Trash or Treasure it’s Yours

I recently gave a friend some advice that I realized I wasn’t following myself.

I suggested that he start a writer’s journal. I used to keep one when I was
in a creative writing class in high school. I liked it
and it was helpful at the time, so I told him he ought to do the same.  The
point of the journal is to hold onto interesting thoughts
or observations that a writer might use later.  My friend is thinking
of writing a novel but I thought the idea ought to be useful to me as a

Things that should go in to a writer¹s journal include, but are not limited

  • Metaphors and similes
  • Pretty turns of phrase
  • A starting idea for a creative project
  • Half-formed ideas
  • Observations (especially weird things people are doing on the bus)
  • Things that make you laugh
  • Anything that could go in a post, article or story somewhere down the line

The good news is I like my writer’s journal. I like feeling that
observations and ideas are not lost.  The bad news is, so far I haven’t
used anything from my writers journal in my own writing. Maybe I need
to get in the groove, maybe it is not going to be useful to me in the
short term but I can’t let these ideas go to waste.  So I’m dumping
’em off on you.  I figure my audience includes a lot of writers bloggers and
all around creatives. Maybe something here can be grist for
your mill.

Either way they are yours, use them as you see fit:

  • A sliding door made out of glass is called a “doorwall” in Wisconsin
  • It would be funny if a consultant had to advise in somewhere absurd: Hell, A child¹s imagination, the mind of a dog.
  • Trains are associated with Christmas even thought they have nothing to do with Christmas
  • Bad Acting can often be seen in: School Plays, Pornography, Action
  • Movies and Infomercials
  • The Loudness of Dress shoes
  • Small man, big hair, wide eyes (some dude at my buddies apt)
  • Women sitting alone in the window of a Thai restaurant is a visual story.  No date. Wine glass has one sip left in it. Typing away at her smart phone.

There you go world, if you can use ’em you can have ’em.

About Casey


6 Responses to “Trash or Treasure it’s Yours”
  1. CharlesHo says:

    I don’t know, to some degree if you write regularly in your blog, that is almost like a writer’s journal isn’t it? Isn’t a blog basically a writer’s journal (sometimes dramatically more professional looking)? I’ve been so lax on my own blogging the last few months due to overtime, the holidays, and other factors it’s been kinda sad, but my hopes are that I’ll get back into it next week.

    On the other hand I do have a small notebook i’ve been carrying around in my back pocket I’ve used to jot notes for the novel i’m still writing in my head (which never made itself onto paper during NaNoWriMo) so I guess I’m actually kind of using a writer’s journal, though it’s more writer’s shorthand. Is that more what you mean?

    • Casey says:

      I think a person should always have paper and pen. Always. whether it is a shorthand or a full fledged journal is up to them.

      As for a blog being a writer’s journal I think that is up to you. The challenge or question that I always wrestle with in blogging is how important or formal to make it. There are plenty of thoughts that I have that I want to keep and may one day want to use, but I would not want to put my name on and contribute to the inter-wide-network.

  2. Lori says:

    Hi Casey!

    I enjoy keeping a writer’s journal – but I agree that I seldom actually use the ideas in the journal. For me, I think it’s more of a ‘lube’ if you will. :)

    As for your freebie today – what a great writing prompt!

    Here you go…

    A woman sitting alone in the window of a Thai restaurant ponders her boyfriend (a consultant). Prior to giving herself the freedom of a date with herself to be alone – she shopped for a train. During to the purchase, she realized the absurdity a train as a Christmas toy presented itself.

    But, she supposed the child wouldn’t mind. Her boyfriend had earlier communcated with the child through a doorwall – and somehow convinced the small boy that trains were perfect Christmas presents.

    The store across the street, as she sat, aired an infomercial depicting a train with a conductor: a small man with big hair and wide eyes. She thought about how infomercials typically harbored such bad acting. Why is that?

    As the wine glass has one sip left in it, typing away at her smart phone, she heard the clip-clap of a man’s dress shoes. It reminded her of her father typing away at the typewriter – clip-clap, clip-clap.

    She really needed to get to work on that novel. She paid the bill smiling.

    (thanks for the fun!)

  3. Colleen says:

    Thanks for the story, Lori. Way to take up a challenge! It’s evocative and a little mysterious.

  4. Benz says:

    I once wrote an excellent essay about why Pornos are just like Musicals. The same contrived plot situations so that bad actors can show of their true talents…

  5. Casey says:

    I gotta agree with Colleen there you took that challenge head on Lori and it sounded great.

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