Can We (as writers) Have Too Many Journals or Notepads?

Small sampling of my journals and notebooks

Small sampling of my journals and notebooks

I enjoyed all the responses to my post last week about personal libraries and how many books we have, don’t have, need to get rid of, and so on.

On a similar track… I’ve always enjoyed journaling and my mom and friends know that, so I’m always receiving beautiful journal books for special occasions.

I can use journals for:

  • Personal thoughts
  • Notes about individual novels I plan to write (someday)
  • Short stories that need to spurt onto a page
  • Travelogues
  • Trip planning
  • Story idea collecting
  • 5-year journal for brief snippets of my day
  • Morning pages
  • Poetry
  • Personal growth (some journals come with daily exercises)
  • Wines I’ve tried
  • Books I want, are recommended, have read, have reviewed…

I also have a collection of various types of notebooks and note pads and use those for writing workshops, writing group exercises, conferences, and so on. It’s difficult to pass up back-to-school specials on some spiral bound notebooks or pads of paper – so I have a lot!

Do you find different uses for different types of journal books, notebooks, and note pads? Do you have a favorite type of journal or notebook that you use most often?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

How Do You Manage Your Personal Library?

too-many-books-too-little-time-to-readNo matter how many times I downsize my library, it still seems I have an abundance of books to read.

Not that I mind at all, of course, but space is an issue.

I spent a good chunk of Sunday sorting through all my books, yet again, because I really needed to finish unpacking (moved at the end of Aug and still had boxes upon boxes).

There were boxes of books in my new placet and also in a large outdoor storage unit that I’ve downsized to a small indoor one. It’s crazy.

If I still had my home, my library would be at least 2 of the 3 bedrooms, with piles of books in every other room, too. As it is now, I share space with a roommate, so have very limited shelf space.

In sorting, I discovered a few categories of books:

  • To read and review
  • To read for pure pleasure
  • To read for personal development
  • To keep for reference / research
  • To keep because they are signed
  • To keep because I’m mentioned in the acknowledgements as editor
  • To keep because I want to read them again “some day”

I think it’s too many categories and still too many books, but I feel I’ve trimmed my personal library down to the minimum. Many books need to remain boxed and put away – but at least I know what’s in each box now!

I have my car’s trunk full (literally) of books to donate. As long as I know someone might read them, I don’t feel too bad, but, still, it’s difficult to part with books that have been on my shelves and TBR (to be read) pile for years. Do you have this problem too?

I used to keep an inventory of titles I had in an Excel sheet, but that got overwhelming. I’m on Shelfari and Goodreads, and even with those easy ways to track my ‘library’ it’s still overwhelming.

If you have limited space, how do you manage your personal library? Have you moved to an e-reader to reduce paper books? Do you have books packed away? Do you keep an inventory? 

I’m curious to know how you manage your personal library. Please share.

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

It’s Thanksgiving Week – What Are You Grateful For?

This Thursday is Thanksgiving in the U.S. and many people have the day off (and some even have Friday off for a 4-day weekend).

For the most part I’ll have the 4-day weekend to do what I want, including working on my NaNo novel (National Novel Writing Month). I’m a lot behind on the word count, but I’m determined to hit that 50,000 word goal by midnight on Nov 30th. Very grateful for the quiet time!

I enjoy this time of year, in particular, to take more time to pause, reflect on the year-to-date, and to give thanks.

  • I’m thankful for my family, friends, roommate, and exceptional business associates.
  • I’m grateful for my accountability system that includes tools, of course, but most importantly weekly, monthly, and annual checkins with fellow writers.
  • I’m thankful for new writing opportunities.
  • I’m grateful for variety in many things – music, friends, work, projects, exercise routines, places to work, adventures to try, and places to visit.
  • I’m thankful for my new place – its convenience to everything important to me, its newness, layout, accessories, and size.
  • I’m grateful for technology that enables me to work from anywhere at any time.
  • I’m thankful for this blog – my co-bloggers and you readers – I’m always learning something new!

If you’re traveling this holiday – I wish you the safest and smoothest travels and hope you make great family memories.

If people are coming to your home, I wish you many hands to make meal prep easy and that you can find a few minutes to take a breath and appreciate those gathered around you.

(I’m also thankful for fleece socks, flannel sheets, new journals to write in, and new books to read.)

What are you grateful or thankful for as we approach the end of 2016?

Special note: Over the next few days, we’ll be moving nhwn.wordpress.com to nhwriters.org. If you have trouble reaching us, please be patient as the new domain name resolves. Thanks for your patience! The NHWN Team.

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a… Writer (9)

Sorry for the lean week of posts last week, readers! We’ll be better this week.

beinghappyI’m going to call this series a wrap after today. The past 8 weeks have talked about building confidence as a writer, with posts covering: early morning feel good, daily writing, eating for energy, act-as-if, focus on others, plan to avoid panic, appreciate your differences, and list accomplishments at the end of the day.

Most of these tips can be used for any aspect of your daily life, not just a writing-focused one.

Today’s tip is to soak up the good mojo by hanging around positive, happy people. I refer to it as ‘finding your tribe.’

These people can be:

  • Other writers
  • Small business owners
  • Readers (of your type of writing)
  • Locals (neighbors, people you meet at the local cafe, and so on)
  • Those you connect with through networking
  • Members of any organizations you belong to (writing & non-writing)
  • Social media connections
  • Fellow gym members, walking friends, hiking buddies, and so on
  • Clients
  • Fellow hobbyists (areas other than writing)

In New Hampshire, an organization that I find quite full of happy supportive people is Women Inspiring Women. I’ve made several great connections through networking on LinkedIn, particularly the 603 Networking Group (almost 6,000 people to connect with in the state). I also have friends with great inspirational posts all the time – Charlene and Steve. And they each have *so many* inspiring connections, that it’s easy to find a smile-along-with-a-kick-in-the-pants when I need one.

In my fiction life, I have fellow mystery author friends and connections through Sisters in Crime New England. And this month, there are fellow writers I’m meeting at NH regional “write ins” for National Novel Writing Month.

You can find your ‘tribe’ just about anywhere – they are the people you are attracted to and who are attracted to you for mutual support, inspiration, and camaraderie. They are people who can lift you up when you need a boost, hold you accountable for goals you’ve set, and be a familiar face in a crowd when you need one.

Having coffee, or lunch, or a drink, or an ice cream with someone from your tribe on a regular basis is great for giving you perspective, pulling you out of the isolation that writing can create, and keeping you looking forward to achieving and doing more with your business.

positiveenergyWe can’t all be positive and happy every minute of every day, but like honey is better at attracting bees than vinegar, keeping a positive and happy mindset goes a long way to moving forward toward your dreams than a negative and upset mindset.

Where have you found your tribe? What type of people do you turn to when you need a positive or encouraging boost?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a… Writer (8)

Moving along in a series on building confidence as a writer, we’re building on prior weeks of: early morning feel good, daily writing, eating for energy, act-as-if, focus on others, plan to avoid panic, and appreciate your differences.

This week we’re tying back into the first week where the tip was to start your day off doing something that makes you feel good. For me, I go out on my deck and greet the morning / new day giving thanks for new opportunities. Others snuggle with their children, spend time journaling, enjoying coffee and quiet… the options are limitless and unique to each of us.

create-an-end-of-day-feel-good-listToday, a way to help build confidence in your writing (or life, or any particular focus you may have) is at the end of the day, make a list of activities, accomplishments, experiences, and so on that made you feel good during the day.

This can be an actual list, a journal page, notes, a few moments meditating on the positives of your day – it can be whatever form you like, but take a few minutes at the end of your day to think back and realize:

  • you crossed off 1, 2, 3, or more items on your ToDo list
  • you wrote for 5 minutes, 24 minutes, or 45 minutes
  • you managed to edit 3 pages of a story you want to submit
  • you tried a new food and liked it
  • you caught a glimpse of the sun through a tree
  • someone said ‘thank you’ for a job well done
  • you turned a project in early
  • the man down the hall who never smiles, actually smiled
  • you have more than one thing on your end-of-day Feel Good list
  • you found the perfect gift for someone special
  • you laughed
  • you received a hug
  • you received a check
  • your cat/dog/child let you sleep until the alarm clock chimed

It can be just about anything that made you feel good. I felt good about having fleece socks on last night – they were so soft and warm. I also felt great getting 2,234 words written for a work in progress. I felt good about getting this blog post done. I enjoyed last night’s sunset. It felt good to help my neighbor with her grocery shopping.

The list can be as long or as short as you like – try to have a minimum of 3 or 5 items a day and at the end of a month read back through (if you keep a written copy) and I bet you’ll be amazed at all the good / happy / things that made you feel good become more and more related to your writing.

It’s like giving yourself a pat on the back when you focus on the good and take a moment to appreciate all that you’ve done.

What form does your list of end-of-day ‘feel good’ items take?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a … Writer (7)

Happy Halloween! Hard to believe tomorrow is November 1. Wasn’t it just March?

As I continue the series on building confidence, I’ve inspired myself to sign up for National Novel Writing Month this year (as I generally do) AND I have a story idea and time set aside to write.

It’s great to be an inspiration to others, but it’s fantastic to inspire ourselves. And that’s today’s tip — don’t compare yourself to others.

avoid-comparing-apples-you-to-oranges-othersAs with other treats (since it’s Halloween) and tricks, find the balance that works for you.

It’s fine to use other writers as role models. If you find someone’s writing that strikes you as honest and what you are striving for in your own goals, sure, you want to learn from them.

You always want to improve as a writer, so seeing what works for others helps you progress in your own career.

This tip is more about avoiding the extreme of needing to be “as good as” so-and-so. Or getting frustrated if your writing career isn’t following the same trajectory as your favorite author.

It’s also about that inner critic that comes out when you’re in compare mode and you receive a compliment.

  • Example: “Lisa, I enjoyed reading that piece published in The Best Magazine Ever.”
    • “Thank you, (stop here and enjoy the compliment) but I had to rewrite it 57 times (inner critic).”
    • “Thank you, (stop here and enjoy the compliment), but Sally Jones had 3 articles printed just last month (inner critic).”
    • “Thank you, (stop here and enjoy the compliment), but I’ve been trying for 6 years to get in that magazine. Lady Next Door got her first submission published – and she never took a writing course in her life (inner critic)!”

It doesn’t matter if Joe Jellybean submits a first draft that’s published the next day. It doesn’t matter that Patricia Pumpkin lands a 3-book contract from a 60-second pitch to someone she hadn’t even realized was The Publisher of All Publishers.

We are each unique and bring different qualities to our writing. We each have a difference ‘voice.’ Embrace your style. Work at your craft in the way that feels right to you. Set your goals and work toward them. Write ‘as if’ you’re published in The Best Magazine Ever or have landed a 3-book contract.

You’ve got this – believe that and be proud of your efforts and celebrate every accomplishment along the way.

Earlier topics covered in this series: early morning feel good, daily writing, eating for energy, act-as-if, focus on others, and plan to avoid panic.

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Building Confidence As a… Writer (6)

Good Monday morning, readers! Welcome to the sixth week of a series on building confidence as a writer, where many of the tips can be applied to any career or part of your life.

We’ve covered early morning feel good, daily writing, eating for energy, act-as-if, and focusing on others.

dontbepushedbyyourproblemsThis next one can be a bit challenging at times – I do my best, but can’t always avoid working in panic mode.

It’s exhausting and not-at-all beneficial to work and live in hurry up mode all the time.  If you start every day with a rush-rush must-get-everything-done frame of mind without knowing what that ‘everything’ is, you’re setting yourself up to be extremely stressed and on a path to failing to achieve the success you want.

Setting goals and planning out the days can help you focus on what’s important – and make sure the tasks you *must* get done are accomplished.

Having goals and planning days, as well as we can, enables us to move forward and meet deadlines.

I (generally) sit down on Sunday evenings to review the past week and plan for the upcoming week. This lets me see what I accomplished and what I missed. It allows me to decide if missed tasks are important enough to carry forward on the calendar or unimportant enough to remove from my ToDo list.

The review of the past week and planning for the upcoming week gives me control my days… for the most part.

I mean, we can’t control (or plan for) everything, right? Things do happen in our lives: kids get sick, cars get flat tires, trees fall on power lines, Internet gremlins eat important e-mails, calendar reminders fail, the cell phone battery dies, neighbors have loud parties into the wee hours of a work night… the chocolate supply in the house disappears.

yourockyourweekBut having a plan… having goals… having a map of where we are headed is important so that when something unexpected does come along and interrupts us, we can get back on track sooner rather than later. Without a plan or goals or a map, we’d most likely end up going in circles, retracing our steps, or moving off in a totally unrelated direction – and there isn’t any success there!

So tip #6 is to do the best you can to avoid working in panic mode.

Do you plan out your upcoming week? How do you avoid working in panic mode?

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.