Thursday, June 7, 2012


Hello! I'm Booksmith's newest blogger, and one of it's newer booksellers (I started last October). I have to admit, I was a bit reluctant to agree to write for the blog. For the past year or so, I've started to slowly step away from the internet so that I could focus more on my own writing. I tend to obsessively check email, spend more time than I'd like on Facebook, and I wanted to keep the time I spent on my computer more or less focused on working on my novel. But then I realized that I talk my co-workers' heads off about a lot of book and writing related things. So, for their sake, I think it's time I subject you, our dear, loyal, blog fans, to that rambling instead.

As part of my commitment to spend less time on the internet, I've started to write more in longhand. I had this journal that my old co-workers gave me as a parting gift a few years ago, one that I had only written in sporadically. It was a hardcover journal with blank pages. I had to crack the spine a bit so that I could lay it flat to write in it, and on the blank pages, my handwriting started to slant. But I found that I really liked having to slow my thoughts down so my hand could keep up. And growing up with one of those lock and key diaries, it felt like going back to the roots of what made me want to be writer.

I filled my old journal quickly, and treated myself to a new one. Have you seen our collection of journals here at the Booksmith? We have *so* many beautiful journals, in every size imaginable. We even sell those lock and key ones I used to write in as a kid. The one I ended up buying is a soft cover, 7.5 x 10" Moleskine with an expandable pocket in the back. I love it. I put postcards and pictures in the back pocket, and I like how easy it is to curl up and write with it on my lap. I can't think of a time since I bought it in January that I haven't had it with me.

I recently taught a one-day jump start your fiction writing workshop at Grub Street, Inc. here in Boston, and  I started the class with a journal writing exercise. We read a passage from The Journals of John Cheever (which I'm currently reading, and love) and as a warm-up before the fiction writing, the students spent twenty minutes free-writing about a recent, memorable day. A few had come in with a laptop and I asked that for this exercise, they write longhand only. For the next exercise, I told them they could bring back out their laptops, but no one did. They said they actually liked writing in longhand.

So if you're looking for something new to try this summer, try writing in a journal. Maybe I"ll convert you to the longhand form too! 

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