Random Musings – Snippets from my Writer’s Journal.


I carry a red notebook around with me – one of those hard cover things with an elastic fabric strap attached to the back so you can snap it around the front to keep the journal shut. In this book, I jot down things I think I want to remember. Mostly, the act of writing cures me of any future desire to know something. But every now and then, I read some of these notes and they make me shake my head. I decided to share a few of them with you today.

Sock puppet – a false persona created via social media to promote one’s own work. Tempting, but ultimately not worth the risk. If we aren’t ourselves, we aren’t anything.

Arkansas Toothpick – cool slang for a bowie knife – courtesy of Pawn Stars – one of the most ridiculous shows on TV. But valuable info is available everywhere – right?

Character sketch (sitting in the airport describing someone two rows up)

She’s in her late twenties or early thirties. Straight black eyebrows below a wide, clear forehead. A prominent ski-jump nose, a wide generous mouth, white teeth, long, dark hair pulled to the side in a loose braid, silver dangling earrings. Dark eyes – pools of darkness. Freda Kalo after a really good eye-brow waxing. She has a smile that lights up her entire face – there is confidence, freedom, an aura of strength in that smile. She’s totally hands-on. She touches the people around her often – her hand on the arm of the person next to her, a quick hug, an arm slung casually over a shoulder. She tilts her head to one side when she’s listening. When she looks over at me, I see intensity, interest, a desire to connect, as if I can hear her thinking – what is she writing? Who is she? What is she about? My pen skitters to a stop as our eyes meet and I smile back.

A great story is life with the dull parts taken out – Alfred Hitchcock.

Where is the Love – Black Eyed Peas



Past Participle


Lie down

Lay down

Had lain down

To recline

Lay down

Laid down

Had laid down

To place or put

Who am I trying to kid? – when to use lie or lay will never sink in. ***Start promoting love your editor day.

. . . and you die one chapter at a time. (where did I read this?)

Write what is, not what seems to be. It would be fascinating to do a study that examined a person’s first draft with their personality profile. I’m betting tentative speakers will write a lot of seems to be stuff.

Ten simple things that can make you happier

  1. Exercise – 7 minutes a day can make a difference – thank you researchers for that one!
  2. Get enough sleep – adding more afternoon napping should fit the bill.
  3. Have a shorter commute – distance from the bed to the desk – short enough.
  4. Spend time with family and friends – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Just joking – sort of.
  5. Go outside – sounds good to me.
  6. Help others – 2 hours a week is enough to do the trick.
  7. Smile – research shows smiling can actually alleviate pain – for yourself and others.
  8. Plan a trip – even if you never take the trip. Planning a trip is fun, taking a trip is stressful.
  9. Meditate – no-brainer – no pun intended. I’ll combine this with exercise and going outside by having a daily, 7 minute, walking meditation. How is that for efficient?
  10. Practice gratitude – simple but powerful. List three things a day you are grateful for.

****I need to make a detailed self-publishing checklist and start checking things off!!!

Well, there you have it. Random thoughts. Here’s hoping something pops out at you. And let’s hear it for gratitude. Sure can’t hurt.



2003 – 2013

Rest in Peace.

14 comments on “Random Musings – Snippets from my Writer’s Journal.

  1. I love this, Francis! I have the same type of journal with the elastic band, the only problem is, often I can’t decipher my own writing. 🙂 I recently read a post about the 10 simple things to make you happier…I printed it to ensure I could read it in the future. 🙂

  2. Really great. Our journals might be our real contributions!

    Lawson looks like a sweetie. 😉

    • Lawson was a rescue dog that we had for two years. She had been on death row somewhere down in L.A. Through some type of network she ended up on Vancouver Island and we heard of her. She was a sweet dog – older than we were told, almost stone deaf, cataracts in her eyes, teeth going, bad hips, and an inner ear balance issue. But she loved her walks around the place and we hope the last two years of her life were satisfying.

  3. smilecalm says:

    thoughtful encouragements, Francis! and the petroglyph images brought me back to the southwest, thanks!

  4. Gwen Stephens says:

    What a fascinating peek inside your personal journal! Random indeed, but entertaining for your readers! I’m afraid I could never publish my snippets. It’s a bunch of indiscernible gobblety-gook that only makes sense to me.

    • Well – I will confess to you, Gwen – the random musings did get a bit of a clean-up before they hit the blog screen. But so much of any story we tell is in the construction – right? How we arrange and layer the pieces makes all the difference.

  5. Roy McCarthy says:

    I think that character sketching is a great idea. How often to we piece someone together when you can pick up a previously sketched person and just add their characteristics? Scary though if your subject asks to see what you’be been writing 🙂

    • When I saw this particular woman in the airport she totally embodied a character I had in mind for a future novel. That is why I wanted to get her description down. I’ll have to think of a good line just in case anyone ever does ask me what I’m writing. Letter to my dead mother. That should do it.

  6. Very cool! I’ll never get the lay/lie thing either. Ha,ha! Have a great day!

  7. Greg Urbano says:

    Great list, and I plan on quoting your “Sock Puppet” definition!

  8. P. C. Zick says:

    My problem: I have far more than one of these type of journals. Three of them are resting in my purse right now.

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