Friday, September 7, 2012

Journaling To Turn Memories Into Scenes

(This post is part of a guest post series for Shaynie at Journaling Journeys. Visit her blog for more great journaling tips!)

Have you ever thought about what your life would read like if it were made into a book? One of the reasons why I love journaling so much is because it is the story of my life. I can look back at a journal and remember what it was like during a specific season of my life. All of the memories and emotions start flooding back as I read. It's almost like picking up an old book, returning to the places I had completely forgotten about.

If you're an aspiring author, it's very recommended that you keep a journal. Especially if you're wanting to capture moments the "write" way. However, the only thing that's not so great about journaling about your day is that it's almost like you're telling instead of showing (example: "Today I took my little brother and sister to the park. I had so much fun pushing them on the swings and watching as they went down the slides.") The reason why authors are told to "show" instead of "tell" in their books is because the reader cannot experience the moment if it's being told. They can't feel the excitement or completely grasp why the person was having fun, simply because they're only being told about it. The author isn't taking them to the setting and letting them live the moment with the character. So if you're looking back at your journal ten years from now, it'll be difficult and almost impossible to remember specific details or exactly how you felt during a certain moment in your life.

Journals can be a great source of inspiration for authors. Especially a YA author who is searching through the journals they kept during their teen years for story/scene ideas, or if they'd just like to be reminded of what it was liked to be a teenager. However, although you can write a journal entry about your first date, it won't exactly take you back to the moment. Unless, of course, you start a journal to turn your memories into scenes.

How should you do this? For me, the best way would be by creating a file under the My Documents folder. In this journal, instead of "telling" about a significant part of your day, show it. You'll basically be acting as if you're the main character in your own novel. And if you hope to become an author one day, keeping this journal could possibly help you in the future. It can also be a great way to completely capture a certain moment of your life so you could some day "re-live" it rather than be told about it.

Turning your memories into scenes can also sharpen your writing tremendously. If you write at least one scene every day, not only will you be developing your own writing voice, but you'll also start to become more conscientious of details when you're not writing - such as being aware of senses, how something that someone says to you makes you feel, yours and other people's body language, expressions, character traits, etc. all of which are very important to study if you want to be an author one day.

Wouldn't it be neat to one day be able to experience a certain moment of your life again through the words that you've written? It'll almost be like you're reading a book that God wrote (other than the Bible, of course). Because even though he didn't physically write it, he is ultimately the author of your life. Then one day you can look back and see specifically how He arranged all of the moments in your life for a certain purpose, to bring about an ending that only he has in mind.

That's why I think it'd be such a great idea to start this journal. Because if you do, you'll be recording parts of your story that the Author of Life himself is writing. Simply by turning your memories into scenes.


  1. Hi Tessa -

    I love your tips. Most of my journal entries are in "letters to God" form.

    Susan :)

    1. That's how mine are too - more like a prayer journal. =) Thanks for your comment!

  2. I love this idea! I am definitely going to start doing this :)

  3. I've never thought about journaling this way, but it's a pretty brilliant idea! I've always kept a prayer journal, too. Definitely going to try this, though. :)


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