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.
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.
This week’s game is one of the really enjoyable, fun games that can fill any odd moment. If played in your journal by yourself, it makes for a satisfying diversion or it can be a pleasurable social game played amongst friends.
How to play. Look at your surroundings and for the items there identify other things that have similar physical characteristics.
In other words find physical similes of the original object.
Which is easy until you strech yourself into all the abstract possibilities.
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;
“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;
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.
This weeks game can be played both in your journal and socially with friends and family. It also makes a fantastic “keep the kids occupied” game whilst travelling.
The game’s origins date back to the swinging sixties, where it was devised by academics for measuring creativity. More recently, a modification of the game has been popularised in the television show “Whose line is it anyway?” in the form of “the prop-game”.
For this game, all you have to do is select an object, then list as many possible and diverse uses that you can dream up.
One result of capturing your thoughts in a creative journal, and then reviewing those entries, is that thoughts continue to circulate in your subconscious. The outcome being that they drive more thoughts and more ideas up to the surface, which cause even more questions to be asked and even more possibilities to be considered.
Creative journaling feeds this “buzz”, and so during quiet periods of the day you will find your mind alive with new ideas and thoughts on your project.
This post follows on from So why journal?, in which I listed a few reasons why journaling is a sound investment of your time. Here, we further investigate the ‘Journaling to generate ideas’ section of that post, expanding the ideas and exploring their benefits in our quest of how to journal.
…Additionally, by being freed from the mindset of “having to complete a task in one sitting”, your creative thinking remains running, working away in the background, so more ideas surface whilst you go about your other tasks….
This post follows on from “So why journal?”, in which I listed a few reasons why journaling is a sound investment of your time. Here, we further investigate the ‘For organisation’ section of that post, expanding the ideas and exploring their benefits.