The stories that you tell, the words that you use and refine, the characters you try to give life to are merely tools with which you circle around the elusive, unnamed, shapeless thing that belongs to you alone, and which nevertheless is a sort of key to all the doors, the real reason that you spend so much of your life sitting at a table tapping away, filing pages. The question in every story is the same: is this the right story to seize what lies silent in my depths, that living thing which if captured, spreads through all the pages and gives them life?

Journal vs. Diary vs. Notebook

Not necessarily for the better, but the form of a journal nudges your thinking into becoming more linear, in-depth, focused, and comprehensible for a reader with a quick eye and probable impatience. It encourages that word that most writers hate yet desperately need—discipline.

By "craft" I mean not just prosody, but structure, point of view, rhetorical elements, and so on--all that shapes the poem's language into a stance toward the subject. Of course, there is always some difference between the writing and its subject; the difference is inherent in language itself, inherent in literary genres. A good political poem will understand this difference, yet will work, by way of craft, to engage the subject as fully, intensely, I daresay truly, as possible.