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Journaling for Creativity.

Journaling word games: Tension in word pairs

This week’s word game has been taken from “Writing the Natural Way” by Gabriele Lusser Rico. The game explores tension between similar word pairs and is an ideal game for a fifteen minute break in your day.

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Types of Entry: Recording things, everyday things

They surround us every minute of the day.
We are all, continuously, interacting with them.
So familiar with them have we become, that they appear unimportant, unmemorable and go unnoticed.
What are they? Oh, just everyday things.
However, to the creative journaler, the everyday things surrounding people, groups or organisations become very important indicators of lives being lived.

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Morning Pages and Creativity

This week we are pleased to have a guest post on the blog from the incredibly knowledgeable Mari McCarthy. Mari is the owner and force behind the website CreateWriteNow.com and there she is interested in, and writes about, all aspects of journaling. One aspect in particular is the practice of writing ‘Morning pages’, a practice that is extensively used within the artistic and creative community and this is what she is talking about in today’s post.

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Types of journal entry: Observations and descriptions

One of the types of entry in a journal will be from observations and descriptions of the things you encounter. Let us just spend a while considering the differences between these two terms.

Some journal entries can be a straightforward list of observations. This list can form a scene or be no more than a collection of facts, for example;
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“Norman Church, grey flint, white lime mortar, altar of grey sandstone, peeling paint, crazed varnish, black pews with rounded edges, delicate glass held by sagging lead, plaster patched…” –
Or the entry can be all the same facts plus the fleeting uncertain extras that occur whilst observing, the combination of which makes for an emotive description;

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Journaling word game; The simple complexity of oxymorons

“…Language, and its formation, is the logical-mind’s domain, whilst making sense of the paradoxes that are represented by oxymorons is our creative-mind’s speciality. In order to form these linguistic trinkets, we need to employ both parts of our minds, and in doing so, causes activity to cross the bridge (the corpus callosum) between our logical and creative minds. The increased activity across this bridge strengthens it further and develops our ability to enable cooperation between both parts of our mind…”

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Types of entry: Recording things

“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…

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Awareness prompt: Beware of assumptions

“…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….”

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Types of entry: Personal ponderings, growth and affirmations

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?

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Awareness prompt: The tale told by movement

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.

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Types of journal entry: Momentary thoughts and inspirations

…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…

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