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Journaling for Creativity.

Journaling games: The story in a title

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.

Types of Entry: Recording things – Questions

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.

Recording things: Emotions and thoughts

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.

Journal word games: Perpetual journal prompts

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.

Types of Entry: Recording things: Snippets of dialogue

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.

Mind training games: Finding physical similes

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.

Journaling word games: Varying the focal length

Today’s game borrows a technique from the photographic arts. In this game we attempt to either draw in or distance our reader from the action, by considered use of viewpoint.

The game involves rewriting the same scene as observed from different physical perspectives, in the same way that a photographer will subtly vary a composition by adjusting the focal length when taking a photograph ….. this technique can provide the reader with a perception of being ‘up close’ or ‘viewing from a distance’ and so subtly change the effect of a scene. The technique can also be used to play with emotions, withhold information from the reader or make additional information available.

Types of Entry: Recording things, Events

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.

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.

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.