Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Top 10 Journal-Writing Techniques

"Your real life begins at whatever moment you decide to connect yourself with your actions, whenever you learn to do what you believe as well as think what you believe," in the words of Joanne Brown. To this end, journal writing can help you string the pearls together of your life and give you a more complete understanding of your beliefs, dreams, goals, values, and desires - those things which make you unique. In turn, each completed journal will represent another facet of the evolving you.

Specifically, keeping a journal will help you develop your own vision of yourself and the world. By being your own best friend, counselor, coach, and manager, you can raise your self-esteem and learn how to access your personal power. In time, you will trust and believe in your own ability to rule your destiny, make decisions, crystallize and organize your thoughts, direct your energies, identify and clarify problems, develop solutions, expand your creativity, and create new challenges and choices. The uses for journals are as varied as the techniques used for writing. Excerpted from an article I wrote in 1984, the following ten writing techniques are as useful now as they were then. Have fun writing!

1. Descriptive Writing:

Describe what's going on in your world, from your point of view or from someone else's. Use as much vivid detail as possible. Some people psych themselves into writing by writing in a story-like fashion. If it's too difficult for you to talk about trying experiences, make yourself an outside observer and write about yourself in the third person.

2. Free-Association Writing:

Just put your pen to the paper and write whatever comes into your mind. Creativity overshadows structure in this technique. Free-association writing, or "free-intuitive" writing, will allow you to hurdle beyond yourself, you will be able to spontaneously explore wherever your thoughts might take you. Rereading these types of passages will give you clues to what's really troubling you. Once you understand this, you will be able to begin your catharsis.

3. Dialogues:

Write as if you were communicating to yourself, communicating to someone else, or communicating from an altered point of view.

4. Unsent Letter:

Write a letter to someone to whom you want to talk or to yourself. Perhaps someone you knew has died or a relationship has changed and you want to share your feelings with them. Perhaps you may be angry towards someone or have amends to make. You'll feel a sense of relief once your repressed feelings are released.

5. Fantasy Writing:

Use your imagination and write something based in fantasy, such as a fairytale. Or create your own success story!

6. Affirmations:

Write positive statements that you want to believe. Elaborate on each one. Also, record positive statements that people make about you or that you'd like them to make about you. If you read these statements regularly, you will believe them and then you will make them come true.

7. Lists:

Make lists about anything that's important to you or that you want to analyze or remember. Examples: food intake, budgets, personal growth plans, exercise plans and progress, professional goals, books you want to read, job-seeking plans, or business development plans. Don't forget to keep a journal with you at all times so that you can capture your great Top Ten article ideas too! Start listing at least three points and fill out the rest later if it's not convenient to write it all out on the spot.

8. Dreams:

Describe your dreams as if they were happening to you in the present. Explore your dreams, don't judge them. If you record your dreams regularly, you will be amazed how much you will remember!

9. Creative Works:

If you read a poem, hear a song, or see a photo or a piece of art that moves you, write down your thoughts or feelings about the creative work. Whenever possible, record the words or make a sketch right into your journal for future reference.

10. Business Notes:

Keep a journal handy to record conversations, main points, or action steps you'd like to make. Personally, I keep a business journal and a personal journal nowadays. It keeps things simpler, although ideas tend to flow through in either journal! Then, I cut and paste to keep things chronological and in the "right" journal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All good ideas for Journal Techniques!

I will definitely do at least one in the near future.