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an afternoon thought…. not mine originally…. part II

I ran across this today.

Try Creative Journal Writing (although she discusses “journaling” I think this can apply to both blogging and vlogging)

Write your way to a more engaged and creative life. All you need is a small commitment of time, a pen, a notebook and an open mind. (or a computer)

By Stephanie Dowrick

Journal writing is one of the most accessible yet powerful tools we have for self-knowledge. What’s more, it has brilliant ripple effects over your whole life. Writing something down can clear space in your mind and heart. It lets you refine your thinking and offers tremendous relief from confusion or turmoil. It is also creative and gives you a chance to observe life through new eyes. Start journaling today–your spirits will rise and life itself will become far more interesting.

Adapted from Creative Journal Writing (Tarcher/Penguin, 2009) by Stephanie Dowrick, Ph.D. For more information, visit

Good-bye to the Inner Critic

Retire your inner critic! Silence that voice that tells you there is only one way to write…or that you can’t write. Send her back to the kindergarten where you first met that well-meaning but entirely misguided teacher who said the sky always had to be blue, grass always had to be green, and your way was not the right way. Creative journal writing lets you hear, read, and develop your own unique voice. What’s more, as your journal writing flows, the voice of the critic will quiet more generally and your powers of self-encouragement and appreciation will grow.

Explore New Discoveries

Notice as you write that you rarely know what you know—until you see it on the page. Let yourself be surprised. Life itself is your subject matter. What could possibly be more interesting? Regard each day’s writing as a discovery or as an unfolding of your inner and outer worlds. Every day is a new beginning.

For Your Own Eyes Only

Write your journal for yourself—not for anyone else. Keep your journals in a safe place. Regard this as a sacred trust. You will write far more freely when your journals remain private. Your relationships with other people will benefit as you gain insight, clarity, and relief—but this is more likely to happen when you are frank, daring, and truthful and are not writing with anyone else’s “eye” on the page.

Enjoy Process not Goals

In journal writing, process matters much more than goals. In fact, journal writing offers a great opportunity to reflect on and refine your goals—and to check if they are really your own goals and not someone else’s. The twin processes of reflection and discovery may bring unexpected revelations. “I was surprised to find that after all I didn’t really want …” You are given a chance to make new choices in life about what is most important to you.

Let Your Confidence Grow

Be confident that almost everything you have been told about good and bad ways to write is irrelevant or plain wrong. As you respond to the prompts that creative journal writing offers, and allow yourself to discover what “free” (uncensored) writing really means, you will gain confidence in your ability to express all your discoveries—outward and inward. More wonderfully still, your sense of self will grow more secure as your thoughts become more truly your own: not borrowed, anxious, or “pleasing,” but fresh, direct, and original.

Adding Texture to Your Pages

Add texture through what you add to your journal: sketches, drawings, quotations, menus, ticket stubs, letters, poems, shopping lists, resolutions. Each of them tells a story—part of your story. This is also a place where you can pray, listen to the “small still voice within,” reflect on what you are discovering from your reading or spiritual study, and relish and nourish your observations of life. Everything grows more vivid when you take the moments to observe it deeply and appreciatively. This is mindfulness in action. And it can be beacon during times of the “dark night of the soul.” Committing your thoughts to paper won’t bring instant solutions, but it will allow you to access the wisdom of your own experiences.

Releasing Difficult or Painful Feelings

“Venting” is part of journal writing, and it can literally be life-saving, especially in a time of suffering, grief, or transition. Many people begin their journal writing at such times. It may be enough for months or years, but it is not all that journal writing can offer. Venting makes room for other thoughts and feelings to arise also. They may be of quite a different nature. Journal writing has as many moods and variations as you do, and we are far more likely to stay with it, and benefit from it, if we use it in a variety of ways.

Even ‘Nothing’ Has a Shape

It is possible to see the blank page as a friend, rather than as a daunting challenge, once you learn that even “nothing” always has its own meaning or “shape”. It’s great to start your writing by checking in on the very moment in which you are beginning and doing a little inner and outer “audit.” For example: “It’s cold tonight and the house is quiet….I am in my red pajamas that always make me feel… ” You will often be surprised that what you intended to write about is far from your mind and that something else is far more pressing. Surprises come in so many ways in journal writing; that’s part of the joy.