On Journals

I write almost entirely on my computer these days. It’s quicker, easier, I don’t get hand cramps and I’d have to type them up eventually anyway. Not to mention how much more neat it makes my stories. This was not always the case, though.

My family got our first computer when I was ten years old. I was the last of all my friends to have a computer and most had already had one for several years. This means that for half of my life I’ve been without a computer – how I lived through those first ten years, I really can’t say. I really only discovered that I could write my stories on the computer a couple of years after we had one. From the time I was about 11 or 12 years old I’ve written pretty much exclusively on the computer. Before this time, though, I had to do it the old fashioned way.

When I first started writing stories – I don’t even remember my age – I just wrote on loose leaf. I’ve still got some of my old stories and it’s kind of fun to go back and read them. I wrote on regular paper for many years until one day – I must have been about nine years old – my Dad found this journal in the storage room:

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It was unused and he told me it was really old. The moment I saw it I fell in love with it and imagined writing an amazing novel inside. Now, there was a fight with one of my brothers over the journal. He wanted it, too. I think he just wanted it because it looked so cool to us young kids and because I had wanted it so bad. As the youngest I was really well practiced at getting my way so, naturally, I got the journal. I think the fact that I wrote stories all of the time and had an actual use for the journal helped my case.

As soon as I got it I imagined up this story and began to write. It’s a fantasy story about these two cousins who move into a house to find it is possessed and they accidentally unlock a Dark Lord’s powers. They learn that the only thing that can stop him is the Fifth Element which is crafted from the four Elemental Stones. They set out on a quest to get the four stones, but they are guarded by the elemental guardians. There is much more to the story and as I wrote more in the journals, I began to realize I may not have enough space to finish.

Needless to say, I quickly filled up the journal and had to add ‘To Be Continued…” at the back, until I could get another journal to write in. I went the dollar store with my mom shortly after to invest some birthday money in more journals. It turns out I needed five more journals to finish the story.

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After that, I was rather impressed with myself for having crafted this masterpiece and more story ideas just kept coming. My next set of journals was given to me by my parents for either my 10th or 11th birthday, I don’t remember. They were much more creative.

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By the time I was 12, I had discovered the wonders of writing on the computer and I spent my days glued in front of the screen typing away madly. My mom used to have a rule that if we wanted to be on the computer or play video games we had to go play outside first. However long we spent outside was how long we got on the computer, but all four of us kids had to share the computer time. She made an exception for me since I wasn’t playing – I was writing. My brother hated it and thought I was getting special treatment.

Two years passed and I had written probably 1,000 pages on the computer or more. Most of it is complete trash now, but I’m slowly picking through what’s there to find the good bits that I can use to craft much better formulated stories (now that my writing has improved significantly since then). As I was nearing 14, I realized I was missing actually writing my stories on paper, and so I asked for a real nice journal for my birthday. This was what my Grandma got me:

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I was so excited to get this and for a while I did a lot of writing in more journals and I loved it. It’s still my favourite way to write, but sometimes I have to sacrifice comfort for efficiency because it really is a bother to have to re-type from a journal.

Over the years I’ve written a few stories in journals, and I’ve acquired some real nice ones to write in. Two that really strike me as beautiful are the only two I have not yet written in. They just seem too good to waste on an average story. They both contain pages that are about the size of a sheet of loose leaf – if not a little bit bigger – and about two hundred pages or so. I’m waiting for a couple of real good stories to come along that I can write in these books.

This is the first and much more modest of the two:

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The second is absolutely gorgeous. It cost me $100 – yikes – but it is homemade leather, homemade paper and the pages are bound together with string. I’m not sure if I’ll ever write anything inside this one. I think it might be too nice to write in. I love it nonetheless, though, and it was worth the money just to take it out every once in a while and flip through the thick pages or run my fingers along the engraved cover. Wow, sounds like I’m making love to it or something – which I promise you, I am not! Back to the book though, want a look for yourself? Take one.

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Does anyone else love to write in journals like this? Do you prefer them to the computer?

 

Thanks for reading!

Till Next,

-Will

 

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Categories: Growing Up, Life, Writing | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “On Journals

  1. I do both. For the most part I take notes in my journal and when I get random ideas that I really have to get out. I have a journal similar to the last one you showed there. It is always awesome to write in a beautiful leather journal! But for bulk writing, always on my computer.

    • I agree. It’s much easier to type when you have a lot to write. I’ve worked so hard on my typing over the years, so that I am able to type extremely fast. Bulk writing helps when you can type about 100 words per minute. It’s much easier to keep up with my thoughts this way lol Thank you for reading and commenting! 🙂

  2. Great blog, mate! Glad to have read it. In answer to your question I draft everything in various journals. From simple notes of changes to a project, to ideas, to little excerpts that I need to add to my projects later. For my novel though, I draft it on foolscap before typing it up – I use the laptop like a final draft type medium. I think loose pieces of paper are easier to handle when I’ll be writing for a while. But, journals are great. I fill them and have a box where I keep them all. Promising myself to look through them one day.

    • Thanks bud! 🙂 You should go through them someday soon. It’s really quite the experience. Interesting to see how wrote THEN and compare it to NOW. I also notice certain stages in my writing. Take, for instance, when I was hormone-raging teenager between the ages of 14-16 or so, you’ll always find lots of scantily clad women in my stories from those days. I looked for just about everything opportunity for them to take baths, too. Then I have the stories I wrote when the Lord of the Rings films were coming out. Oddly enough, when I look back now I notice striking similarities between my stories and Lord of the Rings…. 😉 But you should read them. When you do, you can see how you’ve grown as a writer. Thanks for your feedback and answers, man! 🙂

  3. Oh, wow, that last journal is very pretty and I think it’s just gorgeous too! I’m a big journal writer too but I find it so much easier to type on a lap top than writing in a journal. I do like making drafts on paper and would always have a mini notebook in my purse to write story ideas. So, I could relate to this post!

    • Your comment ended up in my spam blocker. First time that a real comment has appeared there. I hope this doesn’t happen a lot for you, because I nearly missed it and deleted it like it was spam. Anyways, thanks so much for reading and for sharing! 🙂

  4. I like writing in spiral bound notebooks – the same kind I used to buy for school to take notes. I can take those anywhere and write…no worries about battery power or wi-fi.

    Keep up the writing! I wish I had developed the habit of writing regularly much sooner in life.

    • When I was bored in school I used to stop paying attention and start writing a story haha Now, in university, I’m so distracted trying to take down all the notes there is no time for this. Also, I don’t think it would be appropriate to write a story during class when I have to pay a crapload of money to take that class! Thanks for reading and sharing! 🙂

  5. A blank screen is far more intimidating than a blank piece of paper. I still start everything with my fountain pen, writing in a journal. Fabulous post and amazing collection of journals.

    • Thank you. I agree with the intimation bit. I haven’t written in a journal or on paper in two or three years though. It’s kind of sad, but I need my writing on the computer anyways, so it saves me of having to find some way to hold the journal open while type up its contents. Thank you for stopping by and for the comment! 🙂

  6. My notebook comes everywhere with me and I mean everywhere. Well, there are a few exceptions. You can’t bar hop with your notebook. I haven’t tried that one…yet! It’s nice to keep a journal or a notebook with all your ideas, stories, poems or whatever. It makes me feel like the inidana jones of writers. I don’t know if that makes any sense. And of course my computer harbours all of my essays and polished ideas. I like the best of both worlds so-to-speak. Lovely post!

    • “You can’t bar hop with your notebook.” That is hilarious, made me laugh so hard! And, yes, best of both worlds can be nice! Thanks for sharing and for your kind words!

  7. Maggie

    I have about a million paper journals, from the time I was in fourth grade up until now. I used to write in an online journal, but it wasn’t the same as writing on paper.

    • That’s awesome. I, too, have a lot more journals than I showed in this post. I prefer the hard back ones, though, because they make me feel like I’m writing a book! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  8. Jen

    I love writing in journals! I feel like I do higher quality writing when it’s on paper because I have to think about my words more. There’s something about seeing your work on a physical thing that you can hold in your hands or crumple up or frame forever that makes it have more weight and meaning, at least to me.

    • I love writing on paper because I feel just a little more connected…but I make so many changes even as I’m writing that it ends up being a mess. It’s really hard for me to write in journals then, because I will write a page and then go back with whiteout (or just cross out with a pen) and end up moving things around and it just looks messy and I feel like it ruins the journal… I love journals. They are too pretty to be ruined with scratch-outs and the like! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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