Writers Corner: Keeping a Log
Recently, I’ve found myself jotting snippets down. No matter how big or small the idea, I’ve been writing words down that sound like a good sentence. Sometimes, they end up over several different documents, before finally being merged into one. No matter what, I’m going to keep this log down. If you’re getting into writing as a hobby, or even a career, why not come up with your own writers log? Here’s a few tips on how I write my log, how often I write in it, the types of things I keep and how the information gets used.
What To Log
When I’m wandering around, or when I’m at work – Sometimes when I’m playing Elder Scrolls Online – I come up with a sentence. Sometimes I come up with a concept. No matter what, I have an idea that I want to store and use in a future article, or piece of writing. This is a key moment for when I decide to boot up my log and store it. It can be as short as a couple of words, or as long as a full paragraph. Whilst it doesn’t matter what topic, or genre, or if it’s fiction or non-fiction; I write it down.
I’ve found that in doing this, I’m giving myself a lot more inspiration as of late. Sometimes I lose inspiration for when I’m writing articles – Something that I think if Joel reads this, he’ll understand the issue. You sometimes sit there with a blank screen, wondering what to write. When I get like this, I go to my log, think long and hard about why I wrote something and go from there. I also like to write when I’m in different moods – Happy, sad, angry, you name it, I put it in my log. However, I like to give myself context about when and why I wrote something.
How I Organise My Log
Tags, similar to how websites categorise their articles, are how I organise my log. I keep everything in date order, give it a brief title to describe it and then write the idea down. After this, I have a section where I write Tags: [insert], [tags], [here] (No, that’s not a typo, that’s an example). This allows me to cycle through them if I need to, with a really simple search. For instance, if I want to search for all of my angry entries, I’ll usually have a tag of “Angry”. Or, if I want something fantasy-based, I’ll have a tag for Fantasy. Each entry can have several tags.
I also keep all of my entries in a table (spreadsheet) format. This helps with organising, as I can sort my tables by date order initially, or search by tags. Every day, my table grows usually by at least one entry, but sometimes multiple entries. By having it in a spreadsheet, not only can I keep my tag system, but it makes searching for everything so much easier. Within a short space of time, my log went from just a couple of entries up to probably a couple a hundred entries.
In the future, I might do an article to point out when I used some of the snippets from my log, but in the meantime, seriously have a think about how much a writers log could help you in your writing. Do you use a writers log yourself, or do you do something different to know what to write? All you aspiring writers and pros alike, share your thoughts and opinions below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.