This is the April 5 entry in my 2012 fake journal. A transcript of the text follows. The journal is a 7 x 10 inch handmade journal containing Nideggen paper. The pen used is a Preppy Fountain Pen. The pencil used in the drawing is a Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer Watersoluble Colored Pencil and the sky is rendered with gouache.
>Edward Dolwich, "The Forger's Spell."
So primed are we to see what we want to see (and to reject what runs counter to our hopes and expectations) that psychologists and economists have coined an entire vocabulary to describe the ways we mislead ourselves. "Confirmation bias" is the broad heading. The idea is that we tell ourselves we are making decisions based on the evidence, though in fact we skew the results by grabbing up welcome news without a second glance while subjecting unpleasant facts to endless testing.
This form of self-deception pops up in the most ordinary circumstances and in the most momentous. When the number on our bathroom scale is the one we hoped to see, the psychologist Daniel Gilbert points out, we happily hurry off to get dressed. When it brings dismaying news, we step off and try again; we dry off even more thoroughly; we see if perhaps we can do better by standing at a different spot on the scale. On the battlefield, generals respond to good news and bad news in much the same way. (p. 224-226, Harper Perennial 2008)
[Image caption] April 5, 2012 1:55 p. window #12 outside the door looking southeast.
Today I'd also like to make a little point about distancing yourself from your character. I've written about this before in tips, but it occurred to me that I didn't point out what was going on in regards to handwriting in this year's journal.
I always try to write in a way that is somewhat different from my regular handwriting. I find that this slows my brain down just a bit and allows me to stay in character more easily.
Sometimes I do this by writing with a tool I'm might sketch with but don't write with (dip pen in 2009 for instance) and I will force myself to speed up—and write in a messier fashion if it's appropriate for the character or the character's situation.
This year I chose to write with a Preppy Fountain Pen and since I use them a lot in my regular life I experimented with different ways to write with one before I started my fake journal on April 1.
I printed neatly, wrote big circling, loopy letters, and even tried a backward slopping script. What worked for me was to use my regular cursive handwriting, slow down the pace, minimize the x-height and stretch out the letters. That's not how I would normally write. It feels "right" for this character because it is readable after a fashion, small and detailed. I do have to keep reminding myself to slow down and write deliberately!
If you are having trouble getting into your character's mind consider the handwriting. We are all very individual in our handwriting styles.
What if your character suffered an injury and had to write with his or her non-dominant hand?
There are lots of ways you can go.