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A Line a Day

2010 December 12
by Jill

On Friday, I linked to a DIY calendar/journal at DesignSponge that I think looks fun and easy. I really like the idea of documenting days, events, feelings. I’ve kept a journal, in some sense, on and off since I was six years old and my sister gave me a diary she made in school for Christmas. Last year, I wrote on the Fringe blog what it’s meant for me to keep a notebook for so long.

The impetus for the calendar above is to write one line each day–nothing flowery, nothing detailed–just something to keep some kind of memory of that day. Unfortunately, any kind of writing (beyond emails, work-related stuff, and blogging) has fallen by the wayside lately, so I like this idea of keeping it concise. A couple of months ago, I tried keeping a small record of my day, just a sentence or two, in a Google Doc. I was able to keep it up for a while, but as seems to be a pattern these days, I kept forgetting to do it, and just haven’t gotten back into the habit.

So, even if I have a pretty little box of index cards and vintage postcards, and know I only need to write down a few words each day, will that be motivation enough to write? I wonder what it will take to motivate me not only to write, but to keep writing–to make it as essential a habit as brushing my teeth or having my morning coffee.

Do any of you keep a journal or write on a regular basis? Do you have any motivational tips for getting into the writing habit and making it a ritual?

4 Responses Post a comment
  1. December 13, 2010

    This idea seems neat, although I can’t see myself actually having the time/motivation to make such a cute box of cards. I used to keep a journal religiously, but haven’t in a long time, and I don’t know how to really get into a habit.

    I did just find out about a new website called Type Trigger: They put up a new prompt every six hours, and you have 300 words or less to write something. It’s in beta until January, I think, but I have some invitations if you’re interested. I actually like it a lot so far, and am planning on using it to try to get into the habit of writing more fiction, something I’ve always wanted to do but never really have.

  2. December 13, 2010

    The thing that comes to my mind first when you say “A line a day,” is Twitter. Which may be missing the point here, but I think that there’s something to having an audience, of sorts. People get totally addicted to “tweeting” and write several lines per day, but it’s like the promise of a message in a bottle– maybe someone will see it, read it, laugh, follow you. Maybe there will be a result.

    I think some of the problems that people have with journaling (or that writers have with writing regularly, for that matter), is that it’s just for you. Or at least it is at first. I often think, Well I want to write every day this week, but if I don’t, no one will know except me! And thus begins my writing/not-writing guilt spirals.

    So…… that being said, sometimes writing for yourself is much better than writing a tweet, blog post, or facebook status update. Sometimes you just want to take your own emotional pulse, or write down something funny or crazy that happened, in the shorthand that only you will understand.

    My advice would be to find a time to do it every day, but as you, Jill, are MUCH better with keeping routines than me, I would also say as a habitual routine-breaker, find a time each week to reflect on what’s happened, and give yourself permission to fill in the gaps if you forget or are busy, etc. Like Sunday morning Week-In-Review. Okay, The New York Times has officially brainwashed my thinking.

    Good luck and I can’t wait to hear if and how these lines spur on other writing in your life! xo ~ longest commenter ev-er

  3. December 13, 2010

    I LOVE THIS IDEA! I am going to start doing it with the little journal Monica just gave me for Christmas.

  4. Raquel permalink
    January 4, 2011

    I keep a one-line-a-day diary, and I LOVE it! Have been doing it since March and it is fascinating to flip back to an abridged daily chronicle of my (rather eventful) year. I write in it at night before going to bed and it only takes about 60 seconds. These were apparently quite popular in the early 20th century and I love the idea. I like the idea of putting these thoughts on paper, because it makes a nice heirloom keepsake that the internet just doesn’t provide.

    I got mine from Chronicle Books, and it seems to be out of stock, but if you type “one line a day” into Amazon, you will find a collection of nice journals expressly for this purpose that aren’t terribly expensive. The nice thing I like about my diary is that in the back are pages for recording “Days of Note”–like my first day of my new job, my 30th birthday, my engagement, etc.

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