Librarians and Book Groups
Posted 25 September 2009 - 04:32 PM
Posted 07 December 2009 - 02:10 PM
Keeping a journal-as opposed to an online diary or blog, which could be discovered and easily read by thousands of people, thus causing no end of trouble for the author in this age of litigious parents and school systems-is becoming a lost art. Journaling is a great way to alleviate stress and help adolescents work through problems. And, as I've proved through my career, a fantastic method to keep notes on those traumatic teen years, so you can write bestselling novels about them later!
Here are some of my tips on how teens can recapture the lost art of diary and journal keeping:
#1) Always Hide Your Journal!
This is probably the most important tip in keeping a journal or diary. The worst thing that can happen is for your journal to fall into the wrong hands, and for your little brother or sister to begin reciting the exact details of just what, precisely, you find so attractive about your date when he comes over to pick you up ("She thinks your eyes are as blue as the ocean. She says she dreams of kissing your lips every night….")
The best method is to hide your journal in plain sight. Use a regular school notebook marked Algebra. No one will bother to look in there!
If you'd prefer to use a decorative journal that is obviously a journal, good hiding places include between your mattress and the box spring of your bed (close to the middle, so that someone else making your bed won't feel it when tucking in the sheets), or within the deepest confines of the messiest part of your closet.
Wherever you hide your diary, make sure it's somewhere your parents or siblings wouldn't think to look. And believe me-they will look.
*Special Note: If you use a diary with a lock, don't be lulled into a false sense of security that no one without a key can open it! Diary locks are notoriously easy to pick (my little brothers were able to unlock mine with a ballpoint pen)!
#2) Remember, a diary is for what you're feeling at the moment!
You don't REALLY hate your little brothers (but after that unlocking-the-diary-with-ballpoint-pen-incident, or spilling your innermost secrets to your date, it sure felt good to vent). If someone SHOULD happen to stumble on your journal, read it, and get mad at what you wrote, your defense can be that a) snoopers get what they deserve, and what you write isn't what you feel ALL the time, just what you were feeling at the time you wrote it.
#3) You don't have to write in it every day!
All too often, diarists start out strong at the beginning of the year, then fade off around February, and never write again, usually because they feel guilty for not having updated often enough. Don't let this be you! There are no rules about diary writing. Only write in your diary or journal when YOU feel like it! Your entries can be as long or as short--or as often--as YOU want them to be. No one is reading them but YOU!
#4) Your entries don't have to be perfect-or even polite!
Let's be honest-the chances of your diary getting published after your death are pretty slim. You're not Anne Frank (fortunately for you). It's highly unlikely anyone is going to be reading your entries but you.
Therefore, you don't have to use perfect spelling, grammar, or punctuation in your journal or diary. You're not being graded on this! This is your chance to throw out the rules and be as creative-or as angry and bitter-as you want to be. While I would never recommend doing this in a blog, in your diary or journal, you can be as mean and as vindictive as you want…because no one is ever going to see it but you (although developing a secret code name for the people you are bad-mouthing is always advisable).
#5) Most importantly of all, never throw away your diaries or journals!
You may not believe this, but your diaries are important historical documents! Someday they may come in handy. All my books are loosely based on things that really happened to me, and I use my old diaries and journals for reference all the time. Good thing I saved them, huh? Yes, it's true…I did destroy the most embarrassing pages, where I went on and on about certain boys…and how much I hated my mother (and I will admit, there were a few things I didn't want her to know about)!
But most of my old journals remain exactly the same today as they were the day I started writing in them…and they all say ALGEBRA on the front cover!
Posted 29 December 2009 - 06:45 PM
Posted 17 January 2010 - 11:33 AM
Posted 05 May 2014 - 03:00 PM
I'm writing in hopes that you may be willing to help my middle school's summer reading program. Our school in Burlington, IA, Aldo Leopold Middle School, is an at-risk school who is trying to build a climate of energetic readers. This year we really pushed some reading interventions and saw some nice gains in our students and we are hoping to continue that progress over summer. However, we also know many students will not read unless they are encouraged and that's where I'm hoping you could help. We have established a big summer reading program with 70 books we are encouraging our students to read. We know realistically many of them won't come close to that total but for every five books they read we are entering their name in a drawing for prizes. Would you be willing to donate anything to our prize cache? I can't begin to tell you how much our students love your books. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't see one of your books in their hands; Princess Diaries, Jinx, Teen Idol, How to be Popular, etc. It would mean the world to our students if you could contribute in some way. Anything you may be wiling to contribute would be welcomed and if this isn't possible
please know we already appreciate your contribution to our world of literature.
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