This is a game dedicated to Don Murray with an acknowledgment to Will Terrell for his insights on what attracts human attention.
Don Murray proposed that writers should keep day books, otherwise known as writer’s journals or writer’s notebooks. Don, amongst other things, filled his day books with lists. One of which was a list of potential titles for future stories.
All of which is good, but as Will Terrell explains in his video, a simple change can make a title far more memorable.
Journaling for creativity is a process, and perhaps the most obvious indicator that you are involved in a process, and not producing a product, is when you record questions in your journal.
These may be questions for you to answer or questions in need of answers from someone else.
Whether they are queries on your fictional characters or contemplations about real people, the whys, hows, whats and wheres will always keep occurring, and until you know an answer what better place to keep the question current than your journal.
This week I thought I would continue the recent trend of creativity games that can be played with friends. Today’s game is not a journaling game per se, because there is no involvement of your creative journal whilst playing the game.
However, there is nothing to stop you making an entry in your journal afterwards to capture the best bits.
The game is a story telling game with very simple rules. Yet, despite being simple, these rules automatically build in frustration and social competition; a combination which makes it a very creative and rewarding game when played with like-minded companions.
The few occasions where very strong emotions are expressed will test the extent of your active observation skills.
In writing circles the mantra “to show, not tell” resounds; we are constantly being told to demonstrate to the reader what our character is feeling, not tell the reader what emotions are being experienced by our characters.
So when you encounter anguish, rage, joy, despair, ecstasy, love, shock, etc. it is very important that you record exactly how these emotions are expressed by the people experiencing them. Do not restrict yourself to just the facial emotions, but instead, soak up the range of emotional indicators demonstrated by the whole body and persona of the individual.
This game is in two parts. The first part takes a few minutes to do, once a week and the second part is done once a day for seven days and then repeats. Once you’re into the habit of playing this game, you should never need to subscribe to a daily journaling prompt program ever again.
The game lends itself to becoming a regular 20 minute journaling slot and part of your daily routine.
Journals are great places for saving overheard snippets of dialogue. People often say the most interesting things or even uninteresting things but said in interesting ways.
If you ‘tune-in’ to the people around you, they will reward you with a wonderful and never ending selection of sayings, idioms, slang, phrases and profanity; some of which will be worth keeping in your creative journal for later use or inspiration.