Cure Writer’s Block, Beautifully
Inner Outings: The Diarist’s Deck of 33 Cards and Book of Exploration by Charlene Geiss and Claudia Jessup.
The Inner Outings journaling kit, which includes a book of prompts and a deck of cards, is as useful as it is beautiful. Each art card is emblazoned with an evocative prompt for journal writing, sure to ease even the most stubborn writer’s block.
My lust for book stores is exceeded only by my love of stationery. Whenever I take a vacation and visit my parents, I always go to the enormous bookstore by their condo, load up on artbook porn, and spend hours sitting on the breezeway poring through colorful volumes.
I get excited when discovering a new meaty creativity book because it’s so full of possibilities. Within each binding lies the possibility to change my life.
Super corny, I know. But absolutely true.
I picked up Inner Outings on my last vacation down south. I’m a sucker for a boxed set in a pretty package. I have an almost compulsory urge to acquire it. This journaling kit is no exception.
The full name of the boxed set is “Inner Outings: The Diarists Deck of 33 Cards and Book of Exploration.” It’s created by Charlene Geiss and Claudia Jessup.
The kit includes a book and a deck of large, heavyweight art cards, tucked into a smooth hard wrap-around box. The cards are big – roughly 4″ x 6″.
Each card is a gorgeous mixed-media work of art, frame-worthy right out of the box. I’ve spent many hours exploring their contents. Each card is emblazoned with a word or phrase that you can use as a prompt for journal writing.
After an introductory chapter on journaling, which is quite useful, the book delves into each card separately. It gives recommendations for usage, new ways of thinking, and a bulleted list of ways to go deeper into your writing using this particular prompt.
I’ve never been a fan of being told what to do. Even the “serving suggestion” on a box of cereal rumples my feathers. (“What if I don’t want to throw whole strawberries through a cascade of milk?!”) So I skimmed the book briefly before diving into the cards and using them in my writing.
I later went back and read the book page by page. There’s some great suggestions within.
The main way the creators suggest using the cards is to shuffle them and pull one out at random, then use it as a prompt for your journaling session. They say the more resistance you have to using the card you’ve drawn, the more important it is that you use it.
I have a different theory, and in the spirit of not wanting strawberries in my corn flakes, I shuffle through the cards face-up and grab whichever one I’m most drawn to.
You can do it however you like, of course. If following directions makes you feel guided and supported, I’m all about it. I’ve tried several methods of using the cards and they’re all good.
I totally recommend this kit. It really can get you thinking in ways you never expected. When doing the “pull a random card and write” method, I blindly selected the “I Forgive” card. I was initially irritated because I had other stuff bothering me and wasn’t in a forgiving mood. But in the spirit of scientific method, I jumped in and started writing.
I ended up pulling out this voluminous expose of a relationship I had let go of long ago (or so I thought). I realized I’d been incapable of fully forgiving this person at the time because I had just now, years later, reached a level of growth where I was capable of understanding what they had been going through.
So while I had formally “forgiven” them, I hadn’t grasped what I was forgiving until I found myself writing about it at a small folding table in a studio apartment three years and 3,000 miles away.
And that’s the power of journaling.
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