This guest post is by C. Hope Clark from www.chopeclark.com
Q&A a Day: Five Years of Finding Yourself
When I hear that someone has journaled for years, I instantly admire them. For no other reason than they held themselves to a regimen, I find them incredibly in tune with themselves. They are living life, noting its lessons, and probably improving themselves in the process.
Presidents do it. Many authors do it, which makes me feel guilty since I’m an eight-book published mystery author, with a couple of nonfiction books thrown in for good measure. I’ve been writing for years, yet I could not find the discipline to write at the end of the day when I’m spent, probably having already written a couple thousand words for some story or feature.
Yet I’ve beat into my sons’ heads that journaling is a mental vitamin. I like to think I set an example, though abbreviated ones. I kept a journal for each of them, noting the year before they graduated high school, recording their highs and lows, and my accompanying highs and lows, my opinions and observations. Then I wrapped it and gave it to them when they went to college. One son continues to journal to this day, probably has for over 15 years, putting me to shame.
Then one Christmas, scrounging for a gift for my sons and nephew that reflected on my beliefs about writing and reading, I stumbled across Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal in a Barnes & Noble.
Each day the journaler answers a question, almost in Twitter-style. With only four lines to post on, and the book being 4.25 x 6 inches in size, brevity is key. In other words, no excuse not to keep up with it. And you get to keep up with it for five years, each year answering the same question on the same day.
However, don’t dismiss short as lacking depth. For instance, January 1 (no year)’s question is “What is Your Mission?” In 2015, I spoke of enjoying life peacefully via writing stories and nature. No controversy.
Five years is a long time, and regardless our stage in life, we shift, bend, regroup and grow. That’s the magic of this journal, in my opinion. Taking the same question and watching how I advance through the years.
In 2016, I showed an eagerness to write prolifically, go to my favorite beach more often and research my new mystery series that’s set there.
In 2017, I set quite the goal of writing two novels and two nonfiction books in a year. Oh, and land a cable television deal.
Then in 2018, I wrote about how 2017 drained me with my parents’ diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and shredded my 2017 goals. Time to “define a new normal,” I said, “involving family and those I love.”
I look forward to seeing how I answer 2019. And no doubt that I’ll buy another book and start another five years. Q&A is the perfect journal for the non-journaler.
And there are derivations of the Q&A journal, as well.
All of these books are by Clarkson Potter, or Potter Gift. They are durable, which is nice considering you’ll handle these books daily for multiple years. There are copycat titles out there but look for the Potter Gift name.
Whether you’re a non-writer just eager to record the passing of time, or the writer who’s to spent to write epic journal entries, the Q&A a Day journal is a jewel for yourself and makes for a remarkable gift. I’ve given three in addition to purchasing my own, and all of us are still journaling away!
C Hope Clark
BIO: Mystery author C. Hope Clark’s newest release is Newberry Sin, set in an idyllic small Southern town where blackmail and sex are hush-hush until they become murder. The fourth in the Carolina Slade Mysteries. Hope speaks to conferences, libraries, and book clubs across the country, is a regular podcaster for Writer’s Digest, and adores connecting with others. She is also founder of FundsforWriters.com, an award-winning site and newsletter service for writers. She lives on the banks of Lake Murray in central South Carolina with her federal agent husband where they spin mysteries just for fun. www.chopeclark.com
BLURB from Newberry Sin:
When a local landowner’s body, with pants down, is found near Tarleton’s Tea Table Rock—a notorious rendezvous spot, federal investigator Carolina Slade senses a chance to get back into the field again. Just as she discovers what might be a nasty pattern of fraud and blackmail, her petty boss reassigns her fledgling case to her close friend and least qualified person in their office.
Forced to coach an investigation from the sidelines, Slade struggles with the twin demons of professional jealousy and unplanned pregnancy. Something is rotten in Newberry. Her personal life is spiraling out of control. She can’t protect her co-worker. And Wayne Largo complicates everything when the feds step in after it becomes clear that Slade is right.
One wrong move and Slade may lose everything. Yet it’s practically out of her hands . . . unless she finds a way to take this case back without getting killed.
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