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  • Writer's pictureChristina Vourcos

Stuck In a Rut? Try Creative Journaling!

Photo by Christy

“Dear Muse, today I would like to write a thousand words story! It could be anything! Just please help me from looking at a blank page. I just want to write so badly but I don’t know why the words don’t appear on the page.”

It isn’t easy to write. If it was, we would all be writing stories. Though we can’t wait around for a Muse to come inspire us. We have to place the words down on the page frequently.

“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” – Jane Yolen

Though do we exercise as much as we should? I have to admit, I’ve been slacking. Both at the gym, and with writing. Like they say, as soon as you fall off the wagon, it’s hard to get back on again. So how do we get back? Think like the turtle, he may be slow but he is able to reach his goal by taking one step at a time.

No matter what excuse we may have, we can’t let it stop us from actually writing. This is why I suggest creative journaling. Creative journaling has no rules, but there are some cool tips that you can use to make the experience worth while. While many think, it’s just writing in a diary (don’t they realize diaries are cool?!). It’s much more than that. Plus if Anne Frank never kept a diary, we would have never heard her story. Psychologists are now recognizing the transformative powers of journal writing. Though they use journal writing for therapy, the same techniques can also help writers find their creative juices for stories, poems, and novels. Plus if journal writing can bring such healing, imagine when we write stories.

One of the great books, I would recommend would be, “Journal to the Self: Twenty-two paths to Personal Growth” by Kathleen Adams, M.A. I got a wonderful experience to go to an event where Kathleen talked about her book, gave us a session of Creative Journaling, and signed her books. It’s been a while since that event happened, but I still remember it. I’ve even gotten a chance to do some creative journaling workshops as well at my local university.

Creative journaling doesn’t have to include writing. You can draw, paint, or collage with images from magazines or photographs. Or you can mix writing with art as well to find new ideas and spark inspiration. For an example you can create a collage, or draw, to find out a bit about your character or the world you’re trying to create. If you get stuck, you can use a journaling prompt to start writing as well. The world of journaling is open to possibilities for everyone.

Just pick a journal that you would like to use, or several. Maybe you might want one just for writing, and another one where you can draw and paint. Picking the right journal is very important. It’s something that you will use often. Then decide what you will do each day, or every week, to get those creative juices flowing.

Exercises such as:

– timed writing (certain amount of time to journal)

– free flow writing (start with a single word and jot down all free associations that come to mind)

– dialogue writing (choose anything like an object, person/character, problem, or an emotion and give this thing/person/situation a voice. Record the conversation)

– unsent letters (can be directed at anyone [even God, this can help with your relationship with Him] or any thing, and it gives you a opporunity to get it all out without censoring or editing yourself)

– making lists (include at least 20 items, but you can experiment with making lists of 50 or 100 items)

– captured moments (describe in detail everything that happened during a memorable event)

Don’t wait to write when you feel in the mood. Write when you can, and even if you don’t feel like it, but just don’t completely force it. You might just need to look at it another way. Such as if you can’t seem to write a story, write about your day instead as if you were writing a friend. Some journal entries will just be private, but others might be ideas that you might want incorporate into a story or poem. It’s all up to you. I’ve been struggling lately with writing, and realized that I might need to get back into journaling again. It’s a useful tool for me, and I hope it is for you as well.

River Song looking at her journal with Amy and the Doctor Image of BBC show, Doctor Who

Plus wouldn’t you like to write down all your special moments so you don’t forget. You could be like River Song, or the Doctor, keeping track of your life.

River and the Doctor checking their diaries Image of BBC show, Doctor Who

Be careful which diaries, or journals, you start writing in. Make sure they weren’t previously own by a dark wizard. Though don’t let that stop you from journal writing. Just be cautious where you find or leave your journal, or diary.

Keep writing my friends, and have fun!

Ginny Weasley writing in a journal Image from the WB film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Christina Vourcos


Self-Published Indie Author and Poet, Lymphoma Survivor, GreekLatina, M.A. 


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