I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who have a journal. I like to picture myself sitting in the sun, using a fountain pen to scribble out my Deep Thoughts and Observations. I think a journal could boost my creativity. I think a journal could be a lot of fun.
I think all of that, but I’ve never actually written in a journal. Not consistently, at least.
Years ago, I tried the Morning Pages suggested by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way. She suggests doing a bit of brain drain first thing, just after you wake up. Fill up three full pages. Then never look at those pages again. Well, I did that. I did it for months. The problem was that I found it really a) boring, b) time-consuming, and c) not that helpful. So I stopped. I knew there was something to the idea that I should empty out all of those junky thoughts at the beginning of my day, before I started trying to be creative. But that particular method just didn’t work for me.
Recently, I’ve started working with Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. In it, she suggests writing a one-sentence journal. Just a sentence every day. This idea has been a revelation. While it was often torturous for me to try to fill up three pages, writing a sentence is easy and fun. I do it every night, with just a thought or a highlight of the day, things like, “Zara learned to ride a bike!” and “Wrote a poem–must let it percolate….” Since I’ve started this, I have reconsidered the Morning Pages. Julia Cameron is adamant that you must write three pages, but I’ve decided that I don’t have to take her literally. Instead, I’ve come up with my own semi-crazy, semi-lazy method. Before I get to work, I write down one thing that is bugging me, and one simple step I can take to either improve the situation or make myself feel better about it. Then, I write down one thing I’m looking forward to, and one simple thing I’m going to do to make that exciting thing happen. Then I find a quote or a thought about writing, and I write a quick response to that quote. (Today’s was, “It ain’t whatca write. It’s the way atcha write it.” –Jack Kerouac) The whole thing takes about five minutes, and I find it very energizing.
Why not try it? Let me know if it works for you, and if you get any good writing out of it!