How To Journal Your Way To Stronger Scenes – Dear Diary

Photo by lusi

Photo by lusi

As a young girl I stayed up late whenever I could with a flashlight under my blanket so I could write in my Diary.

That diary heard all my tales of childhood woe and celebration. I didn’t think anyone would read it, so I poured out my heart. Word after emotional word.

A few years ago, Susan May Warren, got me to thinking about the benefits of journaling for writers. It brought me back to my diary days and the thoughts below.

There are some powerful things about writing in a diary or journal that we can use to journal for our stories. If we look at those diary entry days and apply some of the principles to today’s journaling, we can make our scenes stronger.

What makes your ‘Dear Diary’ journal times capture the moment:

*Written in a favorite place. When I wrote in my diary I always picked a favorite place, or a secretive place. Those were places without interruption that allowed me to think.

*Written in a place with no judgement. When I wrote in my diary there was no worry about censure. These were carefree thoughts and emotions, written without care for editing.

*Written to tell not only what happened, but how it made me feel.  Diary’s are all about emotions. Since they are usually secretive, there is no worry about speaking emotions freely. They flow onto the page without pause, making them more authentic and vivid.

*Written to capture only what the Point of View author is thinking. The entries focused on what mattered to me, since it is journaled from my point of view.

*Written to show other characters in the way that I viewed them. This adds depth to the story of my life as I see it.

*Written to show my values, goals, and challenges. Reading my diary you could learn what I valued, what some of my goals were both short and long term, and the challenges I faced to reach my goals.

*Written to show who I don’t trust. In my diary, I’m completely true to myself and the opinions I have about others. Reading it would tell you who I trust with my most prized possessions and who I wouldn’t trust with pocket lint.

Journaling your way to stronger scenes can be done by using some of the same techniques we use to write in a diary. Try some of the tips above to add strength to one of your scenes.

What journaling strategies do you utilize to create stronger novel scenes?

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About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

8 thoughts on “How To Journal Your Way To Stronger Scenes – Dear Diary

  1. Hi Michelle! Great post! This reminds me that I need to get back to journaling. When my children were younger and I had to wait in long pick-up lines or wait for their music, dance or soccer lessons, I would journal in my car. When I sat there with no distractions it was like my secluded bubble and I’d journal about the day, the week, write poetry, and brainstorm plot lines. Instead of dreading the wasted time, I came to LOVE my “down” time. Now that my children are grown and driving on their own, I don’t get this “down” time any more and I miss it.

    Last spring I craved this “car” time so I drove to an empty parking lot near our park and turned the car off. I got that journal out and wrote for a few hours, feeling HIGH off of my alone time, but when I decided to return to my busy life my car wouldn’t start. I’d forgotten that my lights were on. They turn off when I open and close the door, but I hadn’t left my car. I had to call my husband to give me a “jump.” He said, “Where are you?” It was a little embarrassing to say I was in an empty parking lot downtown. Try explaining that one. Ha!

    I hope you have a great writerly week and meet your goals. Hugs.
    Michelle

    • Michelle Lim says:

      Thanks for sharing that story, Michelle! You are amazingly brave. I can just imagine what your husband was thinking, but then us writers are a bit different. Have a great week, friend!

  2. dtopliff says:

    Good stuff. I don’t journal on a regular basis but at least record special times/impressions.

  3. laurie says:

    This is perfect, Michelle! Thanks for sharing. You’re spot-on!

  4. Great post. I journal in my Jesus Calling devo and it’s so interesting to see what was going on in my life a year ago on that date. Sometimes I journal in my Emo book as well, but not nearly as much as I should.

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