Monday, May 19, 2008

Journal Wreckage

In my continual struggle with the perfectionism that was handed down to me through the ages from first born to first born to first born, I have always struggled to actually finish writing a story. I often begin composing a piece and then decide that because the story is set in Las Vegas during the 1950’s that I must research every aspect of the area, the mob involvement, the atom bomb parties, etc. Soon, I get bogged down in all of the petty details and I forget who my characters are and why they were in Las Vegas during that time frame to begin with. The creative writing class that I recently took was a good first step in breaking that nasty habit, but I continue to work on this aspect of my writing. The other day, I was sitting around trying to come up with some good exercises in training my brain to just write and leave the editor out of it to begin with. Then it dawned on me – I already own a fantastic tool for just this type of training. This tool was given to me as a Christmas gift. My mother gave me a journal. But this is no ordinary journal. It is called Wreck This Journal and it was created by Keri Smith. Having been raised with a very healthy respect of books, this book was at first quite intimidating. Rather than being a regular journal with blank or lined pages on which to record your innermost thoughts or the happenings of your day, this journal comes with detailed instructions on almost every page as to how to destruct it. Yep, that’s right, I said the journal has instructions for destruction. Instructions such as “sew this page”, “bring this book in the shower with you”, and “collect your pocket lint – glue it here” are enough to give any journal lover a heart attack. The benefit of having a book like this for me to work on is that I will be forced to be “imperfect.” One of my favorite pages is the one titled “Space for Negative Comments*”. The note at the bottom of this page reads “*what is your inner critic saying?” I have a feeling this might be the page that fills up first, because my inner critic can rage out of control. :-) Another page which will encourage my more creative side is the one which says “Write Carelessly. Now.” I have already started making some entries in the journal, although I haven’t exactly brought myself to do any of the really, really destructive things. But it will come. I look forward to seeing how this tool will release my inner creative self and force my inner editor to take a back seat for once. One thing I’ve already tried to explain to that pesky editor is that this does not in any way mean that she is being fired – only demoted. :-)

(If you are interested in getting one of these wonderful journals for your own use, you can order one online from Amazon.com by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/Wreck-This-Journal-Keri-Smith/dp/039953346X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211239759&sr=8-1 Enjoy!)

1 comment:

Yvonne Root said...

Your writing and your smile are both top notch as far as I can see. Of course, being the mother of the author and the frequent reason (just teasing again, Mom) for the smile may make a few folks think that I am a bit biased.

Toot, toot! That is not true. For those who may be wondering -- the red pencil I seemed to employ without mercy and the loud and jubilant passed-on-laugh are why I have the great joy of saying, "That is my daughter and she is simply wonderful!"

Oh, BTW, I loved this post and fully agree and understand. Well done!!!