Wednesday Writing Prompt: The Daily Calendar
Write fast and carelessly every day. Forget all the rules. Forget your fears. Forget what your English teacher told you about the right way to write. Get down your observations, feelings, and ideas. Don’t write about anything boring to you—that’s a sign that you are telling lies, writing to please others and not yourself. —Rochelle Melander
When I teach my Writing2transform journaling classes, I encourage students to start each day with “the daily dump.” The daily dump is my version of Julia Cameron’s morning pages. In the daily dump, the writer scribbles down three pages as fast as she can. When I tell classes about the exercise, someone always asks:
“But what do I write?”
And that’s the kicker: figuring out what to write day after day, month after month. Instead of worrying what to write about, just write anything that comes into your head, even if it is just a sort of whine to the world. If that does not work, try this. Use the saying on your daily calendar (see photo above) as a writing prompt. What you do with it is up to you. Turn it into a poem, a story, a rant or a thesis. Just write for 10 or 20 minutes.
Your turn: What is your favorite daily calendar? Leave your comment below.
You could win…your very own copy of Bylines, the calendar for writers (see photo above). I was delighted to discover that my submission had made it into this year’s edition of Bylines. If you’d like to win one of these wonderful tools for writers, do one of the following:
*Comment on this post.
*Tweet this post with my Twitter handle in it (@WriteNowCoach)
*Follow this blog.
When, you ask? You have through the weekend to post, tweet, and follow this blog. You will all be entered in a drawing, and TWO OF YOU will win calendars! I will be posting the winners NEXT WEDNESDAY, January 18.
Yes, just write whatever comes into your head. Then your emotions follow, and the words flow!
Love that! Unfortunately, what usually comes into my head at 6 AM is, “Why am I up?” 🙂
It sounds so easy! Then the worrying begins when there’s a blank screen in front of you. But I will try it 🙂
Let me know how it goes.
I know the blank screen can be daunting, but for me personally, the just-write-it-all-down-now-edit-it-later technique has really worked well for me. I’ve found it to be true that once I start writing, I get in a rhythm and the words do flow. It has also helped me become a better editor because so many times there is a word count limit–I’ve even set one for myself on my own blog. So a LOT of times, I’ll have double the number of words allowed and I am forced to edit it down yet try to keep it coherent, engaging and readable. When I can do that, that is the challenge I enjoy conquering because I’ve started out with the blank screen, put everything in my head and my heart on that screen, edited it down and come out with a product that I’m pleased with, if not proud of.
Calendar? Get Fuzzy is my favorite daily. A daily dose of Bucky the Cat is always good for a smile and that puts me in the “write” mindset. 🙂
That works well for me, too. And, I love having a word count limit. I will check out Get Fuzzy. Looks like fun!
I love writing my daily pages! I use a site called 750words.com and it’s wonderfully therepeutic because I can vent about life without annoying anyone! It’s so easy once you start typing. It has also helped me get faster with typing… I’m usually a pen-and-paper kind of girl, but this works well for me.
I love that site. Thanks for reminding me about it!
I just always start with whatever is on my mind. It gets easier the more you do it.
Yes! I agree. The more I write, the easier it gets.
It’s not exactly a calendar, but I absolutely love the book “A Writer’s Book of Days.” It has a ton of tips, suggestion and quotes related to writing, but even more importantly (in my opinion) it has a writing prompt dated for every day of the year. I love having a prompt specific for each day, because if I have a list of prompt I have to pick from I end up spending all my writing time bouncing from one to another and never getting anything on paper.
I will check out that book. I have the same problem with lists of prompts–so a calendar is better for me.
I’m currently searching for a calendar I like. Thanks for the recommendation.
Let us know what you get!
I’ve never really had a favorite daily calendar. Inevitably, I forget to turn the page for a day, then two and three days pass. A week or two later, I’m tearing off a bunch of pages and cursing myself for thinking I’d want to learn 365 new Spanish words.
I like this idea, though. It gives me a way to apply the knowledge.
Yup, I have been there. And the book a day or quote a day calendars mean I usually save a bunch of little sheets of paper, which I don’t need. I really like the one I have that is not geared toward a specific year–so I can use it whenever I want, put it away for a few years, and use it again later.
I try to do this … writing every day at least if it’s just in oneword.com or 100words.com. 750words.com sounds interesting though. Might do better for daily journaling than the others.
Great sites. Thanks for the reminder!
This looks like the catalyst for my writing career!
I’ve never been able to be consistent about journaling, or keeping a diary. I’ll be very diligent for a while, sometimes a very long while, and then one of two things happens: Either I get too busy, family semi-emergencies and the like, or, preferably, my current writing project catches fire and at the end of the day I’ve accomplished several hundred words.
I guess I create my own calendar, in a way. My site is holiday-based, so I literally use a holiday every day as a writing prompt. It keeps me going!
I like to use a Week At A Glance. Because a ‘month’ is too much info and a ‘daily’ doesn’t give me enough heads up for what’s happening the rest of the week.
I like the idea of doing a morning writing “dump” but sometimes I just have to get out the door. It’s an excellent discipline, though, and if I awaken early enough, I can sit at my desk and see the sunset in the east.
When I get really fired up about something, I write in the morning like crazy, make coffee, and write even more vigorously, caffeine being my favorite drug. A few months ago, I wrote about 5,500 – or was it 55,000 – words about the experience of my husband’s recent crappy, awful, horrible diagnosis. It’s the start of my second novel. Unfortunately, I had to stop to go Christmas shopping and shave my legs, not necessarily in that order.
I use my blackberry calendar because it’s always at my side. But it does nothing for writing motivation – it’s just practical. So, I would absolutely love the Bylines Calendar. It’s the best out there.
I am a HUGE proponent of morning pages. I’ve been doing them since I read The Artist’s Way many years ago – it’s the most motivating writing book I’ve read so far. I write morning pages in long hand, all caps in a reporter notebook.
Love the reporter style notebook. It is so easy to use.
Thanks so much for mentioning the Bylines 2012 Writer’s Desk Calendar! It’s a weekly planner with many extra tools packed inside for writers, and hopefully writers will find the weekly essays on writing a valuable bonus, for inspiration and motivation.
I got a calendar On amazon. I got the Kindle for PC and downloaded it to that.
BELIEVING IN OURSELVES 2012 Calendar Daily Reflections for Women.
I love the white dress on the cover.
Nothing on the page but the day .[ Today] 11 January 2012 and a Quote from a Famous Woman. Nice way to start the day. I would love the Writing Prompt: Daily Calendar. The hints would be invaluable.
Wow–so the calendar is on your PC? Very cool.
One of my goals for the year is to write SOMETHING each day – on one of the two blogs I write, in my journal, or a handwritten letter to a friend or family member. That said, I don’t have a “writers'” calendar. Last year I chose a Non-Sequitur page-a-day calendar, which I loved. It was my husband’s turn to choose the page-a-day calendar this year, and he went with the New Yorker cartoons, which is also very funny (most days, anyway).
“Bylines” sounds interesting, as do some of the other blogs mentioned in the comments. I’ll check them out!
I will check out both of those calendars. Happy writing, Lindean!
I have an old fashioned Franklin Planner. I use it for everything, including when to schedule in my writing time. It’d be great to have an actual “writing calendar”–how motivating!
I like the Franklin planner. And, I find that scheduling my writing time makes me much more likely to do it!
I, too, am a fan of Julia Cameron. I read her book, The Artist’s Way, and loved it. I stuck to her guidelines for keeping a daily Journal, and was astounded by the results. I didn’t write anything extraordinary in the journal, but after two or three weeks of writing every day, and following her instructions NOT to go back and read what I had written, inspiration struck, and I wrote my first four children’s books.
This was a total surprise to me. I had never even thought about writing a children’s book………..didn’t even know that I had it in me to do such a thing. What fun!
Wow..that’s a great testimony to daily pages! Congrats!
This is what I do when nothing for my current project comes to mind. I take my main character, who, presently is a detective named Donovan Wick, and put him in a room with characters from one of my favorite tv shows. Like this morning ….Donovan was having coffee with Sam and Dean Winchester….and I wrote about 1000ish words and ended up with a page of dialogue that, with a little tweaking will work in my current project.
Using characters from a tv show will quiet those voices in your head that say, “but what does he LOOK like, what color is his couch? You can’t write another word until you know those things.”, because you KNOW what Meredith Grey looks like and what color her couch is.
Wow, that’s a great idea. I have used favorite book characters–but now will try some television characters.
I follow your blog on my rss feed 🙂
Great ideas! I really need a way to document the daily routine to be more accountable, productive & organized.
Writing free and carelessly ALWAYS pulls me through writers block. Julia Cameron’s (The Artist Way) suggestion of “morning pages” sets me free every time. I put on some music to block out the world and I just type away— until I start to sense where I last left off with one of my stories or characters. The longer those morning pages get the clearer my abandoned manuscripts/characters become.
I don’t have a daily calendar–I will log into my Twitter account and get encouragement from the writers tips I receive from following other writers, writers magazines—and blogs like yours. Thank you.
Thanks, Jorge! I like the idea of using Twitter posts as inspiration!
I don’t do a daily calendar. Wish I could, but it just never seems to work out. But I do try to do SOME writing everyday. That’s all I can hope for. Some days are just better than others.
I think writing every day keeps the writing muscles in shape–whether we write for 20 minutes or a few hours!
Thanks, everyone! There are so many helpful comments and suggestions here–I really appreciate it! 🙂
I like the Bylines calendar because of of the different authors stories every week. I often get an idea on what to write from them.
There are so few calendars like this– thank you for creating such an amazing one for your fellow writers!
Thank you for this opportunity, Rochelle. Years ago our daughter and son-in-love (Evelyn Christenson’s language) gave me a Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul calendar in a 7-ring binder. I haven’t seen that brand of calendar again, but both Day Runner and DayTimer calendars fit, and I use it for my daily Bible reading reference and comment. That’s a pretty good way to be sure I look at what else I’ve recorded for that day. Double accountability!
Reading the other comments, I found other Beth contributor(s). Fun!
I have to admit I have never found a daily calendar that has “wowed” me, but I am grateful for your recommendations and those of your readers and can’t wait to check them out. As part of my New Years plan and after years of procrastination with the “idea” to write all that I know, the first thing I did was buy Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. I hope to declutter my thoughts through “daily pages” and one of my entries on my what I want to write list is now a daily calendar for those who are grieving. Thanks Rochelle for all of your great tips 🙂