Seven Tips to Make Journaling Your Writing Ally
Author: Carla Woody
Once you consider a writing project, you embark on a journey of sorts. This is particularly true if the idea won’t leave you alone, and you’re compelled to pursue it. You become involved in a process, not unlike the
Hero’s Journey that mythologist Joseph Campbell documented in his many books.
For most of us, it takes courage to face the blank page to even get started. Then there’s writer’s block which can raise its ugly head…and…ugh…the rewrite and editing. In those times, don’t you wonder why you ever considered writing to begin with?
What I’ve found over the years is that journaling can be your ally and get you through—if you really use it that way. Here are tips on seven areas that are rich to dig into. By focusing on them, you’ll not only gain increased understanding of yourself but added material for your writing—and inspiration.
1. Thoughts and feelings. A lot of authors would say that writing is a form of therapy. Depending on your subject matter, it can reignite hopes, bring up unresolved personal areas, create nostalgia or instill dreams. You may find yourself having old or new thoughts and feelings in the process. By journaling about what comes up, you can create: greater mental clarity, direction and stress release.
2. Resistance. If you find yourself dragging your feet on getting started, staying with it or even a particular character’s voice, look deeper. Is it something to do with an old personal pattern? Is your heart in the subject matter? Find out if it’s an authentic area of discomfort or how you get in your own way. Undoubtedly it’s emerged for a reason: resolution.
3. Creativity. New ideas and possibilities will crowd your mind as you leave an opening for them to emerge. Document and explore them. As you continue the process you can discover which ones are a right fit.
4. Dreams. By undertaking the writing journey, you’ve given a signal to your mind. You may dream vividly—and remember your dreams even if that’s normally not the case. You may find yourself working through personal things or storylines during sleeping hours. It’s particularly important to record your dreams at such times. Don’t think you’ll remember them. You won’t. They’re elusive. I’d encourage you to take the content of your dreams not so much literally as metaphorically. Look for symbolism. What could something represent? Then explore those elements.
5. Synchronicities. For me, when I’m immersed in a creative venture, it’s like living in some altered plane. Many folks report it that way. You may begin to notice great and small coincidences, more frequently, in your life. These aren’t coincidences at all, but a phenomenon called
synchronicity. Carl Jung first introduced the occurrences as simultaneous, unrelated happenings that aren’t so much grouped by cause but by the meaning they produce. Some may offer real guidance. Be alert! Journaling about them will help you notice.
6. Overall differences. Real transformation takes place at an unconscious level. When change occurs at that level, it lasts. There’s nothing you have to remind yourself to do or say, it just becomes part of who you are. It’s often a challenge to recognize the change going on inside because it seems so natural and can be subtle. In your journal, note what you find different in your life. Use the differences as markers of your progress, telling you where you’ve been and where you may yet want to go.
7. Acknowledgement. It is so important to acknowledge yourself at each step of the way. When any significant part of your project is complete…celebrate! How does it make you feel? What are your thoughts about having taken this journey? Don’t scrimp on this important part. It will provide inspiration for the next trip.
Of course, you can use what I’ve written here as guidelines for any aspect of your life, not just writing. I’ve adapted the content of this post from my mentoring program
Navigating Your Lifepath, which guides folks on how to live through their deeply held values—and thrive.
What is your experience with journaling? I’d love to see your comments below.
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Genre – Nonfiction, Spirituality
Rating – PG