When you’re writing, whether it’s a short story, a novel, or a poem, do you pay attention to what is going on around you when you aren’t writing? Sometimes I’ll write down what I hear/see in my journal for later use and sometimes I don’t. Most times I remember. I know what you must be thinking. “How can you remember all that?” Well, I don’t. It isn’t until I’m writing a scene, and what I’m writing triggers a memory of something I saw or heard, then if it fits the scene, I use it. But, most often it’s only snippets of a conversation or something I saw that I end up using. Journals are a wonderful thing though and can contain a treasure trove of useful info. Take what you can from real life and mold it like clay.
The pictures below of are my journal for my novel The Triunix of Time. As you can see from the warn tabs and such, it’s been used quite a bit.
When I was in the U.S. Navy Reserves back in 2005, I did my annual training on the USS Bohomme Richard LHD 6. At that time smart phones weren’t really a thing yet. A lot of my friends including myself had the flip phone and there was no camera on it. So, when I went on this AT, the ship sailed from San Diego, CA to Seattle WA. Since I didn’t have a camera on my cell phone, I had to take with me a couple of disposable cameras. Well, I really wish I had taken more of those cameras because I ended up running out of film. Here I was sitting on a park bench looking out over the bay in Seattle watching cruise ships and viewing the vast and majestic Mt. Rainier feeling the light breeze and enjoying a rare blue sky and sunshiny day, and I had no camera to capture it all. What did I do? I took my journal out and painted my own picture of it with words.
Think outside the box here. Do this your way. Free write this description and get down any and all words you can that describes everything you see and go back later and cut and change what you don’t want. On the other hand, you can slow down, breathe, enjoy the fresh salty air floating up off the water being carried by the breeze. Close your eyes, listen to the sounds, smell the scents and then take out your journal and pen/pencil and ‘paint’ your picture(s). You will be surprised at what your brain comes up with. These two methods are what works for me, but I much prefer the latter.
Keep this and all writings you have because they can be used later in a short story or a novel or two. Doing this also allows you to see how you’ve grown in your writing as time goes by. I recently went back to one of my journals in which I ‘took a picture with words’ and reread it. It was from a vacation I took with my husband and kids in 1997. As I was reading it my mind began making some mental changes to what I wrote that would make it better. My thought here? OMG I can use this in my next book. Oh the discovery of it all. Writing is truly fun.