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Journaling for Creativity.

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.

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;

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…

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.

Personal dialogue entry: Naming your journal

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?

Personal dialogue entry: Letter to a friend

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.

My (thing) is special because

This week’s game is a silly little journaling for creativity game that can be surprisingly powerful in its ability to provide insights into things that would elude you when considering them in a normal manner.

It is also a fun little game and if you are competitive then it can be compulsive if played against another writer/artist.

Personal dialogue entry: Delayed response and speed writing

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 three methods.

Journal word games: The power of three

This week’s game, ‘The power of three,’ is both a word game and an awareness exercise. It revolves around a natural rhythm within a sentence that is pleasurable to the human mind. This rhythm, when practiced and recognised, is a useful tool for adding power and punch to your written prose.
The power of three is simply three words or sounds that punctuate a sentence or a phrase. It is such an ubiquitous part of the English language that most people are rarely aware of it being used around them.

Titles, project plans and outlines

This week’s journaling for creativity post is the first post in the section: Types of journal entry. It is being started with the project plan, or outline entry, because it is probably the most important entry in a writer’s creative journal. This is the entry that provides the statement and focus for which everything else that you do or journal about eventually feeds towards.