“You should get yourselves a notebook or a journal and keep it with you to record things that you find interesting.”
We have all heard these words. These, or similar, have been the introduction to the writer’s notebook or writer’s journal for creative writing students since there have been creative writing teachers.
Similarly, previous posts have made simple catch-all statements about needing to record things and events in your journal so that they may provide nourishment for later work, but what to record and how much to record?
The answer is relatively straightforward…
“…Without knowing anything about the person we make strong value judgments from the clothes they wear, the colours they choose, the accessories they carry and the poses they strike.
In the main these judgements are made spontaneously and subconsciously, and our behaviour and further assumptions are both slaves to the original value judgements that were made.
Whether these judgements are right or wrong is irrelevant, we as writers and creative journalers should have an awareness of the judgements we make and must develop the ability to question them and control them.
It is vitally important to not let them control us….”
Personal ponderings can be a slight problem when journaling for creativity, because how can you be sure that you are actually pondering in a creative way and not pondering about issues more aligned with personal journaling?
Personal thoughts are really personal journaling, tending to be introspective rather than being the gregarious clamorous thoughts of creativity. Ultimately it is simply a decision; whether to mix personal journaling entries with creative ones, or keep them separated.
The problem comes when you start a journal entry, is it going to be personal or creative, or perhaps it will wander impishly between the two?
This post is a small exercise in awareness, and is included in the techniques section because fundamentally it is designed to assist the reader in developing an awareness of how a person’s personal history is reflected in their physical movements. Once developed they can then use this awareness to recognise their own physical movements and identify what significant personal information is being broadcast to their world.
However, the reader may like to add the first part of the exercise to their growing collection of journaling for creativity games, since it provides an enjoyable technique to develop the ability to focus on how people have been affected by their past life and where they believe they are in the present.
…Unfortunately, our minds hold such thoughts and inspirations in a weak grip and the next strong thought will often cause them to slip away and vanish.
The main reason proposed by my first creative writing teacher in order to sell me the idea that all writers should always carry a notebook was the ability to capture such thoughts and inspirations (it was only later that I learned she did not fully comprehend the tool she was promoting).
These entries are amongst the most important entries you can make in your creative journal, and often contain some of the best and most creative ideas you are likely to come up with…
One writer tweeted on the web that she referred to her journal as a friend, and that by doing so she had given it not just a name but also a character.
She stated that after naming it, she gained far more from her involvement with her journal.
Initially this may sound strange to some people; after all it is only a notebook, an inanimate object.
To some people, naming a journal will sound “twee” and “soppy”, but is it?
Similar to the personal dialogue entry is the ‘letter’ style of entry.
Here though, instead of attempting to have an ongoing conversation, the entry takes the form of a letter about a particular point written to another person. Normally either you or the journal.