Articles, Focus, Motivation, PERSONAL GROWTH

SAFE Writing Journal for the 2018 National Novel Writing Month Challenge

October 31, 2018

A SAFE writing journal is an excellent resource to have for the 2018 National Novel Writing Month Challenge.  In case you’re wondering just what that is, keep reading and I’ll tell you what a SAFE writing journal is, and how to maintain your own for NANO month.  But first, let me share a few memorable tips that new writers should not take for granted.

To all you eager beavers who are ready to participate in the 2018 National Novel Writing Month challenge, I applaud you.  Today is Halloween, and tomorrow’s the big day!  So please make a note of this final bit of inspiration.  While I’d love to be here daily, providing personal motivation, pretty soon, I’ll be busy in my own NANO mermaid world!


  • Take advantage of any resources that you think might help you succeed
  • Stay focused and don’t pile too much of anything else on your figurative plate this month
  • Check out either of my 6-Step novel writing guides on Amazon and see how I succeed during NANO month [both were designed to help you write faster and consistently]

Start a SAFE Journal

safe writing journal

The writer in me has always needed to buy a new journal whenever I start an important project.  I also head to the stationery department when I want to document and commemorate a certain period of time.  As usual, I went out and purchased a nice new journal for the NANO occasion.  It didn’t matter that my pretty lavender journal that I started at the beginning of the year is still half empty.  I felt like spending the 2 bucks for the simple little journal anyway (that’s it in the above photo.  Now, here is why I call it a SAFE Journal.

The soul purpose of this journal is to safeguard you from dropping out and failing.   Whatever your particular writing objective is, you can accomplish it, as long as you stay focused.  You can’t allow fluctuating circumstances to dictate whether you have a positive outcome.  That means being prepared to deal with any situation, and adjust so you can continue pressing forward.  The journal can help.  There are four more good reasons why this journal relates to the word safe.  Keep reading and you’ll discover them below.

SAFE Writing Journal Entries

So what exactly do you you write in your SAFE Journal?  Not a whole lot.  You will already be on a tight writing schedule.  The last thing you need is more mandatory writing constraints.  You can write a minimum of four to eight sentences in your journal every night before you go to bed.  Every night, you address the same four issues, and provide a status update (1-2 sentences per topic).  These  topics give you a chance to share your writing related ups AND downs during the past day.  This will help you learn to look at things more objectively, so you continue writing.  Remember, you don’t have to go into a long drawn out description, just simply state the results of the days’ writing events.

Here are the topics that you need to address every day:

S – setbacks [Briefly state any writing-related setbacks that you had for the day]

A – accomplishments [Now mention your writing-related accomplishments for the day]

F – forecast [Indicate what you plan to work on, adjust, or do differently tomorrow or in the future]

E – emotions [Briefly describe how you feel about any of the day’s events that affected your writing]

Maintain Your SAFE Writing Journal

Now you can see why this is referred to as a SAFE writing journal.  The anagram is a good one.  It focuses on the particular areas that often cause us writers to slow down or quit.  It can help you to take a little time out and analyze your feelings from day-to-day.  You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel before falling into bed.  This is especially the case, if you give some sincere thought to the last two entries: forecast and emotions.

  • Tell yourself what you plan to do to help alleviate the cause of any setbacks you may have had.
  • Be honest with yourself about how you feel about your progress so far, and anything else that is affecting your writing.

I’d love nothing better than to provide regular updates this month, about my own writing, and about the NANO process in general.  But in all honesty, I can’t make any promises.  I’m doing something a bit different this year (which I’ll tell you all about in December 🙂

I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to blog or do additional writing (besides my journal).  That means that it will be up to each and every one of you to be responsible for your own motivation, so:



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