It’s useful having these pages, both to catch big ideas at the end of each week and to look back on them much later, following the little growing fascinations, the recurring epiphanies, the big and little moods, the lessons I did learn and the ones I won’t.
For example, this time I notice that apparently I like these shades of green. (Previously on colours.)
The same goes for the “Things to Do” page: it’s more a list of possibilities than actual tasks, so there are items that are carried forward week to week until they suddenly turn into a project (I did finally order the foil cards), and ones that get set aside, or are written off but suddenly roar back into my field of vision a year later, or are just there as a reminder to keep in mind.
So below is a five-week run of summary pages, with some of the points that now seem most interesting to me extracted.
- 2020 effectively squashed most of my domestic urges.
- While the journal is great for writing blog posts, this blog is also one of the things that keeps me reviewing the journal.
- The (useful, if I act on it) frustration of not making things, whether because of admin commitments or because I’m just splashing around coming up with ideas.
- I like colour! I do so much linework I need to remind myself of this. It also makes the journal more of a pleasing object to keep and review.
- The playful aspects of the journal do get into more formal projects.
- The power of unlikely abrupt intense proximities for creating stories.
- The joy of being silly when classifying things.
- The charm of specificity.
- How much easier everything is if I (am legally allowed to) leave the house for some portion of the day.
- The effect of a shape on a story.
- Relatedly, making space for a thing to happen makes it more likely to happen.
- Flipping and hypothetically remixing a story (my own or others’) is a way to take charge of an idea.
- How characterisation works when it is done by creating sympathy for a character off the page. (Related, or at least I should link the ideas: Sympathy for characters)
- Going outside is nice but I have enormous difficulties achieving escape velocity. (My whole family does. I used to have volcano-and-bushfire nightmares in which we kept having to rush back into the house to get things we’d forgotten… thanks Children’s World Book Encyclopaedia and assorted Ash Wednesday bushfire novels.)
- The charm of playing something (even the magical/unlikely) very straight and low-key. (I think this was prompted by murder mysteries.)
- I’m more likely to get editing done if I just keep tinkering my way into the story than if I start with some strategic plan.
- Key ideas (this reference-story, that painting as a visual key) are very useful for narrowing editing choices.
- Doing something, and keeping on doing it, even in small ways, reduces later bars to entry.
- The extreme usefulness of tentative mock-solutions. (Not closely related, but not unrelated: ten terrible things.)
- Changing ONE thing in an idea (varying one character in a story, picking one colour note to commit to), and then following the consequences, is sometimes more interesting than flipping everything.
- The power of definiteness in first lines. (Staring at sentences; First sentences.)
- Reading is a necessary and relevant part of the job!
- The pull that a strong aesthetic exerts both on the story being written and on the reader, to pull them into it. (If the reader is me: aesthetic posts).
- Perhaps not unrelated to the above: how many of my favourite first lines highlight a setting more than a character.
Note: If you’d like to support art and writing and posts like this about it, I have a Patreon account (patreon.com/tanaudel) and patrons there get behind-the-scenes process and sneak-peeks, starting from US$1, or you could buy me a (virtual) coffee at ko-fi.com/tanaudel (and I get through quite a bit of coffee — or I will once we get out of lockdown again!).