Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Journaling: My Hidden Catalyst {guest post by Elizabeth Rose}

Elizabeth Rose is taking a blog tour to promote her new book, Violets Are Blue, and she kindly agreed to stop off here and write a guest post for y'all to enjoy! 

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
— Anne Frank

I am a word crafter. More practically speaking, I write books. But where did this passion for the written word begin? Many have asked me this question before, and though I try to reply in a manner that is fresh and invigorating each time, the answer is ultimately the same: I journal.

The best advice I have been given on writing is to keep doing it. Just like a person cannot become a professional dancer solely through watching The Nutracker repeatedly, a writer will never grow unless he actually begins to put pen to paper. Journaling is the simplest step with which to begin, because it requires little invention on your own part (yes, I know that sounds terribly dull on the surface, but we all have to begin somewhere).

It was a warm day in late spring. I was almost six years old, and Momma and I were running some errands alone. As we strolled through the aisles in Walmart, my eyes lit on the shelf of journals. And there it was. Spiral-bound, dull pink, and with the words Jesus Loves Me inscribed on the cover. Little did I know then that this journal would be the catalyst that first inspired me to become a writer. And because she understood the cravings of my author's soul even at such a young age, Momma bought the little notebook for me.

I began writing in that little journal before we'd even backed out of the parking lot. I kept writing. I wrote about my day. I wrote about what I received for Christmas. I wrote the deepest secrets of my heart. Before too long, the journal was filled, and I moved on to another . . . and another . . . and another. Every time I began a new journal, I gave it a name and put the date on the inside cover, with a dash and a blank space for the elusive day I would fill the last page. Every time I finished a journal, I scratched the ending date on the inside cover, shelved the battered notebook proudly, and begged Momma to take me to Barnes & Noble to buy another.

My entries have changed and grown over the years. I once wrote quite simply about the events of my day. Then I started putting down my hopes and dreams for the future. There was even a period of my life when I never used my real name, and was constantly switching between all four March sisters, Felicity Merriman, Constance Hopkins, and others. (This is why that journal bears the title My Mixed-Up, Matched-Up Journal, With Pages From Me and Other Characters.) Now I write out my plans for the day, prayers, highlights of my life, Scripture verses, and secret dreams. As time has passed, I've tried to be more creative with my descriptions, more clever with the household dialogue I scribble down. Becoming a "real author" has been my life-long aspiration, and the possibility of others reading my journals when I am dead is something always lurking in the back of my mind.

I love to flip carefully through the messy pages of the six journals I have filled in the past nine years. Waves of remembrance wash over me like salty ocean swells, bringing to the surface of my memory glass that simpler time when I was a young child. I enjoy seeing how my writing has grown over the years, as well as how I have grown in my faith as a Christian. At the time I did not realize how much this record would mean to me, but now I am unspeakably glad that I wrote down even the simplest of things, for they mean more to me than gold. I dream of showing my journals to my children when I am a mama and sharing with them what life was like so many years ago.

Over the years, my writing repertoire has grown, and besides journaling, it currently includes poetry, short stories, and novels (mainly historical fiction). Though I now prefer having the power to create stories and characters all on my own, instead of simply relying on my daily activities to serve as the plot, I will never forget the pastime that first set me down on the path to authordom.

. . .

Elizabeth Rose is a follower of the Most High who seeks to live every day of her life in accordance with 1 Corinthians 10:31. She loves all sorts of books (the thicker the better), is convinced that Irish Breakfast tea is the closest thing this world will get to heaven, dances until her feet ache, stays up until all hours writing, wears pearls at every opportunity, and obsesses over Les Misérables and The Scarlet Pimpernel. In May 2012, she self-published her first book, Violets Are Blue. You can find her on Literary Lane, most likely with The Count of Monte Cristo in hand, and ink on her fingers. 


Hayden said...

This was a wonderful post! I, too, am an avid journaler- I remember I was so annoyed in the 2nd grade because I had started a diary and I was having trouble spelling words but didn't want to ask because I didn't want anyone to see what I was writing! :)

Elizabeth Rose said...

Thank you, Hayden! I'm glad you liked it. :) I can't tell you how much I relate to your scenario; when I was little, I didn't want anyone to see what I was writing. Now when I go back and read the old entires, I have to laugh at what constituted a "deep secret" eight years ago. :)

— Elizabeth Rose