Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Be Great - Keep a Journal (Part 2)


Even seasoned journal writers encounter writing blocks from time to time. To keep from getting discouraged, remember that there are several approaches to expressing yourself in writing. Keeping your method fresh, is a good deterrent to becoming blocked.

Keep these techniques in mind:
- Use a springboard to focus your attention. Choose a topic, statement, or quotation, and start writing about it. Consider that the summarized points I mentioned you should start with, towards the end of Part 1 can also serve as a type of Table of Contents for you to look back on and expound upon when trying to record all the little nuances of your day.
Other examples of useful springboards:
- "Why am I feeling so angry?"
- "What I want most in life is ______."
- "What's the most important thing that I need to do tomorrow?" (Don't be afraid to list several things and then question your prioritizing.)
The springboard approach is just one way to break your writer's block. Once your writing and thinking become fluid (your flowjo is engaged), concentrate on expressing how you feel about people and/or experiences.

- Write an unsent letter. Probably one of the most helpful, simple, and under-used tactics in terms of getting out and working through frustrations, is the unsent letter. I personally have at least one email saved in my draft folder that I'll never send. I've written about this technique before in How to Let Go of a Grudge. Make believe you're writing a letter to someone outlining what you like, or dislike, about them. The safety of your journal makes it possible to write things that you could never say in person. This process provides a catharsis, as you can release hostile feelings that are too painful to bottle up, yet could wreck a relationship if they were expressed aloud. The undelivered letter clarifies your feelings, particularly if your thoughts are very complex. It offers an opportunity to resolve unfinished business, allowing you to tell the truth to someone without actually stating it in person.

- Create dialogues. Another way to express deep feelings is to write about them, and THEN write in the imagined voice of the other person. Dialoguing promotes two precious faculties: empathy and creativity. Most people make surprising or exciting discoveries when they let their imaginations roam this way. Try it out for yourself and see what comes up!

- Freeze-frame happy moments. Write a description of an experience that was truly intense and memorable. Immerse yourself in recollection, filling the page with physical and emotional detail. Doing this, recreates your body's physiological response to that lovely event, and therefore, promotes the healing effects of being happy. Most people report they fell refreshed and energized after expressing their favorite moments in writing.

- Explore the roads not taken in your life. Imagine that you had actually married your high school sweetheart, or taken an overseas job, or gone to art school. Write from that perspective. What would your life be like right now? This technique is an extremely powerful tool for developing decision-making skills about your future.

- Future-eyes (futurize) yourself. Imagine yourself one month from now, then one year from now. Where are you? Where do you want to be? What are some of the things you can do to get there? Write it all down as a confession to yourself. The words will awaken your intuitive and creative wisdom, which in turn, will help you make better decisions.

- Create a topical list for the day. Number a separate sheet of paper to 31. Next to each number, place a topic of personal or professional interest.
-old friends
-accounts receivable
-new relationships
-recent dreams
-million dollar ideas
Each day of the month, use the corresponding topic as a springboard for writing down your thoughts. This process will remind you to regularly monitor and reassess the important areas of your life.

Your journal will make you aware of how life and dreams change, even though some stay the same. Best of all, it will teach you how to think clearly about everything you do!

Congratulations! You're well on your way to becoming a better you! ;-) Feel free to share ideas/tips/tricks that have helped you, in the comments below.

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