Category Archives: Journaling

Writing Challenge

By Terry C. Misfeldt

One week into July 2020 I decided to challenge myself on writing. I believed I could write 1,000 words a day, so I established that as my realistic goal. My rationale was two-fold:

1) If I wrote 1,000 words a day I could craft a 90,000 word novel within 90 days; and,

2) I could hold myself accountable by documenting how many words I wrote in my daily journal. I did not intend to count the journal words in the daily total.

Through the first 18 days of my challenge I have written 22,336 words for an average of 1,241. There was only one day when I did not write anything, and some days when I fell short of the 1,000 word goal. The most words in a day were 2,995. The key, in my estimation, has been accountability.

There have been days when I was motivated to sit down at the keyboard early and crank on the sequel to my novel, Shevivor. And there was at least one day where I did not want to go to bed without sitting down and cranking out something.

How did I determine what to write?

If I was working on the sequel, I went to bed thinking about the next few paragraphs and where I wanted to take the story. If I hit a snag or blockage, I worked on a chapter of my memoirs and found it easy to craft 1,000 words about one of my life’s experiences. In other words, I always had something to write about. And there were days when I wrote in two different stints when I was motivated to write.

Enough about me.

Challenging yourself to write involves setting a goal. It is less important to establish how much you want to write as it is to maintain a regimen that keeps you focused. If you can accomplish writing 500 words a day, make that your objective. If you find it difficult to commit to a daily schedule and believe you can write 2,000 words a week, that should be your goal.

You must set your own standard because, ultimately, you must hold yourself accountable.

Keep track of your achievements. It is how you measure progress.

A lesson learned long ago is that goals must be written, or they are never attained. They must also be realistic, so even if it is 100 words a day and that can be achieved, you can accomplish it.

Goals need to be timely as well. I have been focused on mine for 18 days out of at least 90 planned, so I need to infuse persistence into my regimen to complete what I have in mind.

You can do it, too!

Writing this piece alone generated 461 words toward today’s goal.

The Journey of Writing

By Ruth Granger-Wellens

I just arrived home from a journey of a lifetime – driving to Alaska from Wisconsin! Well, my husband drove. In fact, he planned the whole trip – each route, each hotel reservation, each small tour we took to see glaciers and wildlife and – I rode along.   He read, studied, and talked to people who had done a similar trip. In the months and weeks leading up to our departure date, I tried very hard to read about where we were going.  But I just couldn’t get a picture in my head. When we started out, and as I rode along – waiting, wondering, anticipating – I realized that this trip was a lot like the journey of writing. 

 First there is the idea – like going to Alaska. As we traveled the roads, I didn’t know what was around any corner or beyond the hill or in the next town. I trusted that my husband was going in the right direction. I did some reading about the area we were in or going to while in the car, and, of course, I did a lot of observing and thinking.  I was never disappointed.

When we write, we first come up with the idea.  This is true whether writing a short story, nonfiction, a blog or a book. Then we begin the journey of writing. We have a direction to go in, hopefully with a sense of what the outcome will be, but we don’t know with absolute certainty how we will get there.  What will the characters do?  Where will the plot go?  What words will make the most sense so the meaning is as clear as it can be?  Our writing will take turns and detours, go up and down roads, see exquisite pictures, hit road blocks, and be rewritten many times before it arrives at its conclusion. 

Alaska was amazing; with hard work and good editing, our writing can also be amazing.      

Finding Inspiration

By Terry C. Misfeldt

Writing requires finding inspiration. Whatever inspires you delivers words to enliven your manuscript. Giggles from your two-year-old grandson as you transport him across the swimming pool. Warm cuddles from your four-year-old granddaughter who seldom sees her grandpa. Rivulets of rain rolling down the gutter and flooding the street. Dark clouds swirling downward counterclockwise in a severe thunderstorm as you watch a tornado touch down.

Whatever captures your senses serves as inspiration to write. When it happens, try to capture it and bring it to life in the pages of your document. Add details or fabricate them. The grandson wearing floaties and fascinated by the water flowing into the pool filter. Your granddaughter wrapped in her favorite blanket and, of course, in her favorite color. Cars ripping through the pouring rain despite a blinding downfall. Your neighbor’s trees whipping in the tumult of strong winds ripping away limbs.

If it’s hard to remember people, events, or other activities that inspire you, carry a notepad and pen with you to jot down what you’ve experienced. I have found that our mental capacity is far greater than that of any computing device on the market.

I am inspired by memories from my childhood and find that some of those incidents remain vivid decades later. One that will never perish is of the first home I remember where one closet separated my parent’s bedroom from that of my brother and me. We could walk from our bedroom through the closet into my parent’s bedroom. Hey, I was less than five years old so it was more fun than dangerous.

Seek inspiration from your family, friends, work, leisure, vacations, travel, hobbies, home life, or doing whatever you’re doing wherever you are.

Keep a journal and use it to be inspired.