Welcome to today’s version of “How A Book Inspired LA to write a Blog Post”

Today’s book: Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar.

While Akhtar considers this a novel, not a memoir, there are aspects of his real life in this book. Akhtar is a Pulitzer winning author so he has some literary street cred, so when he talks about his craft I listen.

Akhtar goes home at night and writes, with as much detail as he can muster, the events of his day. People, settings, feelings, situations….He will spend about two hours retelling his day.

Talk about a journal…

Is this the only thing besides actual talent that separates me from a Pulitzer? I just don’t take the time to write down the minutia (sometimes, not always) of my day?

Show of hands: How many of you journal? Brain dump? Morning pages? I can’t see you because I won’t Zoom, so tell me who you are.

How detailed do you get when you free write?

I do a brain dump in the morning. I tend to do a combo of things that I need to do that day and I probably obsess about one detail from the day before. There’s usually some reason I become fixated on something and eventually it probably becomes a blog. But I rarely write the whole thing- I did not talk about the smell of yesterday’s heat when I complained about it. I didn’t write down the body language of the guy I didn’t trust yesterday. I didn’t write down how I met someone for the first time and how he referred to me as Sister…

  1. Why didn’t I write these details down, when they are so clear in my mind?
  2. Should I be writing these details down?
  3. Is my lack of detailed notetaking the only thing that separates me from being a Pulitzer winner?
  4. Why have I become so obsessed with Pulitzer winners?

What do you think about writing down your day in detail?

Do you think you would benefit from it? Why or why not?

What do you think about free style journaling? Pro or con?

Write how you feel…

74 thoughts on “Write it Down

    1. I get that…I have days when I end up just writing a to do list instead of actually journaling. Those are probably the days I need to journal most. It’s hard to get in touch with yourself

      Liked by 2 people

  1. since the beginning of covid, I’ve been making daily notes about the realities of my daily life, good and bad, and are putting them into one journal to look back at. I also have always written notes, words on scraps of paper and thrown them in a box to write about later, some make it, some do not.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think we forget about how important are everyday experiences are. It’s easy to overlook the conversation with a stranger that lasts 30 seconds, or the smell from a restaurant as you walk past. But these moments all make us. Good that you’re taking the time to remember the good and the bad of your days

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny you bring this topic up. While I’m not striving to write anything of import I do rather often sit down to blog, write the post, look at it and read for mistakes…and then never publish it. Once I get the words down I suspect my brain decides that’s really all I needed-just get the stuff out in some cathartic manner and be done.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. My brain dump is weird and varied….but it does sprout some ideas (whether or not those ideas need to be acknowledged is another story) but yes…if something is on my mind at night I find that just writing it out works wonders

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Funny you should ask this now, I’m about to start on “The Artists Way” and plan to give Morning Pages a go. As I’m currently doing some teacher trainer, it won’t be until after I finish, as I find I need to focus on new learnings one at a time these days! Like Deb, I often type stuff and then find that’s enough for me & there’s no need to hit publish which is one of the reasons I thought Morning Pages could be for me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I read The Artists Way with the same intent. That’s as far as it went but I held on to the book just in case I am able to reinvent myself again and maybe start over this time with that approach as a baseline.

      Before Oprah I still thought of a journal as more like the diary or two I started in my youth that was just a place to write events of my day. By the time Miss O had popularized the broader and deeper purpose of keeping a journal, I was too far into the weeds of raising young children.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I write almost every day for myself, not necessarily for public viewing. Free writing mostly with a little poetry here and there. I have a lot of drafts here that probably won’t ever be published because sometimes I just need to write to say what’s going on in my life and process it. If I need more help or think that it might help someone else I publish. Otherwise, I just need to get it out cathartically to move on or to see the other side of the issue.
    Well a Pulitzer would be grand for you LA! I can imagine you putting it on your list and checking it off as a successfully won award! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I am actually currently in the process of working on this very thing. I do journal, yet, it is not every day, and I often forget, as you write, the specific details of a situation or event that moved me, sometimes, I forget the situation or event entirely. I do a pretty good job of cataloging the discrete insights and can recall pretty well the emotions, yet I would like to capture them in more detail. I’ve not come up with a new system yet…..more to come….is this the only thing that separates us from a Pulitzer award-winning author….no idea, maybe…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I journal daily. However, none of that inspires me to write a blog post. I consider that writing to be completely separate. Sometimes my journal writing is just a rundown of the things I did. Even if it’s not very exciting. Sometimes it’s a list of my wins for the day. Sometimes it’s a way to get out my negative feelings or to record something fantastic that happened. Brain dumps. Goal writing. Quite an assortment of things I journal. All I know is that one day, my kids are going to have a whole lot of me left behind. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  7. I take lots of pictures and videos throughout the day. The pretty flower I pass, my puppy belly up in a weird position while she sleeps, my husband during our adventures, food, drinks…and weird stuff. Photos are my version of a daily journal. But I could probably benefit from free writing and reflection.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I would only be inspired to journal for my kids to read one day after I kick the bucket.. but who am I kidding? I’m not sure any of them would care to hear more of my thoughts.. 😂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. OH OK, that is a GREAT idea. Like here’s your inheritance honey..but you have to play a series of games to find where it’s hidden..and they can’t be easy things like “the key is hidden where we keep the Christmas plates..” NOO..it has to be like “Read my 2020 diary and answer the following multiple choice questions: #1- What was the tenth book I read in the tenth month of quarantine? #2 How many pages were in that book #3 How did the final chapter make me feeeeel? OH YEAH..this is a great idea!

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Great questions! I keep a gratitude journal that I write in daily, but sometimes I expand from there and include important things, or not so important things about the day. Or I include a dream I had or some play with Tarot cards or whatever. If I get excited about a subject to write about, I add that to my writing list. Day-to-events, I use a voice recorder on my phone – quicker and easier to journal a day’s events or ideas. This always helps, but sometimes I look at such lists of mine or listen to a recording and I can’t quite remember where my mind was going with a particular train of thought. Pics ! They are helping me now remember details from last summer that I had forgotten. I don’t think you have to journal to be a great writer, but I do think it helps to jog our creativity at times. Most days, I get a creative flash when I unclutter my mind and take a walk 😁

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I never really thought about it till I read this book,but I do wonder if sometimes these brief moments in time are really important to stories and such…are they just the oomph a piece needs to bring it to life?

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Several years ago, I was busying myself prepping for a cruise down the Mexican Riveria. It occurred to me that I really don’t recall (in any detail) past holidays. I know I enjoyed myself, I know I had fun but I could not recall what I did, thoughts, and smells and what I ate, shows I saw on any given day. So on that cruise, I started journaling in detail. I read that vacation several times in 2020 when I wished for an escape. The process of journaling daily continued but I have found myself being less detailed. The day-to-day stuff seemed a little mundane so I now try to focus on the exceptions or special things that make the day memorable. The special thoughts or feelings related to that day.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. When I was in acting classes in college, a professor had us keep a journal. We were instructed to sit in public and observe. We had to write down in detail what we heard, dialogue and visuals. The purpose was to add these minute details to characters we played in sketches. I can see how that would be valuable for our writing as well. I didn’t see the connection though until you brought it up.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. This Akhtar sounds like David Sedaris. Super-detailed journals used as a basis for writing stories. My diaries now are rarely filled with that sort of detail. I’m more likely to do that in a 15-minute writing exercise. Some of that material could possibly turn into something – with a LOT of work.

    Just why are you obsessed with Pulitzers? Is this a goal of yours?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pulitzer for me? No. The kind of writing that wins awards is not my forte. But my daughters professor won one this year so I guess it’s on my mind of late

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I had never thought about doing it, but it really does make sense. It’s a great way to capture your thoughts when you aren’t writing them formally. It’s telling the story of your day…which will probably help you in the end

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Surprisingly, I don’t brain dump daily. But I do occasionally journal if I’m having a bad day. Kind of a brain dump of toxic thoughts.
    But I do like the idea of a daily brain dump. I also like the idea of a daily brain dump blog. Not a carefully curated blog.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think it’s since my daughters teacher won. I’m just thinking about the whole process…and how I think the awards are about people in a tight circle writing about certain subjects, but as my daughter is about to be taught by one I think it’s great. My inner hypocrisy I guess

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I blog about everything but a good percentage of my writing never gets published! Ends up in some dusty draft folder. When a story is going to work it sort of takes off on its own. I keep a notebook with quotes and new words I come across! I don’t write everyday but most days, editing takes up a lot of my time, I call it the comb over, C

    Liked by 4 people

  15. I’ve tried journaling off and on through the years but never stuck with it for any length of time and never ever went back and re-read stuff. I do have a five year five line diary where I record at night before bed, a short summary of what I did that day, and I occasionally look back at the previous years dates to compare. But it was a Christmas present, not something I would have bought myself.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s