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on Mothers and Daughters

2011 Write Every Day

Ah, January. The month I switch Bath & Body fragrances (from Midnight Pomegranate to Twilight Woods), and get all sorts of inspired to do little household projects (like reorganizing cluttered kitchen cupboards, cleaning closets, and sorting my bookshelves), and try to make positive changes (probably after two months of being a potato I should start exercising again, yes?). It's a month that inspires fresh starts and resolutions.

One of the goals I will be revisiting this year (who am I kidding? I am always revisiting this goal) is the one of writing every day. This is a binary system of goals: writing for publication (perhaps this will finally be the year I am noticed?) and writing for getting down memories. The publication part is an entirely different post—this one is focusing on the memory part.

Last year I introduced my W. E. D. concept. The basic concept is similar to taking a photo every day, except for this one you do with words. I've managed to fulfill my goal of writing every day in my WED notebook and I am in love with the things I have recorded, many of which would have been forgotten. Funny things said by kids and other family members; bits and pieces of conversations; ideas for blog posts. I've written down my reactions to TV shows, or the title of a song I caught on the radio while brushing my teeth before bed; little reminders of things to do tomorrow, snippets of dreams, feelings I didn't want to forget (both negative and positive!). I've striven to get down the essence of a day into words. Writing in my W.E.D. notebook became not about writing well so much as writing exactly, using words to communicate one important thing.

I've learned many things from my W.E.D. experiment, but the one I think will linger the most is this: the key to sticking to a goal is to simplify it as much as possible.  Especially when we set our scrapbooker side to something, it's easy to make it complicated—to make it about the products & the pretty paper & finding the perfect pen. The Write Every Day notebook strips all of that away. It isn't fancy or complicated; it's simple and utilitarian. Once you print and bind it, you're finished. Your pen doesn't have to be archival or special in any way. You just pick up your notebook every day and write a little bit.

That "little bit" is important, too. The notebook doesn't have a ton of space each day. Just enough for three or four sentences (depending on your handwriting, of course!). Having a small space to fill helps you overcome some of the fear wrapped up in writing. You don't have to start with the history of everything. You don't have to tell an entire story. You don't have to fill an entire blank page. Just a friendly little rectangle. You fill it up with the thing that felt most important that day, and then you move on.

One last thing I loved about this process: using my own handwriting. Truly, my handwriting is awful. It's not quirky-cute at all. It's uneven and random and rough. But seeing pages of it again (after years of blogging and journaling on my computer) feels more personal—feels more like me caught on paper.

Suffice it to say, I am doing this process again this year. I imagine I'll do it every year! If you'd like to join me, here's how:

  1. Download the 2011 WED calendar: Download 2011 write every day calendar
  2. Print it double sided. If you're not lucky enough to own a printer that does that for you, simply print the odd pages first, then re-feed them and print the even pages on the back. (Test this out on your printer first, since they all feed paper differently. Make sure you're printing the right week on the correct back!)
  3. Pick two cardstocks or thicker patterned papers you love. Double sided papers are awesome here! One will be the front, the other the back.
  4. Take this all to a copy store and have them spiral bind it for you. (Unless you own a coil binder. Then you can do it yourself.)
  5. Write. Every day!

I write in my W.E.D. every night before I go to bed. There were a few nights last year I forgot, or was just too tired, but not many—fewer than 20 in the entire year, I think. When that happened, I wrote first thing the next morning. I kept it in the table by my bed, with a handful of pens. Now it's stored with the rest of my handwritten journals, and 2011 has taken its place.

Happy writing!



Printer is chugging through the pages as I write, so I'm with you. TFS this idea with the file.
Took a friend of my son's to ED this afternoon after he slashed his thumb with a pruning saw, the cut received the grand total of ONE suture (and four steri-strips) - so I know what I'll write about today!

Monika Wright

long live the written word and our quirky handwriting. i have your sweet note sitting right here in front of my computer screen and i think your handwriting is lovely!


You make it sound so easy! I'm going to give it a shot (but I'll be approximately four days behind by the time I get it printed and what not).


I have used a small planner (5" by 7" maybe?) for this type of idea. It only has enough space for a few sentences, like you suggest. I've used it to record ordinary daily moments that I might otherwise forget as well as record when certain events took place (i.e. my daughter's first orchestra concert) on the monthly calendar page that begins each section of daily spaces. I've been very successful with this approach. Last year I bought a bigger planner thinking that more space would let me record more. Wrong! I just stopped using it. I think the larger amount of space made me feel like I needed to fill the space up and I just didn't feel like writing that much. This year I've gone back to my tried and true smaller planner approach. Thanks for reminding us of the need to record the every day.

Oh, one thing I did like about the larger size is that I was able to use it to keep things that I cut out from the paper, such as comics that "spoke" to me. I've always collected this type of thing but have just put them in a file. I liked being able to tape them to the day they "spoke" to me with a line or two about why that particular comics or whatever resonated with me. I need to figure out a way to incorporate this into my smaller planner.

Kasandra Mathieson

Love this idea... I try to journal on my lined paper and am always looking for it. I'm on board, love writing but don't always make time for it. Thanks Amy!


I was hoping you would do this again. I bottomed out in October and didn't write much the end of the year which I am kicking myself for now but I have more than I would have had last year if you hadn't had this idea and shared your template. I've already printed it and sent it to work with Carly to be bound today. Thank you for sharing your ideas.


I loved this challenge last year (started in July), though I was just TOO WORDY to make it work so I switched to my own creation: "Daily Doings." Closer to a daily journal entry but that's more than I've done for YEARS. I'm so grateful to have actually written for half a year and I have YOU to thank for it. I'm going to try your W.E.D. format again ... maybe I'll get the hang of distillation yet ... thank you for sharing your great ideas!

Erin K

Love this idea! Thanks for sharing the WED calender! Off to print...and bind.

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