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    Transforming Your World into Words

    Much of our writing is accomplished under whatever we consider to be "ideal" writing conditions. We have our special writing room or corner or chair, our familiar keyboard, favorite pen, special paper. While this may be optimal for writing, it's far divorced from what our characters may be experiencing. The writer is forced to imagine or try to remember what it feels like to be insanely angry, freezingly cold, swelteringly hot, or inconsolably sad.

    That's why it makes sense to keep a record of emotions and experiences when you are in the midst of them, whenever possible. It doesn't matter if you don't have a use for these observations at the moment; there's a good chance that someday you will.

    If you've just come inside from a chilling walk, jot down how you feel, the particular details of what it's like to be this cold. Have a fight with your best friend? Write it out. How do you feel? What was said? Describe that eerie-looking moon, the smell in the air this morning, the sound of that barking dog, that fascinating stranger on the bus. Capture it when you experience it.

    Developing this habit has two benefits. First, it gives you an extensive collection of writing to delve into when you want to write fresh, realistic description and portrayals of emotion. Sometimes just reading what you wrote at the time can recall a moment very vividly in your memory, lending detail and veracity to your writing. And second, it develops your powers of observation. You will begin noticing more details of your everyday experiences so that your record of them will be very complete.

    Now what? You work at developing the habit of recording your experiences when they're fresh and vivid in your mind. How can you use them?

    Of course, you can draw on your jottings just as they are, if something has direct application to what you're writing. You can paste them in where appropriate, polish them up a little, and the work is done. Or you can use them as a prod for memory, reread them and let them take you back to the moment you wrote them, then use that refreshed memory as the basis for a new exploration of the moment.

    But what if your characters never experience the freezing cold of an hour's trek through a blizzard? You can also extrapolate from your notes and apply your experiences to ones that might be parallel in some way. Maybe your character is cold because they've been trapped in a damp basement for two days, or because the heating apparatus on their spacesuit is damaged. They're still cold, and your observations on feeling cold are just as valid and useful. The circumstances might be different, but the experiences are connected.

    There's one other use for your jottings. When you're having trouble writing, whether you want to call it writer's block, lack of inspiration, or just plain stuck, take out your notes and read them. They'll stimulate your brain with all kinds of images, memories, and feelings, and it may be just the jumpstart you need to start working again.

    Copyright © 2001 Sherry D. Ramsey

    Sherry D. Ramsey is a fiction and nonfiction writer, editor and Internet publisher. Sherry's web magazine, The Scriptorium, provides information, advice and inspiration for writers.

    Looking for the perfect way to coordinate all those notes and ideas? Organize your Muse with Writer's Deskbook©. One simple tool keeps your jottings safe, tidy, and easy to find when you need them. Download the FREE DEMO; purchase the full version for $14.95. Boost your productivity today! Visit

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ

    WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! Kick start your imagination, ignite your creativity, and begin your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer.

    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

    For excerpts, reviews and what you need to do to receive the 2 free e-books, Write Memories and sign up for free e-mail courses, just head on to the Weekly Writes Book Official Site. (Clicking on the link will open a new window.)


    The Journaling Life: 21 Types of Journals You Can Create to Express Yourself and Record Pieces of Your Life

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between

    Journaling Kit - Four Journaling Books to help you put your life and memories on paper


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