This year I am writing daily in a journal. My subject: water. I chose water because I love everything about it -- swimming in it, sailing and kayaking on it, drinking it with a lemon slice, hearing it dive against the windows in a storm. And I've loved many bodies of water, from Crystal Lake to Lake Champlain to Richardson Bay, where I live now. I figured I couldn't possibly run out of ideas, even if I'm aiming for 365 entries. I'm calling it my #dailywaterlog.
Why am I limiting myself to water when I could just as easily write about the book I'm working on or ideas for new ones or about the ups and downs of the author's journey?
The reason is simple. The act of writing daily is a discovery and a practice. One day I know exactly what I want to write and the next I'm stumbling around. But every time I say, OK, write for just five minutes, I'm surprised by where I go. I've written about the water I'm served at a restaurant ("My gratitude for fresh potable water I kept to myself") to the Guppy, our small sailboat that you have to sit on the bottom ("I can feel the cold sea and the slap of the hull on the waves") to my ferry commute ("white petal of gull/catches the eye/cormorant dives/by the ferry port").
Choosing to focus on one topic is good practice, too. Repeating a question is a technique Buddhists use to unearth thoughts and feelings. How will I answer the question of water by the end of this year? Each day I will be stretching to observe more, to be curious, to investigate my response to this one prompt.
Pen and paper
My daily water log is not here. Why? Like many of us, I spend too much time online. At work, I've got two screens, and on my way to work I scroll through my mobile screen, and then on the sofa I've got my screen on my lap. The daily act of running my pen across a paper page brings me back to my childhood, back to when I couldn't stop writing.
Another benefit: I'm free to write bad sentences. My daily water log is free of any pressure to produce publishable work. It is a place to get back to the root of why I write: to record the human experience on this beautiful planet.
Here's what I've been thinking and writing about. I love getting email, too!