Hey cHEwY gum gums!
It’s been a refreshing school holidays for me, as I recharge my batteries after an intense book season. One of the things I like to do in my downtime is to pause and reflect over the last few months and jot some thoughts down in my own version of The Chronicles of Ollie 🙂
I’ve never kept a diary or journal before, but when I first started my writing journey back in 2007, I decided to start one. It was called cHEwY creations, and it was going to be more of a scrapbook. Rather than write down daily or weekly entries, I was recording key events and milestones. I didn’t know how long I was going to do this for, but I’m now up to Volume 5!
Over the last 12 or so years, I’ve cut out programs, maps, souvenirs and momentos that have shaped my writing journey. And I think that this has really helped my writers life, not just in terms of my actual writing but also in general.
Reflecting over your own writing life helps you gain perspective. I flick through the first volume, to see the wins and setbacks that I had in my first year of being a writer. I’m humbly reminded that I started from the bottom…this was my opening entry back in 2007.
I recently wrote a blog post about writing and anxiety, and one of the ways to overcome those anxious thoughts was to write out those feelings. It’s also about trusting the writing process. It’s nice to track my journey from book to book, riding the emotional roller coaster and seeing that I did make it out of those tough times.
Another reason I love keeping scrapbooks is to hold on to the good times! Uploading pictures onto social media and doing blog posts are great because the Internet never forgets, but there is something special about being tactile and tangible with memories. Little things like a handwritten letter from a fan, an illustration from a famous guy like Chris Riddell or a visitor pass from a school visit can evoke deeper memories than a mere photograph could. I guess that’s why so many people cling onto some kind of physical media, whether it’s a book, video game or CD, it’s the memory behind the object.
The things I write in my scrapbook are pretty raw. But don’t expect them to spill the goss on people or be bombarded by doom and gloom. There is plenty of disappointments but no bitterness inside my chronicles. As I think about what my old uni friend said, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened’
I may not have as much free time as I used to with my journals. You should see the first few volumes when I went all out with my crayons and pencils haha. But I still cherish them, because at the end of my writing journey, I plan to do a whole lot of smiling and laughing, flipping through these scrapbooks.
So if you are writing, I would suggest keeping a journal/diary/scrapbook/blog post because it’ll help more than you know. It may not make your writing dreams come true, but it does help you visualise them 🙂