Monthly Archives: February 2012

On writing: the journal and your expectations

Every professor I’ve ever had who had anything to do with writing has always instructed me to keep a journal:
Write everything down.
Miss nothing.
Be aware.
Keep tabs.
Write at least five hundred words a day.

So I did, and do, and plan to keep doing so, but it took me a long time to figure out how to journal for myself and not for an audience or a professor. I initially thought that my journals could only serve a singular purpose, devoted to a specific topic or event. This lead to a lot of frustration and abandoned journals as I tried to fence my writing in to a specific genre in a specific journal.
Everyone has their own opinion on how to make your writing better, how to improve your prose output, how to help you plan for the best writing possible to exit your brain and land on the paper. Those suggestions might work when it comes time to take your thoughts and ideas out of the journal, but your journal should be grounds for free range writing, no limitations, no sectioned off genres.
I think it’s pretty unfair to hold yourself to such high expectations as a writer for your own journal. A journal is where you can screw around, figure out what you like and want, what works for you, or even just work on your hand writing. It’s your own personal writing pasture where no one but you is allowed to come in to change the terrain.
I still have three working journals, but I’ve accepted the fact that these aren’t going to be read by an eager audience, that I most likely won’t be writing a complete masterful work in one (although pieces of my masterpiece are bound to be floating among some of the pages… one can hope), and that I definitely don’t have to conform them to any kind of rubric if I don’t want to.

Your journal can be anything- lists, magazine and newspaper clippings, your tax return, page numbers from books, half-assed poems and crappy prose, outlines, shadows… anything at all. No one is judging your journal and neither should you. The journal, sacred as it is to any writer, is a one-seater car- there’s no room for anyone else to be perched on your shoulder, dictating your work. As much as I don’t want this article to sound like a professor lecturing at you (because I’m not one, and I’m not trying to), the only way I’ve been able to get comfortable writing in my own journal is to just straight up ignore most of the syllabus and rubric journaling guidelines I’ve had to adhere to for the past ten years. My journals now contain a multitude of subjects and projects and pieces. Most of them are small bound books, usually black, and portable.

While my journaling is no longer a source of anxiety for me (where do I write this? I can’t put it in this journal. The other journal is full…) causing me to lose track of or even forget the sparks of creativity that flashed into my brain moments or days before, it does help me to keep better track of my ideas and to improve my writing. Even if my lists of words that all start with the same letter, or about things I hate, or goals, or my accounts of events and dreams amount to no passage of significance in my future work, at least I’ll have something to look back on, not regretfully, and learn from or be inspired by.


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New Post- Kitchen Memoirs

Hey there,

Kitchen Memoirs has a new post up! Go check it out here:

Don’t forget that Firefly Jar is still accepting poetry submissions up to March 25 for the upcoming issue.

Thanks for reading!


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Call for submissions!

Are you a poet? Are you inspired by the way words work together and apart? Firefly Jar Press is currently accepting submissions of poetry that deal with separation and attachment. This theme can be dealt with in form, theory, and or subject.

Right now, Firefly Jar is accepting up to three submissions per author of poetry. The deadline is March 25, giving writers plenty of time to ready a small portfolio. In the future, once we’ve dug our roots a little deeper in to the ground, Firefly Jar will put out more calls for fiction, non-fiction, photography, and book reviews.

Unfortunately, at this time, Firefly Jar does not compensate its writers in monetary form, but we are extremely grateful for your submission and the opportunity to display a variety of work. Submissions are being accepted at bearing the subject line “Spring Poetry Submission”.

Submissions should adhere to the following guidelines:

-submission file must be saved in a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file form. All others will be rejected.

-submission file must be saved in the following format: “first initial last name”-POETRY.

-if submitting more than one document, please submit each file as a separate file with a number corresponding to the file added after your last name in the file name, example: JSmith1-POETRY.doc

-submission files must be typed in Times New Roman size 12 font, single spaced. Pages must be numbered with your last name appearing in the top right header.

-submissions must have a title.

Any questions or issues may also be directed to with the subject line stating “Issue”.

Please consider some of your completed works for this new publication.

Thank you so much for your time and happy writing!

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Still constructing…

But you can find the revamped kitchen blog, The Kitchen Memoirs, over at!

Laura has gone back and rewritten two old entries and is currently re-working the entire design. Please go check her and her culinary adventures out!


The Kitchen Memoirs is a FJP production. Started about two years ago, Laura decided to go back, tear down, and build back from the ground up. At 25, Laura has some experience in the kitchen, but isn’t  even close to calling it quits. Follow along with her recipes, experiences and healthy eating habit making in this weekly blog.

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