Tuesday Slice of Life: Notebook Work
I have not felt particularly inspired as a writer this month. Although I have had plenty of topics to write about, I have had a challenging time articulating my thoughts in words and coherent sentences. Each time I have sat down to blog, my process has looked a little like this: I start writing. I get stuck. I write about something different. I get stuck. I try writing again about a new topic. I get stuck. Inevitably, I do not get a post published.
However, as much as I have dragged my feet in writing, I have continued to write daily in my notebook. Late in April I read the great visual artist and Professor Lynda Berry´s Syllabus. Instantly, I fell in love with the sketches infused with multimedia in Syllabus, the Emily Dickinson poems and other important quotes scattered throughout the book, but mostly I appreciated how Dr. Berry encouraged her students to explore and record what they noticed. For a great example of Lynda Berry´s work, read Brain Picking´s post.
Throughout May I used Dr. Berry´s Daily Diary format for at least one page a day. The Daily Diary includes a list of seven things you saw, seven things you did, something you heard, and something drawn. By far, the most challenging part for me was drawing something every day. When I first started creating a Daily Diary it took me a while (about thirty minutes!) to create one page. Then I reread the instructions in Syllabus, and Daily Diary pages are meant to be created quickly, so I set a timer for each section and now I can complete each page in about fifteen minutes.
Below is an example of a recent Daily Diary page:
One of my favorite things about creating Daily Diary pages has been rereading my past Daily Diary Pages and noticing emerging patterns, such as how I notice a lot about nature on dog walks, things my students and my own children say and do, how many of my days are spent. Ultimately, my favorite part of a Daily Diary page is recording what I heard. Often I include what I overhear at stores in in the hallway. Itś such great stuff! The page I posted (see above) is an exchange between a teenager and a middle age women at Target.
Daily Diary Pages did not necessarily give me confidence as a writer, but it has helped me continue with my notebook work and kept me noticing what I cared about. When I took the time to revisit my Daily Diary pages, I realized that I could go back and use these pages for future writing, too.