Monday, January 10, 2011

A Different Kind of Journal

If you had told me years ago that I would blog weekly for more than 5 months -- much less 5 years -- I’d have responded with a hearty “No Way!”. Well, “Yes Way!”. We’re in our 5th year on the blog and I’ve managed to find a topic for 90% of those weeks (and guest bloggers the rest of the time).

I think one reason I’ve been able to stick with this is that the format is very similar to journaling, just on a more structured level (at least, for me it is). Granted, y’all may not find my personal musings and observations on life earth-shattering, but, well, they're just me. I try to strive for something more helpful than “navel gazing”, but I’m a “navel gazing” kind of girl. ;) Introspective, and definitely an indoor cat.

I’ve been a fan of journaling since my early teens, turning to the practice of putting my thoughts on the page long before I started writing fiction. I don’t do it every day, unless I’m trying to work through a particular issue or problem. Then journaling becomes a form of self-therapy for me. Lately, I’ve been struggling a great deal with blocked creativity (writing in fits and starts, not writing at all, characters not talking, etc), so I’ve decided to work through “The Artist’s Way”, a book by Julia Cameron. The lessons are designed to assist artists of all kinds in initiating or re-establishing relationships with their creativity. She advocates practicing “Morning Pages”, which is 3 free-form pages of writing each morning.

I like to call it Brain Drain. I get all the stuff whirling through my head out onto the page -- anger, frustration, happiness, memories, To Do lists, plot ideas, snatches of dialogue, plans, anything, everything. Cameron contends this process dissolves blocks to creativity. I certainly hope so, but just as important is the clearing of my head and the increased sense of focus. Plus, I can look back at it if I need to remember something! Like that list of things I need to get done today.

So, do you practice journaling? If not, how do you clear out the mind clutter?


Coming Soon!

Join us this Friday, January 14, when author Evenlyn Vaughn visits the Playground.


Problem Child said...

Um, I'm not a journal person. I never have been. Blogging is the closest I get.

But I'm for anything that clears the mind, so that's why I make lists. Maybe list-making is my journalling exercise!

alinaduffer said...

Hi ladies! I was a journal person when I was in high school, but now with 3 kids and a hubby the closest I come is in my writing or making lists. I have to make my lists or I don't remember a darn thing, lol!

Have a wonderful day!!!

Playground Monitor said...

I journaled a lot last year during my divorce. It went along with my weekly visit to a therapist. Got rid of a lot of junk that way.

I started The Artist's Way a few years ago. Perhaps I should pull out the book and start again. I never thought about using to do lists as part of the morning pages. That's where I often struggled -- coming up with 3 pages first thing in the morning. Usually I'd write "Give me caffeine!"

catslady said...

I tried a journal when I was a teenager. I had it for all of two days and ripped it to pieces lol. The idea that someone could get ahold of it and read my thoughts was just too impossible for me to think about. So unfortunately, everything swirls around my head - especially bad at night when I should be sleeping!

Christine said...

I consider my blog my journal now. I stopped daily journaling when I realized people might read my gobs of pages after I died. And if my BFF died before me, then no one would get to the journals and burn them in time.

But I do try to pour a lot of myself into my writing and my blogging.

Great post.

Angel said...

About other people reading it: Well, if they read it after I'm dead, I won't care too much, will I? :) Although I did burn my teenage journal.

I have read about people typing their journal into a Word file, then deleting it after they've finished for the day. Or writing their pages, then shredding them. Someone once told me they could never journal because her husband would read it if she didn't hide it. I've never had that problem. We have a strict "No Reading" policy in this house. If I ever suspected someone was reading my stuff without permission -- journal, writing files, etc -- heads would roll. Not that I have anything to hide, I'm just a private person. And my kids CERTAINLY do not need to see my writing files. :)

Often I have to write my To Do list in stream of consciousness style during my morning pages, because I can't get to anything else with so much stuff hanging over my head. I get it on the page so I can move to the layer hiding underneath it, so to speak.