This post forms part of a serialisation eventually building into a complete reference on Journaling for Creativity and the writer's notebook. One that will demonstrate how to journal in order to improve creativity and effectiveness of artists, writers or anyone needing to be creative.
What is meant by a personal dialogue entry? Quite simply, a personal dialogue or conversational entry is a two way conversation with the same person. You.
What is it about? The personal dialogue entry is a means of breaking through the turmoil of our busy, stressful and demanding lives, and making contact with your inner thoughts, desires and strengths.
There are many ways to do this, but in this and the next posts we will concentrate on the following three methods;
When settling down to make one of these entries, it is important to find as calm a space as possible. Both physically calm and mentally calm is best, because If you are constantly being distracted by your environment, or a nagging mind, you will not gain full benefit from the exercise.
Delayed response method
Find a calm place.
Turn to a clean page so that you have no reminders to distract you. Then start writing in your journal as if talking to another person. This can be about any issue or thought that needs consideration.
Then reply to your opening sentence; that is you write a reply to yourself. Don’t be in a rush to write the reply. Instead, deliberately linger on the words of the previous sentence, reading them aloud a few times for good measure.
After a short while the ‘right’ reply will appear in your mind. Record the reply and repeat the “linger, read, respond” sequence.
Again I stress, don’t rush this. After each response, take the time to ‘listen’ to your inner thoughts, do it calmly and without an expectation of a solution appearing at the time. With this method of personal dialogue the journey is the goal.
Keep the conversation going; talk, wait, record the reply, repeat and repeat. The form of the conversation does not matter, nor how it is recorded matters, the important part is that you take the time to be with yourself and take an interest in your own thoughts and feelings.
To start with, it is easier to simply ask yourself questions about current concerns; our minds are configured to try to provide solutions to questions. This simple ‘trick’ of asking a question will guide your mind into a desire to respond (whether it is the logical-mind or the creative-mind that is responding.)
Later, as you become more comfortable with the technique, it is possible to have deep conversations and even comfortably hold opposing views on the same subject.
Find a calm place.
This method is almost the exact opposite to the previous method. It is based on speedwriting and the technique of ‘stream of consciousness writing, which we will cover more completely in a later post.
Again turn to a blank page so that you have no distractions.
At the top of the page write a question that is to be the subject or ‘focus’ of your writing.
Then write as fast as you can until the pages are filled. You are not allowed to stop, go back to correct mistakes, or reread previous lines. If you run out of words to place on the page then write “I have run out of words” over and over again until new words start to appear in your mind.
Some people when they do this use a timer with an alarm instead of a page count, use whichever suits you, BUT DON’T use a clock or watch as glancing at the dial will destroy the process.
Once you have finished, then, and only then, read what you have written.
The speedwriting method works by overloading the linear logical-mind, allowing the non-linear creative-mind more presence. The resulting pages written by this method can have some surprising revelations to the writer.
The above methods are used extensively in personal journaling and can enable a person to get in touch with untapped thoughts and abilities; personal dialogue entries can often lead to the people experiencing epiphanies as they begin to understand themselves.
And what better way to start understanding someone than to have a conversation with them.
The Logical-mind and Creative-mind
A handy tip for when making an entry in your journal, whether you are journaling about which pen to buy, entering a personal dialogue or fighting tremendous problems with the story arc. Try to resist starting personal queries and actions with;
"I need to find a motive for…"
“The murder must be more…”
Remember, there is a logical-self and a creative-self contained within your head; your logical-mind and your creative-mind. Since you want both of them to work together, it is good form to recognise your other half by starting these entries as;
"We need to discover the best motive that…"
Notice also that the second example is voiced in a far more involved and upbeat manner. Being positive and upbeat is always important when dealing with the creative self.
Do you know of any other forms of personal dialogue entry that works for you? If you do we would love to hear about them in the comments area below. Particularly interesting ones will be included in future posts.
Photo credit: Conversations, by Benson Kua.