I had been away on vacation for several weeks and returned with a broken leg! I’m lying in bed as I type this, with my left leg in a full cast elevated on pillows as I wait patiently (and some time impatiently) for the bone to heal. In the meantime, I’m trying to keep myself sane by appreciating the extra time I have to read, play SuDoKu, and write in my journal. And although my physical world has been narrowed to the size of my bedroom, I still have the Internet, the phone, my family, co-workers and friends who visit, DVDs and of course– a mini-refrigerator.
This month’s newsletter contains two articles: One, by Sheila Bender, offers an exercise about how to start writing when you feel life is keeping you from doing so. The other article is by Jeannie Perrin, a LifeJournal customer, who offers ideas about how to use LifeJournal for genealogy research.
This month’s Mail Bag contains a Q&A about line formatting on journal entries.
Remember to savor the last few days of summer before they slip away!
Table of Contents
An Exercise for Writing When You Feel Life is Keeping You From It by Sheila Bender
It’s hard to believe the world can go on without me while I take time to write. Often, I counteract a feeling that writing is self-indulgent by writing too little and over loading myself with responsibilities away from my desk. But when I take the time to write, what I’ve done for others becomes very useful.
First, I journal an experience with as many details as I can remember, and then, I apply strategy from the craft of writing.
Here’s an example:
I journaled a description of being in a doctor’s office, where I spend much time now that I am my mother’s health care advocate. I took care not to put in much about myself beyond the facts of what I saw and heard and made my description as neutral as possible.
Here’s an excerpt from that entry:
After I completed my description, I conjured a character to drop into that scene from whose point of view I could begin to see things with some tension– a daughter who was not willingly there:
Now, I thought, that’s a conflicted person I can work with in writing a story.
If you want to give this exercise a try, start by promising yourself you’ll journal some scenes from your current life. Do that writing. Then come back and put someone who behaves differently than you right into the situations. You’ll be refreshed taking the time you need to be creative on the page.
LifeJournal as a Genealogy Tool by Jeannie Perrin
The article’s author, Jeannie Perrin, writes: “Fifty years ago, I started my first journal in a pink diary that locked with a golden key. My interest in journal writing and genealogy stems from my grandmother’s journals, which I watched her write in as a child. The journals were given to me when she passed away. I asked her many times as a youngster what she was writing about in the little book and she always answered the same, “Life.” A fellow writer introduced me to the joys of using LifeJournal about 5 years ago and writing in my LifeJournal came as naturally to me as writing in the little pink diary.”
Ms. Perrin continues:
I started doing research on my genealogy after my grandmother passed away. I found old handwritten journals in a box of pictures and things that my Aunt Billie mailed to me. In that box, I alsofound genealogy research done in 1957. I became interested in the genealogy because along with the pedigree charts it had stories, in journal form. I decided that I wanted to keep a written journal of my genealogy along with the genealogy program that I use to pass on to future generations.
Disaster struck when I transferred everything to a new computer. I did not back up my genealogy program properly and all that was left of months of research was my LifeJournal. By searching my LifeJournal, I was able to duplicate the lost genealogy files.
When I started my genealogy for the second time, I found a new way of saving all the information for future use. This time I printed hard copies of my genealogy files to keep in notebooks and I decided to keep all the information in my LifeJournal under a new writer that I named “Genealogy.”
Using LifeJournal as a tool for my genealogy research has made it much easier to find all the information that I want to enter my genealogy files. I can:
Through using LifeJournal I found a way to merge the past with the present for the future.
Mail Bag Q & A: Line Formatting
Q. Can I adjust the line spacing within a journal entry?
A. Yes, you can. Open a journal entry and right click in the body of the entry. Select “paragraph” and then the “Indent and Space” tab. You can adjust the line spacing by clicking the dropdown menu in “Line Spacing” and selecting any of the choices: single, 1.5, double, and multiple.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” –Marcel Proust
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