A New Year of Writing

The latest entry in my Writing Journal with my new pen and a cup of tea.
Getting ready for the New Year


I’ve made it through 2018 and it was a hell of a ride.

This past year, I managed to finish the first draft of a novel that I’m still excited about and eager to complete. I’ve made good headway into my first rewrite after rejigging the outline and synopsis numerous times, each time paring away the excess, digging into the meat of the story and falling in love with my characters.

Even though I’ve been alone most of the time, I haven’t felt particularly lonely. I spend my day with friends and enemies on the page and it’s surprising how much comfort they give me, which is, I suppose, a way of loving myself.

In December, I met a few women as interested in starting up a local writer’s group as I am and we will meet for the first time on the 16th. Maybe we can even encourage a few others to join in.

I signed up for a course at George Brown College which is the first in a series of courses leading to a certificate in Editing. I’m nervous and excited at the prospect. I love learning and school and the stationary gathering that precedes it.

Do you see the large black disc bound notebook in the above photograph? That’s for school. It’s so much nicer than a binder and so much more personal than a laptop. We’ll see how long I get along with my computer before I cave.

Lamy Studio fountain pen lying on my Writing Journal opened to the latest entry
Lamy Studio fountain pen in 2017 LE Racing Green.

The pictured pen is my current pride and joy. It’s a Lamy Studio fountain pen in the now discontinued 2017 Limited Edition colour Racing Green. It’s slim and heavy and sleek and lovely. I can’t write at length with it because my hand cramps up due to my death grip habit but I love it anyway. Right now, it’s filled with Jacques Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor fountain pen ink which is a lovely colour although I’m unsure whether I’m attracted to it for the colour or the name. Emerald of Chivor. Emerald of Chivor. Try saying that without conjuring images of manner houses with drawing rooms.

As part of my New Year prep, it’s now time to clean out last year’s planner and get ready for a brand new set of unmet goals and unchecked checklists. And the smell of new paper and unnecessary stamps and stickers. Off I go!

Snapshots

I’ve finally gotten into the habit of carrying my writing journal with me wherever I go. In fact, I feel out of sorts without it which I take as sign of growth as a writer. When I have a moment or two, on the bus, in a coffee shop, at restaurants waiting for my food to arrive, I take a few snapshots.

Snapshots are small bits of location specific text, much like snapping some pics on your phone when you run into something interesting. Sometimes, these snapshots will be incorporated into existing stories or spark the beginning of a whole new story but even if I never use them for anything else, I consider them vital to percolating some creative energy.

I’ve printed out specific sheets for my discbound journal for taking snapshots with a small amount of space for each one to force me to distill my thoughts and I include location and date to help jog my memory later. If this is something you’d find useful, feel free to download my Lecture Notes printable in PDF and give it a try. It’s in a half sheet format 5.5″ x 8.5″ – a journal size I find small enough to carry with me and big enough that I don’t feel cramped writing in it.

Here’s an example from an afternoon visit to a local pub:

Location: Albatross Pub. Date: April 20, 2018

Everything is some shade of honey – clover, orange blossom, buckwheat wood heavily coated in resin. The beers on tap are red ale, pale ale, lager and Guinness.

And this one from a writing session at a local branch:

Location: Mimico Public Library. Date: April 26, 2018

The buzz of the lights, feet padding up and down the carpeted aisles, zippers being zipped and unzipped, the shuffling of chair legs.

They’re not Shakespeare and they’re not meant to be but I’m often surprised by the tiny details that emerge and how even a single word can be the inspiration for something big. Everything is material.