The Value Of Keeping A Writing Journal
It took me roughly three years to write If He Wakes. That’s from having the initial idea, to my lovely editor saying it was ready to go. Three years. I’ve learnt a lot about the writing process in those years and the one thing I would recommend to anyone who wants to create any kind of content is to keep a writing journal. Or a notebook. Or the notepad feature on your phone even. I call mine a writing journal, but what I really mean is just having something to hand that you can write on at anytime, anywhere.
Here’s why; I had the idea for If He Wakes in a car park. My daughter was about eight months old at the time and she was in the car with me, we were waiting for my husband when inspiration struck and I had absolutely nowhere to record the initial idea. I didn’t worry. It was a great idea, a wonderful premise, there was no chance of me forgetting it, and I didn’t.
But by the time I came to write down my idea for If He Wakes, it was two hours later. I’d been to the supermarket, dealt with a crying baby, made numerous decisions about what was on the family menu for the week and I was tired. My brilliant idea, the one that had made me gasp in the car park when everything was still and quiet was reduced to seven words. ‘Woman sees husband run man over, why?’
It wasn’t hopeless, I did pick up that sentence the next day and start to develop it, but by then, I was searching out the inspiration.
I felt like I’d missed the full opportunity with that idea. I had to chase it down. I had to sit and think about what exactly I’d envisaged in that car park, where my daughter slept silently behind me.
However, if I’d had my writing journal, I know that I would have spent a good ten minutes scribbling in a feverish way everything about that premise.
The way I knew the lead character would feel pain not only mentally, but also physically at what she saw. How the shock of it would shatter everything around her, it would leave her breathless and on a course that would change her life forever. I would have been able to write down where she was, who came to her aid and what she saw. The emotions would have been so raw at the moment I had the idea, it would’ve been easy.
And when I came back to my journal the next day, my enthusiasm for it would’ve jumped off the page and bitten me all over again. I would have read the words that I scribbled down and smiled, and it would all be there, ready for me to pick up and run with.
It took me two years before I realised that having a notebook with you at all times is essential. It’s no good thinking, ‘I’ll remember that, I don’t need to write it down,’ because you will remember the idea, but you will forget your enthusiasm for it.
I used to think that people who got a notebook out and started writing at odd times were just that, odd, but now I yank mine out at any given opportunity. You never know when inspiration will strike and you never want to miss it.
You can always trust your best friend… can’t you?
When Rachel discovers a Twitter message arranging a romantic liaison she assumes her husband is having an affair, and follows him. What she witnesses is so much worse: a hit and run using his car.
Meanwhile, Rachel’s friend and business partner Suzie is increasingly worried about her fiance, who’s not been in touch for days. When Suzie learns of huge debts racked up in her name she fears he has run out on her, but then the threatening calls start and she thinks something terrible has happened.
Rachel and Suzie are both about to learn shocking things about the men they love, worse than they could ever imagine… Can their friendship survive?
Two thirds of the way through this novel, I was sat in my favourite reading chair with a smug smile on my face thinking “I know where this story is going”.
I COULD NOT have been more wrong, but it was in a delightfully interesting way.
A fantastic and compelling read, I wonder just how many of you will feel the same?