The Year of the Suck


Here we are almost in the middle of 2020. My friend Michelle Lowe (brilliant author, by the way) calls this The Year of the Suck. We have a deadly and highly contagious virus spreading throughout our communities, misguided people protesting to reopen everything (and spreading the virus while doing so), and then three police offers were caught on multiple videos murdering a black man in public. That, then, leads to the current unrest with people protesting (and some opportunists looting) in major cities across the country.

Yep, 2020 sucks.

Maybe you’ve seen some of this unrest reflected in your life. I know I have, and though I don’t think it’s connected to what’s happening in the world, I can’t say for sure.

It’s important for all of us to be conscious of our own mental health, and one way to do that is to keep a journal.


Keeping a Journal in the Age of COVID-19


I’m a professional writer, so for me, keeping a journal is a no-brainer. That’s especially true when life gets crazy.

So, I’m going to give you all a few suggestions for starting your own journal if you haven’t, plus a great resource to check out whether you have or not.

First, decide how you’re going to record your journal based on what works for you. If you prefer writing longhand, get a decent journal book. Moleskine notebooks are excellent, though expensive. I recommend them if you know you’ll keep writing every day, or nearly every day. You can always get a simple notebook from your local drug store. I recommend college ruled. You’ll feel more grown-up writing in one of those.

You may prefer to type your journal. I keep mine on a site called 750 Words. The idea behind this site is to get you to write something every day. You can use it to get down your creative ideas, to deal with whatever stressors are affecting you, to collect your thoughts in the morning, or whatever works for you. It’s $5 per month and keeps a permanent record of whatever you write. If you write daily, you’ll soon find yourself collecting progress badges. If you don’t, it’s still a convenient place to keep your personal journal.


Journalistic Inspiration


We’re living at a crazy time in history. Right now, all of us have a chance to record our experiences during this pandemic and period of social unrest.

There’s one site in particular created to help us do that. Suleika Jaouad’s Isolation Journals website provides new prompts every day to help people write about their experiences during the quarantine. The creator calls it “a daily creativity project to help make sense of challenging times.” It strikes me this is exactly what many of us need.

If you need additional inspiration, there are many websites full of more generic prompts. These include “Journal Prompts: You, Your Live, Your Dreams” on the Creative Writing Now website, “119 Journal Prompts for Your Journal Jar” on Daring to Live Fully, and “180 Journal Writing Prompts” on Daily Teaching Tools. That last one is geared toward kids, but adults may also find some good ideas there.

I sincerely hope this helps you to better handle the crazy environment we find ourselves in.

FYI: I write a new blog post nearly every week and send out a helpful newsletter every week, usually on Monday or Tuesday. I cover all sorts of topics, though they mostly pertain to writing, science fiction, novels, and art. Feel free to subscribe below. If you like steampunk and/or westerns, you’ll probably like my books as well.

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” –Isaac Asimov