Taking up a Journaling Habit
I have been re-reading Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction recently, possibly for the third or fourth time. It's full of excellent (because basic) advice. One such is to get into the habit of writing first thing every day. That is, absolutely first thing, to the degree that if you need a coffee, you should make it the day before and put it in a thermos: the idea (and most often, the reality) is that your mind is clear first thing and can surprise you. I cannot now think of the times I have managed to do this – my life has been a story of needing to write and everything getting in the way – but I have a feeling that every time I have done so, it helped a great deal.
I didn't manage to do this today because the server here where I run Write Freely has been down since I went to Britain for a few months without access to the password (my focus was on another couple of servers and I had been doing a lot of writing). Still, I have a hangover and finding the passwords and reprovisioning the thing took no time at all and so I still have the basic effect.
Burroway tells it that journaling is effective at this time even if you don't structure the writing at all. Indeed, you can sit down and just pour it out as automatic writing. Now for this kind of writing, a typewriter for ms is best, and it may be that despite my horrible writing, a notebook would be a close second, but it's about compromises here (I don't have anywhere to retreat to here in Prague on getting up in the morning where I will not disturb people with a typewriter). It struck me that write freely could be a place for this kind of writing. I don't know yet if I federate with anybody or where this appears, if indeed it appears anywhere, and if ever I write anything interesting, I can start looking into importing things into a kind of slushpile in DandyLion.
So, I'm hungover. It was Friday 13th yesterday and Boris Johnson won the election. My girlfriend came home from a concert on the night of the 12th sometime after the exit poll came in. The poll is released at ten-ish in Britain and I'm in Prague. I was devastated, felt broken. I spoke a handful of monosyllables in response and barely took her in.
The next day, yesterday, I set about putting myself together again. In the next post, or the next handful of posts, I will try to put a handful of unstructured thoughts together about some of this, and about what I have been working on and what I feel is going to be important to continue to work on in the current climate, which is honestly far far worse than anything known in the twentieth century. We are going to have to work hard, work constantly, work on ourselves, and work with each other in communities we build and maintain, and we are going to have to look after ourselves to get through this. Not everybody is going to get through this. Yesterday I did this. As in recent months I have been doing this more or less every day. I intend to continue and will try to maintain something like a habit of writing here to describe how.