Works For Me: Mother’s Notebook

Next time I’m asked for my best advice for mombloggers, I have a new resource I’m going to recommend.

The publishers of Writing Motherhood (by Lisa Garrigues) sent me a copy of their book to review.  And while it’s not a resource about blogging, it’s purely about content and writing–an extremely important element in a successful blog.  It’s geared entirely toward women who are looking for creative ways to express the ups and downs of motherhood, and it’s full of practical advice and some really good writing prompts.  Books about writing sometimes fall flat, honestly–it’s a hard skill to teach someone.  But this book delivers helpfully concrete tips, like this one, from page 28:

In my experience, writing to a time limit prompts me to speedwrite, helping me outrun my inner critic, while writing to a page count encourages me to freewrite, letting me fall into the rhythm of my breath as I find my own pace.  You decide what works for you,  But whether you write for two pages or fifteen minutes, once you begin, try not to stop until you reach the finish line.

One of the most practical tips I took with me–and one I’ve implemented in my own life–is the idea of a “mother’s notebook”.  It’s little more than a journal, really, and I’ve adapted the author’s recommendations for this notebook to fit my own life.  I’m keeping it as a record of our daily events–the things that are too private or too routine to write in a blog post.  I’m not worrying about form or even complete sentences, I’m just jotting down events and emotions I want to reminder.  And I’m trying to do it every day.  I think that, especially when you’re a blogger, having a private place to write is actually quite therapeutic.

I highly recommend Writing Motherhood, especially if you’re interested in honing your skills as a writing mom.

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83 thoughts on “Works For Me: Mother’s Notebook

  1. Amy @ MomsToolbox says:

    Sounds like something to add to my wish list for Christmas…
    And I agree with your takeaway tip… Keeping a private journal for writing just for myself and God is a great tool for me, as well. There are just some things I need to get out, but not share.

  2. Kirsty says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I keep meaning to do this more consistently. That amazingly funny/touching/exasperating moment that you just know you will never forget is often gone just hours later 😦 I will get that notebook more handy! Thanks 🙂

  3. Buzzings of a Queen Bee says:

    I really like the idea of a mother’s notebook. I recently bought cute little notebook to record my daughter’s sayings and quirks (she’s two), but maybe will expand it to record a bit more. I do think that frequently I am inhibited to write my heart because I am busy thinking about what other people will say when they read it. A mother’s notebook would maybe be the remedy for that. Thank you! 🙂
    Carrie

  4. Rachel says:

    A mother’s notebook is a great idea. I tried to record little details early in my son’s life, and I did pretty well until he became a toddler and I found myself running more than writing. It would be great to get back in the habit!

  5. Peanut says:

    I really like that idea. And I’m definitely going to take a look at that book. I find I am full of feelings about this motherhood thing, but have difficulty trying to figure out how to get them out into words that others will understand. I have been keeping a notebook handy just to write stuff down, but didn’t think to use it also as a private journal. That is a very good idea. And I like that it doesn’t have to be organized.

  6. Stretch Mark Mama says:

    I am totally cracking up at the “election posts” line, imagining all sorts of snarky sneaky WFMW tips. Course, none so funny that I’d type them here. But in my own strange world? I had a nice chuckle. (Don’t mind me. Just goin’ to my Happy Place.)

  7. Sarah says:

    Great book. I will definitely have to check it out. I used to be a prayer journaler before blogging. Time to get back on track and remember who wants to hear my thoughts the most – God!
    Tune into Martha Stewart today to see celebrity bloggers Perez Hilton and others. I’ll be live blogging from the audience.
    Take care and have a great day!

  8. BusyMom says:

    I keep a personal journal. Not only is it therapeutic when I am trying to work through something in my head, it is a great resource to go back to when I am trying to do scrapbooking (although time limits me here) so that I can put more information into the journaling and remember those funny little stories that might have slipt my mind otherwise.

  9. J says:

    I keep a personal journal along with my blog and it is nice – I don’t always get around to writing as much as I do with my blog but it definitely is nice to have someplace to put my most personal thoughts.
    Sounds like a great book – can’t wait to check it out!

  10. Donna says:

    I have the best of intentions when it comes to journaling, but with two preschoolers at home, I haven’t yet found the balance of time and energy. The book sounds great…maybe it’s what I need to get motivated! I love to write!

  11. rachel says:

    I really like the mother journal. I’m doing a variation on this. I (occasionally–I’m not very good at it!) write my kids a note in “their” book. I include things I want them to know when they grow up that I might forget (or not be here) to tell them. I just use cheapy composition books. It works for me.

  12. Donna @ The Frugal Mom Blog says:

    This sounds like a great idea. After cleaning out our storage area for an upcoming tag sale, I discovered scraps of paper in my scrapbooking totes filled with little snippets of what the kids were doing and saying a few years ago. I wish I had recorded them better. A journal might be the way to go!

  13. Kristin says:

    my husband and i keep a journal together for each of our kids – we record funny sayings and events that the kids say or do. we also write our “thoughts” to them to read on their own someday. it’s amazing how quickly we can forget!

  14. Brooke says:

    I have many notebooks. I have one for each of my 4 children that I have kept since birth with stories about them.
    I have a “happy” notebook with an ongoing list of things that make me happy for those days when I forget I am happy. (motherhood can do that sometimes.)
    I have a quote notebook.
    I have a notebook from when I was a missionary in Guatemala for 18 months in which I wrote something I learned every day.
    These are in addition to my journal and my blog. Obviously I am committed to keep memories written down since my memory is like swiss cheese.

  15. Kathy C. says:

    That’s a great idea, even if you’re not a “writer” or aspiring one, to write down thoughts, experiences, etc… throughout your mothering years. I wish I had thought of that 19 years ago!!! 🙂
    Have a blessed day!

  16. Chel - An Abiding Branch says:

    I am a day late and a dollar short. I am sharing on Hair Care! lol. I should have had this one last week.
    Anyway, that book sounds wonderful! Do you charge to edit? Is that your profession, forgive me for not know if that is so. I am a writing, reading, teaching, speaking, ministry co-founding, full time working and going back to school mom! I need HELP!
    Chel

  17. Kim says:

    I love the idea of keeping a journal. My grandmother did this daily, and wrote prayer requests (and answers to prayer) in it as well. After she passed, we grandkids each got one of the notebooks she kept. It was such an encouragement and inspiration to me even years later. It does our faith well to chronicle God’s work in our lives!

  18. Taryn says:

    Has there ever been a Pregnancy and Childbirth Works for Me Wednesday? One where people can share their pregnancy and labor tips? I would LOVE that, as a new mom at 7 mos. pregnant. Just a suggestion.

  19. Mandy says:

    Oh I just started this with the girls. We started at the beginning of summer but it quickly got put to the wayside. Now we fit it in right after homework while we are still in the groove. Can’t wait to read them 10 years from now. I mean I can wait, but you know what I mean….

  20. Anissa@Hope4Peyton says:

    Holy cow, I’m using her tip and I didn’t even know it! I always carry a little pink journal with me, to capture the feel of a moment or a turn of phrase that thrills me. Plus, if I do have a must-blog moment early in the day you can bet your butt that I’ll forget what was so darn funny by the time I sit down to the computer.

  21. Boysmum2 says:

    Family are always important and even though they are there all the time, we still need to be reminded everynow and then.
    Thanks for the reminder, even though I am lucky enough to be reminded everyday this week with my wedding on Saturday

  22. ann henley says:

    On Sept. 11th I posted about my notebooks that I keep on each child! You will be so happy if you do this because it’s hard to remember all of the little things our sweet ones do!

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