It Snuck Up on Me

When I first started writing on a daily basis, doing anything creative with it never entered my mind. I had just wrapped up my long career in Information Technology and was free to do whatever I pleased. Doing nothing was a concern so I started a day book thinking the shame of saying I did nothing day to day would keep me active. It started out like this:


When I first started writing on a daily basis, doing anything creative with it never entered my mind. I had just wrapped up my long career in Information Technology and was free to do whatever I pleased. Doing nothing was a concern so I started a day book thinking the shame of saying I did nothing day to day would keep me active. It started out like this:

2 Jan
Charles Coats research and web page; started Phoebe Coats diary web page; retirement emails.
3 Jan
Charles Coats research; added two months to Phoebe Coats diary. Created jpg’s for D. Gym and Bonsai
4 Jan
Processed photographs; signed up for all days at POST; cleaned espresso machine; read Adobe Camera Raw; emails
5 Jan
Built new desk mock up
6 Jan
Made 2 gallons chicken stock; made onion soup

My great grandmother, Phoebe Coats, mentioned above had done the same thing on calendars. We still have some of them; one dating back to the 1930’s. Her life living on a ranch and traveling was a lot more interesting than mine.

I kept up the day book for several years. Sometimes I would lapse for a few days and would have to make back entries, but I stuck with it. Eventually though, I got tired of just listing events. It said so little about my life. So I decided to flesh it out by writing about the whole day. Here’s an entry:

Friday as was much the same any night of late in the way of sleep. I read some and was up around 8:30 to do my usual routine. Bob called to say he was ready to deliver my car. The job was much more complex and cost accordingly. At least I have it back in working order. After working on the computer for a bit, I went on a shopping run. First I went to see Fredy and photographed the motorcycle for C. Then bird feed, batteries, and groceries. Lunch was cracked crab, sour dough bread, and wine. Dessert was carrot cake. I was then back to the computer. I had arranged to go to The Dish with C, but she got delayed so we didn’t start until 3. It had been lightly drizzling all day. When were part way up the hill, it started to rain, but we persevered. By the time we were done, my coat was soaked on the outside. It stayed dry on the inside. …

At least I was writing sentences and paragraphs, but it was pretty boring stuff. The fun part was trying to write the same daily event in different and creative ways. Here and there I felt I was improving my writing skills, but, for the most part, what I was writing was just repetitious.

After making entries for several months, I decided to convert them to a new application. Rereading the entries as I did so, I found they didn’t appeal to me in the least. I just couldn’t see myself going back after a few years and finding any pleasure in reading what I had for lunch on some Friday, although cracked crab sounds pretty good right now. I wanted to write something worth reading and a daily recap of events wasn’t it.

I initially thought about writing a journal, talking about feelings or whatever came into my mind. While there was some merit to it, it seemed it would become yet another collection of entries I would never read. It had to be something I cared about and, perhaps, others as well. And there I was, deciding to do creative writing. How did that happen?

If you want to get into a regular writing habit, writing a daily description of your activities might be a good way to start. Each day produces subject matter so there is no agonizing over what to write about. If you are repeating the same events every day, try to think of different ways to describe them. You could also use it as a starting point for a creative excursion. Add some exciting twist to your routine trip to school, work, or the grocery store. It’s your writing, you can do anything you want.

Categories: Writing