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.
Mention an event to someone and they will invariably think along the lines of an organised occasion, an important incident or a sporting contest.
However, those are all big events. For us, when we are practicing journaling for creativity, events can be much smaller. For us an event is any discrete action or change that we can observe.
There are events occurring all around us, all of the time. Little events and bigger events are part of our daily life and unfortunately, unless they are BIG events, we tend to allow them to flash past; unrecognised and unrecorded.
Employing active observation skills allows otherwise unnoticed events to be recognised for what they are and so add richness to our world. If you look mindfully, you will quickly discover that a large event is made up of many individual smaller events, all of which combine to make the larger event. Yes, this may seem obvious, but I assure you that most people’s focus obscures the obvious from them.
Then there are really big events like shows, the Olympics and rescues, which are really collections of many large events; all combining and adding towards a bigger collective event. Those of you who thought I was talking about shows when I previously said “large events” might wish to question how much of your world you actually pay attention to.
"Writers write about things that other people don't pay much attention to."
Natalie Goldberg –
“Writing Down the Bones”
Maybe an example would help.
Consider a girl crossing the road at a busy junction. Consider her waiting, judging, using restraint, making her move, dealing with anxiety, achieving sanctuary on the middle island, she then starts again for the other half of the road.
What is seen by most people as a simple road crossing by a girl, is really a combination of events.
Then, maybe she is crossing the road on her way to a show. Now more events start to stack up and combine to form a bigger event.
Navigating the queues, locating friends, considering branded merchandise, finding suitable/allocated seats, watching the show, the show itself, socialising afterwards, the journey home…
Each of these are themselves a combination of events. For example, locating friends could include; making her way to the agreed meeting point, checking names against who is expected, checking clothes/accessories/shoes are not better/worse/clashing, social order selection of who to greet first/last, and so on.
When looking at the world whilst journaling for creativity, it is important to realise that a girl crossing the road is as much of an event as the birth of a relative.
True, an entry about the relative's birth will have far more to record, but only because it consists of so many more sub-events.
Anywhere we find an action or a change, there is usually an event associated with it. Which is a good thing for us when journaling for creativity, because it means there is always plenty of material that can be considered for an entry in your journal.
Here is a little task for you. For the rest of the day see if you can find the smallest single event that you can; one that cannot be broken down any further into sub events.
Your last journal entry of today can be on why you found this little task difficult.
Photo credit: Roskilde Festival 2007, by Stig Nygaard.