The Creative Life is a carnival ride. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Right now I am on the rollercoaster.
Thank goodness for my diary. If it were not for that little Moleskine notebook, I would be a complete basketcase. Actually, I’m probably still a complete basketcase, but I feel better about it, because I write it all down.
The days when I am completely sure I have squeezed every last drop of juice out of Johnlock.
They days when I can’t stop writing Johnlock.
The days when I have so many ideas for stories that I don’t know what to do with them all.
The days when my imagination is a barren wasteland.
The days when one comment has convinced me that my work is utter crap and I owe it to the world to never write again.
The days when a stroppy comment has filled me with so much anger and resentment and martyrdom that I am going to passive-aggressively hold the entire fandom to ransom by never publishing another Johnlock story again because frankly those bitches are all so ungrateful. (as if they’d even notice.)
The days when that novel I am writing is the greatest thing ever written.
The days when that novel is so bad I am ashamed to even walk into the same room as my laptop.
The days when reviews flood in, and I am Queen of the World and Goddess of All Writing and my ego is the size of Jupiter.
The days when the reviews flood in, and they just aren’t praising me enough, they’ll never say enough good things about me because I am so bloody wonderful, which of course means that secretly I know without doubt that I am an absolute fraud and completely useless.
The days when the reviews flood in, and I am cowering under my desk in shame that anybody could think that story I wrote is readable.
The days when I am satisfied because I have written something that I think is good. Good in the way that tapping on solid mahogany with your knuckles is good. Something that is out of my own real, original voice. Something that I am satisfied with.
The days when the fandom bores me to tears, or irritates the hell out of me, and so does my writing.
The days when I know my writing is completely stagnant, and I need to progress onto the next stage but I don’t know where to start.
And the days when I just sit down and write.
Before, or after I have written some fiction, I take a little time to reflect. Sometimes I write in my journal to get my juices flowing, the way Morning Pages are supposed to. Sometimes I write afterwards, to reflect on where I am going, on my emotional equilibrium (or lack of it).
Usually, when I have published a story, I watch the comments coming in, and try to write through my responses, the paranoid ones and the egotistical ones, the happy, the grateful and the furious.
My journal helps me keep my writing experience in perspective. There isn’t a lot of perspective about our own creativity, lets face it. We are all reared to be perfectionists, to rule ourselves out in the basis of not being Picasso, or to believe ourselves to be Dickens without needing to do the hard work. It is so hard to be objective.
My journal helps me remember that the only life I am saving when I write is my own. In the great scheme of things, this is not battlefield surgery. Or, if it is, it is on my emotions alone. That is why objectivity is important.
I need to remember that my writing is not about what other people think. It’s about me. At its very core, it is about healing my own wounds.
Even if I never publish another word, I will still keep writing, partly because it’s a compulsion, and partly because it mends my soul.
That is why keeping a journal is crucial for every creative person, whether you are amateur or professional. It reminds you of the WHY.
How do you use your journal in your creative process?