Writing Life

writing journals, diaries for kids, national novel writing month, record keeping families, traveling, Bermuda, France, cruises with families, Writing has always been something I’ve loved. I got my first diary when I was eight years old, a yellow book with white flowers on the cover, gilded pages and a golden lock.

Those early entries in my daisy-covered diary, written in second-grader printing, were simple recordings of my days, “I got up, I went to school. After school, Karen came over to play. We played outside. It was great!” My report-style writing evolved to reflecting on events, venting deep emotions, exploring relationships and pondering life. Recording daily details continued at a new level, and often my diaries became references for where we spent a certain Thanksgiving (settling some bets), what year we threw the 80’s party or when I dated “that guy.”

In re-reading old journals, it’s shocking to me how many things – big things – I’d forgotten, not just minutia but things like auditioning for the school play, I did that?

For my year 2000 project, I set out to transcribe all hundred-something hand-written books. While I didn’t make a big dent in that idea, as I worked, I marveled at how I could read and find myself feeling 12 or 17 again, I could instantly be back in a moment in my past. At other times, it was as if I was outside looking back in a motherly way at my younger self, I saw and experienced that memory in a whole new way, with a new perspective colored by experience.

Loving writing, I took creative writing classes, spent hours creating and carefully filing stories in a special binder, I’ve always valued record-keeping and documenting life. I numbered all of my journals, I can’t remember how many I filled without digging through Rubbermaid bins in the basement, but it was over 100. My grandmother used to give me blank books as gifts and I still get giddy running my hands over the journals at the book store (they have much cuter prints and designs now). colorful books, travel writing, kids and journals, diaries for girls, stack of books, homeschooling kids,

I wrote poems, short stories and in elementary school, I started a chapter book. With complete seriousness, I actually mailed the first three chapters to Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich publishers (now, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, not any small publisher, the big guns) and got my first rejection letter.

I’ve kept travel journals and still keep up that tradition. I recorded a high school trip to Austria, detailed a 5th grade Bermuda cruise my grandparents treated us to, wrote through my semester in London and wrote a melange of French/English during my summer in France.

I kept dream journals and wish I’d continued with this. I’m interested in dreams and have read about how to retrieve dream memory (put your body in the same position as when you woke), how to find an anchor to pull you deeper into the dream story and how to interpret your dreams (it’s very individual and personal but I still love dream symbol books). My dream diaries were evidence that I sometimes had prophetic dreams (not about anything of significance, but they had specific, predictive elements), they inspired creative writing and as I scribbled, I learned about myself, my worries and my most profound feelings.

Keeping a journal can take time and effort, and over the years, my writing has changed and really diminished with my shrinking available time and shifting priorities. Though I don’t write a journal regularly for myself woman leaning on books, young woman writing, how to write a book, how to keep a journal, interpreting dreamsanymore, when I became a mother, I started journals for my children. Now, I write less frequently but jot down milestones, cute expressions, funny quips and lost teeth. I write lengthy entries on each child’s birthday and now and then as a catch-up. I address my writing to that child and want them to hear my voice years from now in the writing. The idea is to someday give them their journals, hopefully they’ll be able to decipher my speed-script.

I’ve had many book ideas throughout my life, and it turns out that so many of them are actually ideal blog posts instead of full-blown books. This blog has been the perfect outlet for me to do some writing, to return to that childhood love and to devote time to write within my too-long to-do list.

I’m also actively working toward my childhood goal of writing a novel (I’ve had many bumping around my head for years). As I write, I’ve even referred to some old diaries for the thoughts of a younger woman.cursive writing, learning to write, spiral bound book, silver pen, writing hand, remembering your dreams, how to interpret dreams

I’ve been writing here and there, but it often gets scootched to the back of the line of things to do! I’ve committed to take on this challenge NOW – because there will never be a chunk of good, free time to start. Writing takes discipline and the conscious carving out of dedicated time.

So here I go – today I dive in. Want to join me? Do you have a book in you waiting to be expressed? Or a blog you’ve been waiting to launch? Let’s go for it!

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29 Responses to Writing Life

  1. Michele C. says:

    I love to write, but haven’t been able to pin down a specific thing I really want to write for publication. Good luck – I will be dabbling in little experiments and journal projects this year and in the future and who knows, maybe one of those ideas will lead to something greater!

    • Leah DeCesare says:

      Even blogging is “publication!” But I know what you mean. I’ve found blogging to be the perfect thing to get me more disciplined about writing regularly – but not necessarily on “The Book.” 🙂

  2. @Jackiehennesse1 says:

    I’m so excited for you! I fulfilled my dream last year when I launched my blog and a gift book series for moms. (A gift book that allows moms to laugh at themselves and their motherly imperfections!) It all started with an idea and an ounce of inspiration. I shot down my ideas for years, but because I journaled my experiences and gave it a try – I did it!

  3. Leah, I think journal writing is so valuable on so many levels, I always kept one as well and it is fun to go back and read them sometimes and definitely brings back so many forgotten moments. It seems like some people are just compelled to write, though I’ve never had a big novel idea,I just seem to have the need to write things down.

  4. Heather @ Kraus House Mom says:

    I’m working on a book (idea) as we speak. Hopefully someday it can be published.

  5. How wonderful that you have saved all your journals! I wish I had mine, but through many moves, they have all but vanished. I really need to start keeping one for my daughter, I love the idea of giving it to her when she’s older!

    • Leah DeCesare says:

      I’m so grateful to have them (one of the reasons I’d optimistically tried to transcribe them all!) but we had a flood in our past home years ago and lost a lot of yearbooks and things – but amazingly, the weekend before the flood, I had spent a little time in the basement and put all of my boxes of journals onto shelves – saved! I can’t tell you how thankful and relieved I was!

  6. I’ve been working on a book for so many years, I don’t know what I will do when I finally finish it! I find that blogging and writing fills the spaces where an idea isn’t a full blown book, or even a short story, but is a great thought, nonetheless. I wish I wrote more things down for my kids – memories of their littlest years, when sleep deprivation swallowed thoughts like black holes. 🙂

    • Leah DeCesare says:

      I’ve found that exact thing with blogging – all those topics and nuggets of “something” that I entertained as book ideas are in fact so often the perfect blog post instead!

  7. I have kept a journal most of my life. After I had kids, I kind of put it to the back burner and now, I want to start it again! I am so excited for you!!!

  8. I’ve always wanted to write Children’s Books, but just never got around to it!

  9. Carla says:

    I had an obsession with journals. I loved buying blank journals. I’d keep them hidden away until I had the perfect use for them. You are a wonderful writer and I’ve found it’s a gift that never leaves you. Glad to see you writing again!

    • Leah DeCesare says:

      Thank you so much, Carla! Blogging has been a motivating jump start – now to push myself to the discipline of novel writing … different but I feel ready and excited for the challenge!

  10. I’m so grateful for blogging because it’s the perfect way to keep up with my passion for writing! I remember when I was younger, I’d feel the urge to write a piece on a particular topic or thought, but I never really had anywhere to share it. Now there’s blogging!

  11. Megan says:

    I have also always loved to write, and kept many many journals and diaries. Now my blog is my online journal, and I truly find it very therapeutic to write as much as possible. 🙂

    • Leah DeCesare says:

      Completely agree! I do find myself editing or crafting and writing differently for my blog than I do when I scribble things into my journal, but in the act of writing it, I do find therapeutic, as well!

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