Happy New Year from the Kill Zone!
Usually I start the new year off with a plethora of resolutions but this year I am mulling over just one, and it’s something I haven’t considered since I was an angst ridden teenager (which may be why I have avoided it ever since) – keeping a personal diary. I have lots of writing journals in which I jot down ideas for novels, scenes, snippets of conversations etc. but all of these have always been directed towards my fiction writing. Now I am wondering whether keeping a more personal writing journal would be a good idea or not. The impetus for my musings was reading a review of Gail Godwin’s latest memoir which draws heavily upon the diaries and journals she kept over the years. It started me thinking about writers who keep such journals and whether the process of personal gut-spilling is a useful tool in developing one’s writing craft.
Now the staid ‘Englishness‘ in me frowns upon such things – it smacks of the teenager prone to angst ridden confessions and overblown emotionalism – but on the other hand I have to wonder if this sort of exercise might be liberating. Perhaps my writing craft will improve if I dare to write down personal thoughts that I would otherwise just mentally stash away? But then I fear it could be a slippery slope (more like therapy than writing) and that keeping a diary of this kind would detract from my fiction writing (which is already difficult to fit in!) – so I thought I would throw open the idea to the Kill Zone community.
What do you think about writers who keep personal journals? Do you? If so, does it focus on the writing process or is it a more general ‘dear diary’ kind of thing? Is it helpful or merely self-indulgent?
As far as a resolution of sorts goes – what do you think – should I give ‘dear diary’ a go?