Journalling Your Way Out of Writer’s Block
By Ruth Barringham
Have you ever kept a journal?
Someone recently told me that journalling is nothing more than writing out a daily diary. But to me it’s much more than that. It’s therapeutic and helps me to get my crazy monkey mind thinking creatively which instantly cures writer’s block.
And that’s why it’s so much more than keeping a list in a diary of everything you do.
But what should you write in a journal?
How do you start journalling if you don’t know how?
Well, the first thing to think about is that there’s been plenty of studies that show that handwriting is far more creative (and therapeutic) than typing on a keyboard which is why many people keep a handwritten journal. And there are so many beautiful journals you can buy and just looking at them is inspiring. Just use this link to have a look at a few and you’ll see what I mean. https://amzn.to/3xKqCJD
Secondly, there seems to be 3 different ways that people journal. But how you do it is entirely up to you because it’s your own extremely personal writing experience. The 3 ways are:
A daily list of the day's activities
Goals and gratitude. What you have and what you want to have/do.
The most popular way is using questions and then writing down your true feelings.
For instance, you might write:
“How can I lose weight?”
“Why do I over-eat?”
“What things should I eat?”
“Where am I overspending every week?”
“How can I spend less?”
“What am I going to do about the upcoming exam to make sure I pass?”
Of course, for writers it’s usually questions like:
“How can I find time to write every day?”
“What writing do I enjoy most?”
“How much can I write every day?”
“When is my best time to write every day?”
“How can I manage my time better?”
“Is it possible to write 10,000 words a day?”
“Should I handwrite first or type straight to keyboard?”
“What writing do I really want to do?”
“What are the things I don’t want to do anymore?”
“Why is it hard for me to write all day?”
“Why is sitting down to write so difficult?”
And, let’s face it, as writers we always have questions running through our minds, and writing out the answers provides so much clarity and also helps to look at things more logically.
Sometimes when I journal it’s about answering the questions rattling around in my mind, and other times (in fact most of the time) I’m just writing about whatever I’m thinking.
For instance, in a journal entry back in 2016, I’d written:
“… and if I do want to sit and write every day I can beat procrastination by aiming to sit down and write in this journal first because this is something that I’m really enjoying and I couldn’t wait to have coffee this morning so that I could sit and write this. And now I feel like carrying on writing more, but I have to go shopping and I need to go to Beerwah so it will take a while.”
The next day my entry began with:
“So now I think I’ve created a new problem for myself. I think I’m addicted to writing in this journal because I look forward to it every day. Is it therapy? Or is it that it’s just a way to write? I don' have a plan or outline what I want to write. I just sit down and get straight to writing. I don’t even have to think about what’s on my mind because with my crazy monkey mind, there is always something. So I just sit here and ‘brain-dump’ onto the pages.”
Then there was another entry a week later that was sad. I’d written:
“Today we are staying at the Novotel Twin Waters for a couple of nights so today I have time to journal. It has been a hectic week since I last wrote which included dealing with the plans for the bathroom renos, really heavy rain for a couple of days, cleaning up after the rain, and then having Daisy euthanised the day before we left. So busy. So sad. Didn’t write anything anywhere for a few days because I gave my time to spoiling Daisy while we could. But now I have time to journal a bit so I am. What I need to do next week is absorb myself in my writing.”
Daisy was one of our old rescued greyhounds who suddenly took a turn for the worse the previous week and we had to let her go. It broke my heart, especially two years later when we had to say goodbye to our other greyhound too. I didn’t write much about that because it was too raw. Too painful at the time. Which was why I wanted to dive deep into my writing to help me to heal.
But sadness aside, I hope you can see how useful journals can be.
I use it as a way to spark my creativity because journalling gets my mind working and once I start writing, I can keep going for hours.
All I need is that first spark of inspiration that comes with journalling and it gives me the momentum and enthusiasm to keep writing.
If you haven’t journaled before, give it a try. Brain dumping is easy and it’s interesting to re-read later too. We all have thoughts that we can write down, even if it’s just:
“Today I don’t feel like writing. I don’t know why. I just feel like I don’t want to do anything. But it’s impossible to do nothing. We’re always doing something even if it’s watching TV or writing about not writing like I’m doing now.”
See how easy that was?
If you don’t feel like writing, or don’t know what to write (and we all know that starting is the hardest part of doing anything), just get out your journal and start writing about whatever’s on your mind.
And the next thing you know, your hesitation and writer’s block will be gone and you’ll just keep writing.
Goodbye Writer's Block:
How to Be a Creative Genius and Have an Abundance of Ideas
Plus the Inspiration and Motivation to Write