Posted by: nancyisanders | November 27, 2019

Writer’s Journal: Journaling an Event

When I showed up at the annual conference for the Jane Austen Society of North America, I arrived with 3 essential tools:

My 100-page wide-rule blank composition book
A bottle of Scotch quick-drying tacky glue (available in sewing or craft stores)
A small pair of scissors (make sure sharp objects are allowed at your event!)

Before the conference, I had already created my Table of Contents over 4 of the earliest pages so that it would be ready to fill in throughout my days at the event. I had also numbered the lower right hand corner of each page of the blank notebook.

Here is the overview of my completed Table of Contents. I filled it in as my days unfolded at the conference, basically in chronological order according to the classes, workshops, and talks I attended.





As you can see by my Table of Contents, I took notes at the various talks and presentations I attended.

The BIGGEST MOST HUGE perk of this was that I made sure to jot down some direct quotes the presenters said. As a result, I was able to add a very significant quote I heard at the conference into my manuscript I was writing for JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS. (And then I contacted the person for approval to quote him.)

The result? My children’s book has a very significant fact about Jane Austen’s family that most other biographies don’t include! And it’s a direct quote from Richard Knight, the great-great-great-grandson of Jane’s brother.

It’s golden treasures like these that are just some of the amazing reasons to keep a writer’s journal when you attend a research or writing-related event.



  1. So helpful, thanks Nancy. What a wonderful trip that must have been! I’m such a Austen fan.

  2. This is spectacular, Nancy! I can’t tell you how many pages in different notebooks and on sheets of loose paper I have from conferences I’ve attended. And I’m considered to be organized! Thanks for sharing your process 🙂

    • You are going to have so much fun. Guaranteed!

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