Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Importance of Writing About Your Writing

Yesterday, when I was clearing out my desk, I found an old notebook. Inside were pages of notes about an idea I’d had a couple of years ago for a book. There were notes about possible characters, notes about possible plot twists and notes about possible structure.

My Writing Journal

There were also pages and pages where I scribbled down all of my doubts about whether my idea would work or not. If you don’t already do this, I thoroughly recommend writing about your writing. It might sound a bit nuts but it really helps.

Let me give you an example. In my notebook I had written all about concerns I had regarding the plot of the novel. My notes read like a conversation with myself:

I’m not sure whether the character should get on well with her mum. Part of me thinks that she should, but maybe it would be more dramatic if she didn’t…”

“Should she end up going to Paris – or America? I think Paris, they could be going to a music competition – a European music competition…”

“What would make a dramatic high point?”

“What quote should I use in the talk?”

And so on. I don’t know why, but there is something really powerful about writing about your writing concerns rather than just thinking about them. Writing helps you to formulate your thoughts and come to a conclusion, whereas thinking can often make you stuck – unable to see the plot for the fears.

So, if you only do one thing related to your writing this week, invest in a writing journal and start writing about your writing. I promise you won’t regret it.

And, as a happy postscript to this blog, the idea that I was writing about in my notebook ended up becoming a fully formed novel called Finding Cherokee Brown. It’s being published in the UK, France and Germany next year. So, you never know where those writing notes will take you – and what they will end up growing into…

The French Cover for Finding Cherokee Brown

Till next time,

Happy writing!

Siobhan x


  1. I write about my writing quite a lot actually. I find it really calms me down (when I'm struggling) and helps me refind my focus. I'm pleased I'm not the only one who does this! ;)

  2. Hi Laura, that's great - and I'm pleased I'm not the only one too! I only discovered how helpful it is in recent years and which I'd tried it a lot earlier!

  3. I'm definitely going to take this idea on board. I have a notebook in my room when I can always jot down notes when I get an idea or something. It's going to really help on these final days of NaNoWriMo!
    Congrats on Finding Cherokee Brown being published in France and Germany-can't wait to be able to read it!

  4. Ooh, good luck with NaNoWriMo, Sophie - I hope the notebook helps! And I'll make sure you get a review copy of Finding Cherokee Brown as soon as they're available :)

  5. I'm definitely going to try this soon!