing is reading.  Sometimes I’ll read one book for hours and other times I have several going at once.  Not reading them at once, but I’ll read a bit of one and then read a bit of another.  Well, I discovered some more gems at my local public library I thought I’d share.  I’m always on the look out for a good book.

I’ve dabbled in journaling through the years.  More of an on again, off again type journaler, but attempted to journal.  Usually my results are a few entries and then it may get picked up again several months or a year later.  Well, I decided to pick up my journal again and start anew, so timing was perfect to spot the book Note to Self : On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Samara O’Shea.

I’m almost halfway through, but have enjoyed this book.  Makes me feel so much less guilty in my journal attempts and gives me some thoughts to free my mind to journal.  She says even the sporadic journal entry will shed a lot on your life through the years rather than not journaling at all.  The author is even so brave as to share many of her actual journal entries with her readers.  She even gives ideas on topics you may want to journal about if you find yourself lacking ideas.

It’s funny how small the world is and the coicidences which occur at times.  Not too long ago I saw the movie Sylvia, which had Gwyneth Paltrow playing the American writer and poet Sylvia Plath.  I  had never heard of Sylvia Plath and have been reading up about her as well as some of her works.  Well, in the book, it says Sylvia was an avid journaler and there are some of her journal entries included as well.

I’m looking forward to finishing this book and have began to start journaling at night before I go to bed.  I’m trying to do it nightly, but giving myself permission to skip a night or nights if need be.  Hopefully will fend off discouragement and plan to do what you do if you fail at dieting one day, which is just get back up and try it again the next day.  Some reasons to journal are it’s cathartic, provides some historical evidence of your life for personal reflection, and provides another opportunity to write. 

The other book I discovered was Shimmering Images : A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir by Lisa Dale Norton.  It’s a small book and is written in a good conversational tone I quite enjoy.  I finished reading it in one evening.  Thought it might give me some helpful advice as I continue to plunge into writing a couple of memoirs and personal essays.  I’m not closing the doors on fiction, but have decided I am  more of a personal and non-fiction writer.

I really like the first part of her book, which shares our right to writing truths and at the same time doing so compassionately.  This includes being soul searchingly honest with ourselves as well as not playing the blame game.  While being careful not to persecute others unjustly, we must also not overly berate ourselves.  This is probably very hard for most, as it’s often said writers are their own worst critics.  I know I’m quicker to criticize myself than anyone else.

The second half of the book she shares what she means by shimmering images, which is basically a kind of memory in your mind you can see bits and pieces of, as well as gives ideas how to fill in those memories some.    Some of the ideas are doing things like memory mapping, asking family members questions, looking at old photos, and researching what was going on in the world during the time period of your memories.  Lastly in the second part she discusses how to get to the heart of what your story is actually about, so it has meaning.

The third part of her book shares information about useful tools for the writer.  She covers such things as choosing which perspective to write from and creating scenes in your memoir, which are important in memoir writing just as in writing fiction.  There is also helpful information on imagery and ways to avoid using cliches.  This was a good book and I appreciated the examples of memoir writing included by the author.

Do you journal?  What kind of journal writer  are you?  Besides Anne Frank, can you think of any other famous journalers or writers who keep/kept journals? . . .

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vikki (The View Outside)
    May 22, 2012 @ 06:36:52

    At the moment I’m reading “Writers and their Notebooks” by Diana M. Raab. Now, I was passionate about the benefits to the writer for having a journal before this book, but now, after reading what other writers have to say about it, I’d encourage ALL writers to keep a journal! 🙂

    Xx

    Reply

  2. dawnreneefreelancewriter
    May 25, 2012 @ 07:44:02

    I wrote in a journal as a child and a teen to the point where I had about 6 or 7 journals that covered all those years by the time I was an adult. Sadly, I threw them out at one point! How I regret that! I suffered from writer’s block for many years as an adult, only recently breaking through it about a year ago, and I’ve thought about it but haven’t taken it up again.

    I’ve felt guilty about the fact that I’ve become so sporadic about it that I thought, “If I’m not going to be consistent, then why do it at all?” Your post has given me some food for thought about starting back up again and sticking to it, no matter if it’s every day, once a month, or every five years.

    D

    Reply

    • creativityorcrazy
      May 25, 2012 @ 10:41:22

      I’m glad and I’d say go ahead give it a try. It has helped me to not be so hard on myself thinking of it that way. So far I’m doing pretty good since I started back, but have often skipped a couple of days or so.

      Reply

  3. Susanna Hartigan
    May 29, 2012 @ 20:42:17

    Thank you for including me! 🙂

    Reply

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