A couple days ago I decided I needed some stability in my writing life. A great supporter of this idea came from shopping at Target, a very dangerous thing for me. Target is one of those places where I can just shop for hours and not realize I’ve been there more than thirty minutes. I stand and ponder my purchase so thoroughly, I’ve actually had women yell at me to move. But I stand and I stare and I create the possibilities of my purchase. This last visit was no exception.
Walking through the aisles, I always manage to navigate myself toward the books, and more importantly to the planner and journal section. I love small journals. I collect them out of need and habit, and it’s so much fun! Expensive, but fun. So I’m browsing along the endcaps, and there sitting among the funky clearance jumble is a big, pretty box. Intrigued by the orange edging (I am a freak for orange anything) I lifted the magnetic lid and found a filing container. Exciting, right?! It’s sad, I suppose, to be so happy over a box I can file things in, but this is something I’ve been mulling over for weeks. How can I keep my journals in order and in the same place from now on? I was hoping to just try magazine holders, but it’s not as easy to see which journal is which and they don’t hold too many things. This filing box is not only attractive (orange orange orange :D), it is also wide enough for plenty of journals, more than I already have filled. And on clearance? MINE!
And that, of course, led to more journal buying and a consideration of how best to begin my organization montage of the evening. I began looking through all my journals and realized that I had a big mess of notes for poetry, novel notes, and novel draft chapters all in the same place with no markers. I found simple little notes I had been looking for months ago and had given up on, only to change that part of my story. I unearthed long-forgotten poems, cut in half, with the second half still floating the backwoods of my brain.
So that brings me to now, as I sit with a personally historical journal in one hand, a blank slate and pen in the other. Each new journal will have its own function, either poetry, novel notes, or novel chapter drafts, so I can look back on each one directly. And I couldn’t be having more fun with it. I’m only working on the Elaseim notes right now, and the changes through this story since when I started college are just incredible. There are pieces I forgot I had kept from the original idea, and it amazes me I can hold onto these ideas for so long and have them so seamlessly blend into my new storyline ideas. Characters morphing from one idea to the next, and who knows if they’re really at home with themselves yet or not. My idea to have Rana as a child during the fall of the Elaseim instead of an adult is a testament to how much these things can change, and why I have held back from going too much further with chapter writing.
I just wanted to share the little journey with you. It’s tons of fun and will continue, I’m sure, to be full of discovery. What kind of changes have your stories gone through over the years? How did you know when your storyline was really ready for manuscript? I’m worried I’m falling into a circle of notes and mind drafts instead of just writing manuscript and being confident in the story I’ve developed. When do you stop making changes and just write? Give me help, guys, anything will do. Thanks and cheers.