Posted by: nancyisanders | May 18, 2021

REALITY SHOW: KidLit Writer Journals

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am creating a journal for my newest WIP (work in progress) which is to write little poems and stories to submit to Babybug magazine.

The first thing I did was to get out my scrapbooking supplies and cover a blank wide-ruled composition notebook that I buy in batches for $1 from Walmart or Staples when they’re on sale. I keep a stack of 10 or so empty ones on my office shelves at all times for this very purpose.

The next thing I do is create a table of contents and number all the pages inside.

There isn’t much yet to show you about the inside of this journal because I’m just getting started, but I’ve written numerous blog posts on how I keep my writing journals and what I put inside them. Just search “journals” in the search bar here inside my blog to find some of those posts. Or CLICK HERE to read the beginning of a series of blog posts where I really explain the process I go through for various types of journals I create. This link takes you to the first post I made and then you just follow the links for the next posts to continue reading about journals.

Do you create writer’s journals, too? If so, I’d love to hear about it!


  1. I usually use a store bought journal and pen down my thoughts on possible solutions to problems and daily inspirations. Everything and anything goes there – sometimes my shopping list. Not the best but it works for me. 🙂

    • I love it! And that’s what is important…it works for you!

  2. You are so organized, Nancy. I keep “notebooks” and they’re all over the place, and they’re not labeled. In other words, all the important notes I’ve written are hidden somewhere amongst the piles. I WILL, as of this day, label my notebooks for further reference. Thank you!!!

    • Yay! And be sure to start adding a table of contents too…this has made it so easy to find everything.

  3. I just started a three-part journal for a new chapter book/chbk series. It’s the first time I’ve used one with three sections and in quite this way. It’s more of a workbook than my normal manuscript journals. I’m finding it inspiring and helpful. In addition to the table of contents. I have one tab for working through exercises to strengthen the book, one tab for historical research (actually, for the most pertinent facts that I keep referring to or areas I need to research next as I work through tab 1). The last tab is for notes and outlines and thoughts and exercises concerning the series as a whole. It’s proving extremely useful!

    • This sounds absolutely wonderful!

    • I love this idea, Joanne. I’m curious–what kinds of exercises you do to strengthen the book?

      • I tend to accumulate a lot of writing advice, but for years I tried to absorb it, then hope I remembered to apply it later. Recently, I’ve been digging through my materials to organize them. So now when I schedule a work session, I often refer to these materials as a jumpstart to my writing time. For example, a while back I took a webinar and the presenter included a character creation worksheet. Last week, I printed the worksheet and filled it in before I began writing that day. I didn’t use it exactly as planned, but it got the wheels spinning and it was a natural flow into my WIP. Another example is writing advice which appears in my email each week. Lately when I see a relevant post, instead of reading it, I copy and paste the link and info and schedule it as a kickstart for my next writing session. It saves time combing through emails, gets applied immediately, and cuts procrastination at the start of my writing day. I hope that makes sense and that it helps you in your writing journey.

      • Love this!

  4. Sounds fun, Nancy! I love to hear about your WIPs.

    • Hey…we should chat and share each other’s WIP…wouldn’t that be fun?

  5. I love your organization, Nancy! I keep journals, but they are filled with post-its. I carry post-it notes with me everywhere because it always seems to be when I get up from my desk that I think of just the right wording, an idea to add, a Scripture that applies, or another source to check. Later, I transfer the post-its to my journal.

    • Oh I love this! What a great idea!!!

    • I love the idea of bits of Scripture sprinkled throughout! Definitely adding that to mine. Thanks

      • Oh the Scriptures are what strengthen me to keep going!

  6. Thank you for this suggestion! I have too many files that get lost!

  7. You have such great ideas for organization, Nancy, and I’ve gleaned many from previous posts you did while working on your book about Jane Austen. I’ve especially taken to heart your idea to decorate and label your journals. I use 3-ring binders with a clear outside sleeve, and I slip an appropriate and colorful picture into that, along with a title and a title on the spine also. Since, like Tammy, I tend to write notes on post it notes or other notepads as I think of things for different projects, I use dividers with pockets inside the binder and put my notes in the pocket of the appropriate divider. It’s been working pretty well, and I like that I can add pages if needed. Like you I buy up extra binders and dividers when school supplies go on sale:) Thanks for doing this series, Nancy. It’s fun and helpful to see what people do and learn that others sometimes lose stuff, too!!

    • I. Love. This. It’s so inspiring to hear what works for you and share in your journey!

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